For newcomers to Canada, it is important to know what are the first things to do after landing. Recently, more and more Hong Kong residents have immigrated to Canada. As a new immigrant or newcomer to Canada, it is common to ask what to do after arriving in Canada.
In this article, TWA will explain to you the things you have to do when you first arrive in Canada, including SIN, medical insurance, bank, driver’s license, housing, English classes, etc.
When considering the Canadian immigration plan, people should examine all the available immigration pathways offered by the Canadian federal and provincial governments, and choose the best option that fits their needs. For example, Hong Kong residents may be eligible to apply for the Canada PR through Stream A or Stream B, which are temporary public policies designed for Hong Kong people. Please contact TWA for a free consultation to know more about the details of different immigration streams.
TWA is a team of professional licensed immigration consultants rooted in Vancouver for decades. We tailor-made one-stop Canada immigration solutions for each client and help foreign citizens start a new life in Canada. Contact our immigration consultants to learn more about the latest immigration pathways and policies in Canada.
Social Insurance Number
SIN means Social Insurance Number, which is composed of 9 digits of identification number. People always call it a “SIN Card”.
Individuals use their SIN to gain eligibility for insurable or pensionable employment, as well as to facilitate the process of filing income tax returns, and access to government programs and social benefits. You cannot legally work in Canada without a Social Insurance Number.
Tips: Because SIN is the abbreviation of Social Insurance Number, it already has the meaning of Number, so it is generally not said “Apply for a SIN Number” or “My SIN Number is xxx”.
The 9-digit Social Insurance Number shown on the SIN card is of utmost importance. When you are applying for a SIN at Services Canada, the staff will specifically explain to you that the SIN information must be kept confidential. This is a document that records your personal privacy. Remember not to easily share it with others.
Newcomers to Canada should be more careful. For example, many companies will post fake job advertisements and ask you for SIN card information before giving you a job offer or signing an employment contract with you.
How To Apply For A SIN?
As long as you hold a SIN card, you can legally work in Canada and enjoy government benefits. Canada citizens, Canada permanent residents, and temporary residents (for example, work permit or study permit holders) in Canada can apply for a Social Insurance Number.
We recommend you go to the Services Canada office in person to apply for a SIN card after arriving in Canada. The application for Social Insurance Number is free. This is the most simple and direct method to apply for a SIN, allowing you to get the Social Insurance Number immediately. Please bring the following required documents with you to apply for a SIN.
- The permit issued when entering Canada, such as Study Permit or Work Permit
- Canadian address
- Contact number in Canada
- Parents’ English names and birthdays
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
Canada does not have a federal-managed medical and health insurance system, but each province has its own medical insurance system.
Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the health insurance plan in the province of British Columbia. It takes about 3-month processing time for BC residents to apply for and get the BC Services Card. After receiving the BC Services Card, you only need to show the BC Services Card when you see a doctor. The MSP will help you cover the necessary medical service expenses.
People eligible for the BC health insurance plan (MSP) include:
- Canadian citizens
- Canada permanent residents
- Primary residence is in BC
- Live in BC for more than 6 months per year
- Foreigners holding a work permit or study permit for more than 6 months
MSP coverage includes:
- medically required services provided by a physician enrolled with MSP;
- maternity care provided by a physician or a midwife;
- medically required eye examinations provided by an ophthalmologist or optometrist for adults aged 19-64;
- annual eye examinations for children aged 0-18 and seniors aged 65+;
- diagnostic services, including x-rays, provided at approved diagnostic facilities, when ordered by a registered physician, midwife, podiatrist, dental surgeon or oral surgeon;
- dental and oral surgery, when medically required to be performed in hospital (excluding restorative services, i.e.: fillings, caps, crowns, root canals, etc.). The removal of healthy wisdom teeth, even if impacted, is not a benefit.;
- orthodontic services related to severe congenital facial abnormalities.
The following services are not included in the MSP:
- services that are deemed to be not medically required, such as cosmetic surgery;
- dental services, except as outlined under benefits;
- routine eye examinations for persons 19 to 64 years of age;
- eyeglasses, hearing aids, and other equipment or appliances;
- prescription drugs (see PharmaCare);
- acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and non-surgical podiatry services (except for MSP beneficiaries receiving supplementary benefits);
- preventive services and screening tests not supported by evidence of medical effectiveness (for example, routine annual “complete” physical examinations, whole-body CT scans, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests);
- services of counsellors or psychologists;
- medical examinations, certificates or tests required for:
- driving a motor vehicle
- life insurance
- school or university
- recreational and sporting activities
- immigration purposes
Opening a Canada bank account is very simple, and both international students and foreign workers can open an account in a Canadian bank. The five largest banks in Canada are:
- RBC Royal Bank of Canada
- The Toronto-Dominion Bank
- Scotiabank Bank of Nova Scotia
- BMO Bank of Montreal
- CIBC Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Open A Canada Bank Account
The required documents to open a bank account in Canada are fewer than expected. You need to bring 2 identification documents, the permit documents received when you enter the country, proof of residence, mobile number, email address, cash to be deposited into the account for the first time, proof of school enrollment (if any), proof of work (if any), etc.
Newcomers to Canada can try different combinations of submitting identification documents:
- 2 Type A documents
- 1 Type A document + 1 Type B document
- 1 Type A document + bring a person of good standing in Canada to prove your identification and open the bank account with you
Type A documents:
- Canadian passport
- Canadian driver’s license
- Canadian birth certificate
- Canadian citizenship certificate
- Canadian permanent resident card (Maple Leaf Card)
- Canadian Social Insurance Card (SIN)
- Provincial health cards in Canada (e.g. BC Services Card in BC)
- Identification document with photo and signature issued by a designated agency
Type B documents:
- Photo work ID card of a famous Canadian company
- Debit or credit card with name and signature
- Canadian credit card with name and signature
- Foreign passport
In order to meet the needs of customers, many banks in Canada are now offering multi-language banking services to customers and newcomers. Among the five largest banks in Canada, people can make an appointment to meet and chat with customer service specialists who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, etc. to learn about how to open a bank account in Canada, how to open a credit card or ask for more other banking services.
Taking English classes is crucial for newcomers to Canada. As an English-speaking country with English being one of its official languages, understanding the language is essential for newcomers to integrate into the country successfully. Mastering good English skills can significantly impact one’s life and work in Canada.
To cater to this need, TWA partners with DLI-accredited higher education institutions, offering short-term English classes to customers. These classes primarily focus on teaching students the vocabulary and sentences needed for daily use in Canada. By acquiring these language skills, foreigners can better interact with schools, medical institutions, government departments, local residents, and communities. Additionally, attending English classes gives students the opportunity to meet other newcomers and local residents, which facilitates expanding their social circle and integrating into the community faster.
Furthermore, there are community-hosted English classes available, providing newcomers with free or more affordable English training options. For further details, please contact TWA for more information.
In Canada, if you don’t live in a metropolitan city like Vancouver or Toronto, it’s really hard to get around the city without a private vehicle. But before getting a car, people have to get a Canadian driver’s license first.
It is a pity that Hong Kong residents holding valid driver’s licenses cannot directly exchange them for Canadian driver’s licenses. Drivers with Hong Kong licenses still need to pass a test in Canada before they can exchange them for Canadian licenses. Each province in Canada has its specific driving test. People can obtain a different driver’s license by completing the driving test one by one.
In the BC Province, there are three types of driving licenses: L license, N license, and Full License.
- L License: To obtain the L license, you need to pass a written test with 50 multiple-choice questions. You must correctly answer at least 40 questions and pass a simple vision test to qualify for the L license.
- N License: After holding the L license for one year or more, you can apply for the Class 7 road test. Successfully passing this road test will grant you the N license.
- Full License: The full license is an official license plate. To be eligible for the Class 5 road test (which leads to the full license), you must hold the N license for 24 months or longer. Passing the Class 5 road test allows you to obtain a full license.
If you already have a driving license from Hong Kong, it can potentially expedite the process for Hong Kong residents to obtain a Canadian driver’s license. Having a valid driver’s license from another country, like Hong Kong, may allow you to skip certain steps in the Canadian licensing process or provide evidence of your driving experience, which can be beneficial.
When you first arrive in Canada, it is essential to find a place to settle down. If you start looking for houses after arriving in Canada, you must first understand the types of houses available, the rental budget, and the precautions to consider when searching for a house.
The types of housing in Canada differ significantly from those in Hong Kong. Below are some common types of housing in Canada:
- Detached House/House: An independent house typically occupied by a single family. Detached houses often come with private yards and parking spaces, offering a relatively high degree of privacy.
- Townhouse: A series of houses connected together, with each house serving as an independent unit sharing walls. Townhouses usually include front yards and backyards.
- Apartment: Multi-storey buildings comprising multiple units, each functioning as an independent residential unit. Apartments often provide shared entrances, elevators, and amenities like parking, exercise rooms, and swimming pools.
Here are some Vancouver rental sites:
- Vancouver Sky Vansky
- People in Vancouver Vanpeople
- 51 looking for a house 51.ca
- RealMaster RealMaster
- Facebook Groups
Newcomers to Canada: Summary
The above Canadian landing information represents some common things that must be done after entering the country. Of course, the situation of each new immigrant is different, and there will be various documents and matters to be completed. TWA creates a one-stop immigration solution for foreign citizens, enabling customers to immigrate to Canada through the fastest immigration channel and start a new life.