Your Guide to landing in Canada - Updated for 2019
You have obtained your PR visa or have been notified by IRCC of your acceptance as a permanent resident and are making your final travel arrangements to Canada to start a new life and settle in your adopted home. While you may feel overwhelmed by the process of finalizing all the details of your move to Canada, there is help available before you even arrive in Canada. Click here to go to the Pre-Arrival Services section.
First Things First
The first requirement for a seamless landing is to land before your Permanent Resident Visa expires. If you are coming with your family, you all need to have arrived before the Canada Immigration visa expires. Your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) has to be validated, and, if applicable, your visa has to be checked for validity by a CBSA officer at the point of entry.
If you want to land in Quebec, you need to have a selection certificate for the particular region that will enable you to transit (work/live) in that province.
There are several documents that one needs to carry when landing in Canada. They include:
- A valid passport or travel documents for each person coming into the country.
- Canadian visa and a Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each person.
- Copies of a list of the personal items that will be coming into the country.
Ensure that all the required documents are easily accessible to allow you to display them to relevant officers when necessary.
Other documents that are important but you may not be asked to produce include:
- Personal certificates such as birth, marriage, baptism, divorce, and adoption papers.
- Education diplomas and degrees and other relevant school-based records.
- An updated resume complete with references and work experience.
- Letters of reference from past employers.
- Trade licenses.
- Health records.
- Driver’s license and car registration forms if the vehicle will be imported into Canada. An international Driver’s permit will also come in handy.
Photocopies of each of these documents should be prepared just in case the originals get lost or if the officer requires a copy.
Have all your documents translated into English and notarized before landing in Canada and, if you have a drivers license from your native country, make sure to convert it into an International Driving License.
It is necessary to have sufficient money to enable you to settle in the new country. If you are not being sponsored by a Canadian resident, you should have a plan and enough savings that will cater to your daily expenses, such as food and rent before you find work. Take note that you may be required to show proof of your savings at the port of entry. A border official must be notified if one is in possession of more than C$10,000 in cash, so the money should be in your bank account, not on your person.
It is important to research the best banks in Canada and choose the one that offers the services you need at the right price. Open an account and transfer your funds with them as soon as you can after you arrive in Canada.
Get acquainted with an investment specialist from a bank who will offer you guidance on the investment opportunities in Canada; staff at the bank can also advise you on how to go about electronically paying some of the basic bills such as education and rent.
A Social insurance Number (SIN) is required for one to legally work in Canada. One needs to apply for this card immediately upon landing in Canada as a permanent resident. To be qualified for open job vacancies, your credentials often have to be assessed by an assessment agency. However, if you are immigrating through Express Entry, you will have already done this step.
It is very important to sharpen your English skills, if necessary, prior to looking for work so that you can have higher chances of getting through the interview and selection process. Remember that most companies in Canada use English as their main communication language and need their employees to speak, read and write English fluently. There are opportunities for French speakers, especially in Quebec and New Brunswick, but English is pretty much mandatory.
The schooling system in Canada comprises of elementary, high school/secondary, and college or university (post-secondary school). The Canadian education system admits children from 4 to 5 years to start elementary school. It is a regulation that children up to 16 years must be enrolled in a school.
Provincial governments control the education system within their province. After selecting a school for yourself or for your children, contact the management of the school to gather more information on their program and on the registration process.
To avoid making costly and regrettable decisions, it is wise to rent a house to live in for a few months as you conduct thorough research on the different places you are interested in settling in Canada and on the properties available for you to buy. However, if you know Canada well, you can purchase a home before or immediately after you land in the country. Factors that you should keep in mind before you buy property are:
- proximity to social amenities,
- and to basic institutions such as schools, offices, hospitals,
- the level of security in the area,
- and the cost of living in the region.
From large apartments to studio apartments, from mansions to mobile homes, Canada offers a variety of housing options. If you become a tenant you need to adhere to the set of rules that have been set by the management of the building or by the landlord to ensure your stay at the rented space is peaceful. Tenants can face some limitations such as no pets, no smoking, etc while in the rented house, and so it is recommended you have knowledge of the regulations prior to signing the lease.
It can be challenging to find the perfect accommodations to stay in; you may wish to hire the services of a real estate representative to assist you in finding a property that fits your preferences. The other alternative, which is cheaper, would be to look through classifieds in newspapers and on the internet to find properties that are up for sale.
It’s not fun to be caught off guard by the extreme of Canadian weather. Most of the populated part of Canada basks in the warmth of hot summers, s which can record temperatures of well over 30 degrees Celsius. On the other hand, winter in Canada can be extremely cold with the temperature ranging from -20 to -30 degree Celsius, even in some major cities. It is crucial to be armed for winter with sufficient warm clothing for you and your family.
As a driver, you will find that in order to remain on the road and not encounter any legal issue, your vehicle has to be fitted with winter tires for optimum safety while on the road.
What you should carry with you
You need to adhere to the strict and straightforward rules that dictate what you can and what you cannot bring into Canada. There are specific guidelines on importing various types of products such as plants, animals, vehicles, food, and alcohol. To ensure that you remain on the good side of the law, it is wise to get the right information on what you can carry as well as outline the procedure for you. For more information on Restricted and Prohibited Goods click here.
There are a range of providers of Pre-Arrival Settlement Services who will help you get settled in Canada by helping you:
- Prepare for living and working in Canada;
- Obtain official recognition in Canada for the following:
- Your education
- Your work experience, and
- Any professional licences or certificates you possess;
- Network with employers to help you land a job;
- Discover what free support services are available to you as a new arrival in Canada.
In order to access these services which are free and online and which you should use before you arrive in Canada, you must have 1 of the following proof-of-eligibility documents:
- An IRCC invitation letter to obtain pre-arrival services,
- A Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) letter,
- A passport request letter that indicates Permanent Resident visa issuance,
- An IRCC request that an applicant for permanent residence complete medicals,
- A Single Entry Permanent Resident Visa, or
- A Permanent Resident Visa pick up notification letter.
Please note that these pre-arrival services are for Permanent Resident Applicants only. Temporary visa and permit holders are not eligible.
The following is a list of pre-arrival services available to permanent residence applicants who are eligible to use them (those applicants that can produce at least 1 of the above-listed documents).
AEIP Pre-Arrival Settlement Services – Provided by S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
AEIP stands for Active Engagement and Integration Project and is funded by Canada’s immigration agency, the IRCC, while S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is one of British Columbia’s main social services agencies, having been established in 1973 and incorporated in 1974. The mission of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is to:
- Build bridges,
- Harvest diversity, and
- Foster integration.
AEIP also has partners across Canada from coast to coast:
- Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
- COSTI immigration services
- Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
- Multicultural Association of Fredericton
- Saskatchewan Open Door Society
- S.U.C.C.E.S.S. ISIP.
AEIP provides the following services to PR applicants about to move to Canada:
- 1-ON-1 help: either in person or online, providing answers to your questions and guidance in planning your move to Canada.
- Workshops: either in-person or online, which will provide information and assistance in the following areas:
- An overview of Canada
- Employment and Foreign Credential Recognition
- Providing information on Canada’s Education and Health Care systems
- Providing information on Housing and Transportation in Canada.
- Employment Support: will help you prepare in advance for employment opportunities once you arrive in Canada, and includes:
- Helping you identify and set your employment goals
- Helping you connect with councils, associations, and regulatory bodies that are involved with your area of work experience and your credentials
- Allowing you to attend employment programs that will help give you the tools to gainfully seek employment once in Canada.
- Community Connections: will aid in you in understand and get involved in your local community in Canada once you arrive. It includes:
- Referrals to community services
- Community orientation workshops
- Learning how to gain access to useful information about your local community.
In addition, AEIP also provides the Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP) pilot program which is also funded by IRCC. The target of AIP is skilled immigrants with job offers in Atlantic Canada. Go here to visit AIP’s webpage at IRCC’s website.
Services provided in English and French – with Chinese and Korean-language services provided at some locations.
86-10-6216-6928 / 010-6216-6928 / 6216-6928
11th floor, Block D, Beijing International Mansion
Zhongguancun S Street, Beijing, China
#701 DooBee Building, 11-3 JeongDong,
JungDu, Seoul, Korea, 04518
12F, #6, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao W. Road
Zhongzheng, Dist. Taipei 100
227-181 Keefer Place, Vancouver
Build-ON: Pre-Arrival Guidance for the Trades in Ontario – Provided by YMCA/YWCA
This is an organization supported by the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region that helps you prepare to seek employment in Ontario in:
- Skilled Trades
You must register with the organization in order to use its services, and to be eligible to register you must be an approved immigrant to Canada and be currently living outside Canada.
Build-ON is funded by IRCC as a way to help provide guidance and orientation to those looking to work in the areas listed above by linking them up with a diverse group of experts and other counsellors to provide the following free services:
- One-on-one personalized consultations with employment counselors.
- Online workshops and downloadable documents that cover:
- Job searching strategies
- Employment standards
- Skilled trades in Canada, and more.
- Live and On-demand webinars through the events page at Build-ON’s website.
- For immigrants with the right experience or education or training, you may be eligible to be connected to a mentor who will help guide your integration into the Canadian workplace.
- Information on Skilled Trades in Ontario as well as information on the pathways to certification where required by a skilled trade or engineering or other construction job.
Through these free online services, you will gain the following skills that will help you find a job or successfully do your job if you already have an offer of employment in Ontario:
- You will learn about the regulations involved in the Skilled Trades sector and what career pathways are available.
- You will learn how to write a professional Canadian-style resume.
- You will learn about interview skills and how to get the most out of an interview and how to successfully network and uncover job opportunities.
- You will also learn about Canadian workplace culture: how Canadians approach their workplace and what the values are that help you communicate effectively and get along with your fellow employees in your new job in Canada.
To be eligible for Build-ON you must not only provide a copy/image of your proof-of-eligibility document (see the documents listed at the start of this section), but also have the intention of settling and working in Ontario.
Services provided in English and French
Go here to send a message through an online form.
Canada InfoNet: Provided by Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) of Metropolitan Toronto
Canada InfoNet is what is called an employment acceleration and mentorship program that over a streamlined 8-week period will support professionals who will be immigrating to Canada. It does this by helping you connect with potential employers and find out how to get a job that uses your skills and education to a maximum.
You should apply to Canada InfoNet anywhere from 2 to 12 months before you will be travelling to Canada. To register you will need the following:
- An approved Canadian immigrant visa
- To be planning to relocate to Canada within the next 2 to 12 months
- The ability to write and communicate in English or French
- Time and availability to commit to and participate in the program
- Access to the internet.
As well in order to prove your status as an approved immigrant (PR visa) to Canada, you will need the following:
- Your Client ID or Unique Client Identifier (from IRCC);
- 1 of the following documents confirming your eligibility:
- An IRCC invitation to obtain pre-arrival services, or
- A Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document or letter, or
- A passport request letter that indicates you will receive a PR visa, or
- A Single Entry Permanent Resident Visa, or
- A Permanent Resident Visa pick-up notification letter.
Here are some of the services that Canada InfoNet will provide you in order to focus in on your exact employment needs and how to prepare to meet them:
- E-learning modules that cover all the aspects of a successful job search in Canada, including modules on:
- Job searches
- Skills Assessment
- Goals and Creating a Plan
- Cover letters
- Networking in Canada
- Online networking
- Information interviews
- Interviewing (parts 1 and 2).
- Online e-mentoring: this provides key advice and information on your occupation and career and how to integrate into Canada’s workforce.
- Achieving success in the Canadian workplace: this builds your understanding of the cultural nuances of the Canadian workplace. This is very helpful when you are just getting settled and trying to adapt to conditions in Canada.
- Employer Connections: this module puts you in touch with employers seeking job candidates through online platforms. Includes webinars on industry-specific topics.
Services provided in English and French.
To apply to Canada InfoNet, go here and scroll down partway and then click on the green button. Please remember, there is no Save feature on the online registration form. You will have to do it in one sitting. You should be sure you have your document that confirms you are eligible (see the list of documents above) and you should upload your proof-of-eligibility document as soon as you register. Remember that fields marked with an Asterix (*) must be completed for your online registration to be accepted.
Contact information of Canada InfoNet
Go here to send a message online, or call 1-416-787-1151
Canadian Employment Connections (CEC) – Provided by ACCES (Accessible Counselling and Community Employment Services)
This is a program tailored to internationally-trained professionals who are moving to Canada. Like the other pre-arrival services, it is funded by the Government of Canada. To be eligible for CEC you must:
- Have been approved for Canadian residency and be currently living outside of Canada.
- Plan to arrive in Canada within the next 2 to 6 months.
- Have completed post-secondary education and have at least 2 years work experience in at least one of the following areas:
- Financial Services
- Human Resources
- Sales and Marketing
- Supply Chain
- Be fluent in English.
- Be prepared to commit to completing an online module of approximately 40 hours.
The general approach of CEC is to a sector-focused on that looks at what the in-demand jobs are across the 6 sectors listed above and determines what the required skills for those in-demand jobs are. The program is made up of 4 main components:
- Job search tools
- Canadian business communication training
- Sector information and trends
- Employer connections.
By using these 4 components as you work your way through the 40 hours of online training you will:
- Have prepared for your job search in advance of arriving in Canada.
- Have established connections with employers in ACCES’ vast network of employers across the country.
- Have connected with potential job opportunities.
- Have received employment support.
- Have had access to self-directed modules that will familiarize you with the Canadian workplace.
- Have received one-to-one coaching from an employment consultant who is an expert in your field of experience.
Services provided in English and French.
If you wish to contact ACCES and find out more about CEC (Canadian Employment Connections) here are their locations in the Greater Toronto Area:
|Toronto Location:||489 College Street, Suite
Toronto, ON, M6G 1A5
|Scarborough Location||2100 Ellesmere Road, Suite 250
Scarborough, ON, M1H 3B7
|Mississauga Location||151 City Centre Drive, Suite 600
Mississauga, ON, L5B 1M7
|North York Location||2001 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 201
;North York, ON, M2J 4Z8
|Brampton Location||44 Peel Centre Drive, Suite 201
Brampton, ON L6T 4B5
|Markham Location:||8500 Leslie Street, Suite 470
Markham, ON L3T 7M8
Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) – Provided by Colleges and Institutes of Canada (CiCan)
Planning for Canada is the pre-arrival service provided through CIIP and funded by the Government of Canada. The program offers:
- A full-day group orientation with expert planners covering:
- Discovering Canada: Learn about our nation’s geography, population, diversity, economy, and labour market.
- Living in Canada: Learn about housing, health, education, transportation, weather, and finances.
- Working in Canada: Learn about licensure, credentials recognition, and job search strategies.
- Becoming Canadian: Learn about cultural norms, rights and freedoms, permanent residency, and citizenship.
- My Action Plan (MAP): This is a one-on-one planning session with a facilitator who will help you develop an action plan that is customized to your career objectives, settlement goals, and intended destination in Canada. From credentials to resume’s and interviews, from housing to daycare, it covers most aspects of life in Canada.
- An online team that is ready to assist you in real-time worldwide.
Services provide in English and French.
For general inquiries send an email to [email protected]
To register go here.
Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) – Provided by International Organization for Migration (OMI)
This program is an overseas initiative that provides orientation about Canada for visa-ready migrants including:
- Refugees, which make up around 50% of the participants,
- Economic migrants, which account for around 30% of participants, and
- Family class immigrants, who compromise the remaining 20%.
It is funded by IRCC (the immigration branch of the government of Canada) and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). It is available in over 40 countries around the globe and provides relevant and timely information to assist you in your move to Canada. COA developed in 1998 as a replacement of the Language Instruction to Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program which was phased out at the time. It grew around the aid centres for refugees in Kosovo and has since grown to include over 20 permanent training sites overseas in 40 countries with 60 locations.
- Refugees receive a 3-day or 5-day (if they are camp refugees) orientation program.
- Immigrants receive a 1-day individualized program with support and referrals.
Both programs emphasize learning about the following aspects of life in Canada:
- Life in Canada
- Access to citizenship and settlement services.
The objectives of the COA (Canadian Orientation Abroad) are:
- Provide eligible clients with accurate information about life in Canada
- Help them develop realistic expectations about how they will settle in Canada
- Help foster awareness of the skills they will need to adapt to life in Canada
- Improve their capacity to enter the Canadian labour market
- Address any questions or concerns they may have about life in Canada.
To be eligible for COA you must be one of the 3 groups listed above, specifically:
- Refugees: which means you must be one of the following:
- Government-assisted refugees (GARs)
- Privately-sponsored refugees (PSRs)
- Blended Visa office-referred cases (BVORs)
- Refugees selected for Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) which includes Spouses & Dependents (S&D), and Parents & Grandparents (G&D)
- Economic migrants: which means you must be one of the following:
- Federal Skilled Workers (FSWs)
- Provincial Nominees (PNs)
- Includes principal applicants, spouses, and dependants
- Family-class immigrants: which means you must be one of the following:
- Member of the Family Class category (FCs) including:
- Spouses and Dependents (S&Ds)
- Parents and Grandparents (P&Gs)
- Member of the Family Class category (FCs) including:
Services provided in English.
The contact information for COA is:
Go here to leave a message with COA.
116 Albert St. Suite 801
GO Talent Canada – Provided by ICTC (Information & Communications Technology Council) Canada
As the name suggests, this is for internationally-educated professionals (IEPs) in Information and Communications Technology who are moving to Canada. The program builds a talent pool of qualified immigrants who are soon to arrive and allows employers access to that talent pool in order to post job offerings in the information tech and communications tech sectors.
The program is funded by IRCC and gives Skilled Workers with the right qualifications access to job opportunities in two of the Canadian economy’s most innovative and growing sectors before they even arrive in the country. Employers create an account at www.etalentcanada.ca/ and then have access to talented immigrants.
Job seekers can also create an account by registering at www.etalent.ca/ which gives them access to the following programs:
- Labour market information;
- Job portal that provides:
- Review of resumes and cover letters
- Ability to apply for jobs listed by the registered employers as mentioned above
- Ability to receive an Information Technology Professional (ITP) certification which will validate your:
- Work experience, and
- Potential to secure employment before even arriving in Canada.
It’s a win for both sides!
Services provided in English and French.
For more information please contact: [email protected]
Integrating Newcomers – Provided by BCCA (British Columbia Construction Association)
This program is for immigrants to Canada who plan to settle in B.C. and have experience and skills that qualify them to work in the construction industry in the province of British Columbia. BCCA-IN provides economic and social integration and adaptation for migrants who will be working and living in B.C. The program helps you:
- Assess your skills - BCCA-IN staff will:
- Discuss and asses your work experience, education and skills
- Help you understand credentials and certifications in the construction industry in Canada
- Work with you to help you find out how your skill set can fit into the Canadian construction industry
- Help you prepare your resume for the construction industry in Canada.
- Find out about living and working in Canada - BCCA-IN staff will:
- Answer questions about daily life in Canada like driver’s licences and schooling for your children
- Help you integrate into the community of your choice.
- Connect with employers - BCCA-IN staff will:
- Identify job opportunities in the construction industry
- Connect you with potential employers before your arrival in Canada
- Assist you with your transition to employment in Canada
- Hook you up with settlement support services.
To be eligible for BCCA-IN, you must:
- Be living outside Canada, and
- Selected for Permanent Residency (pending verifications), and
- Received a “Positive Eligibility Decision” on your application for permanent residence, OR
- Been approved for permanent residency, and
- Received a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) letter.
Services provided in English and French.
Go here and scroll down to the red-lined box at the bottom of the page to apply.
Next Stop Canada – Provided by YMCA Greater Toronto
This program in fact covers 2 pre-arrival programs aimed to all newcomers, delivered by YMCA of Greater Toronto and funded by IRCC (Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada). To be eligible for the two programs you must be:
- At least 12 years old, in the case of the Youth programs, or at least 16 years old in the case of the Adults program,
- Able to provide proof of parental consent in the case of applicants to the youth program (aged 12 – 15 years)
- Living outside Canada
- Have received official approval from IRCC to immigrate to Canada
- Able to provide your UCI (unique client identifier or client identification number you receive on all official IRCC documents dealing with your application) as well as the required document to prove your status as an approved migrant to Canada.
Here are the services offered by the 2 programs from Next Stop Canada which are delivered through the YMCA of Greater Toronto:
|Adult Program: Ages 16 and older||Youth Program: Ages 12 to 15 years|
|Live needs assessment & referrals||E-learning courses|
|Pre-recorded information sessions||Stories & videos|
|Member’s forum||Live Chat|
To register for Next Stop Canada, go here. If you are applying to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, when you register at Next Stop Canada please remember to check the I am applying under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program checkbox at step 1 of the registration process.
Services provided only in English.
Contact information for Next Stop Canada:
Next Stop Canada
2200 Yonge St. Unit 300
Canada, M4S 2C2
Monday to Friday 8 AM to 5 PM (EST)
Closed on Weekends and Statutory Holidays
To leave a message go here, scroll down the page and use the online contact form.
Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) – Provided by CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses
CARE is a non-profit organization funded by IRCC, dedicated to helping internationally-educated nurses get work across the province of Ontario. PASS (Pre-Arrival Supports and Services) is the pre-arrival program provided by CARE. To be eligible you must:
- Have proof of graduation from a recognized nursing school, and
- Have a letter of immigration confirmation (COPR or equivalent) from IRCC.
Internationally-Educated Nurses (IENs) who register for PASS will have access to:
- Information and referrals on an individual basis for:
- Language services,
- Employment services, and
- Settlement services for newly arrived IENs;
- Online occupation-specific English-language training
- Information & Orientation Webinars dealing with:
- The nursing registration process
- The Canadian Healthcare system;
- Employment-related Webinars;
- Mentorship connections with Canadian nurses.
Go here and fill out the application form using the link in order to see if you are eligible for PASS.
Services provided only in English.
Contact information for PASS:
Meghan Wankel, Program Coordinator
1-416-226-2800 Ext. 234
Mehrzad (Nicholas) Ghadiri, Technology Lead/ Case Manager
1-416-226-2800 Ext. 223
SOPA (Settlement Online Services for Arrival) – Provided by ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia)
The Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) was created by the merger of MISA, the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association, and HILC, the Halifax Immigrant Learning Centre. Between the two founding agencies there is over 50 years experience of helping new Canadians settle in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. Their staff currently includes over 270 members from more than 64 countries. They are funded by a wide range of organizations and corporations including IRCC, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, Employment Nova Scotia, Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
Through SOPA, the following services are provided by ISANS:
- Settlement Services - these include:
- Orientation on Life in Canada including: government programs, community resources, the education system, rights and responsibilities, and family matters;
- Links to essential services like:
- Resettlement Assistance Program
- Nova Scotia Health program
- Canadian Child Tax Benefit program;
- Links to other ISANS services like:
- Community connections which deals with recreational and social programs
- Family support programs
- Employment services
- English Language programs
- Links to other community services and programs;
- Links to Public School System recreational and social programs;
- Links to the Regional Housing Authority programs;
- Links to IRCC programs;
- Support Programs are also in place for Temporary Foreign Workers (unlike most pre-arrival programs which are exclusively for permanent residents);
- English language learning programs tailored to immigrants to Nova Scotia;
- Employment counselling and Job Search Workshops;
- Information on Professional standards in Regulated Professions in Nova Scotia.
Services provided only in English.
ISANS Mumford Main Office
Mumford Professional Centre
6960 Mumford Road, Suite 2120
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3L 4P1
It is always an exciting journey to move into a new place, and with a positive mindset you can be sure that your new home will be the right one for you. After all is said and done, Canada promises all its visitors equal opportunity to progress as they live in the country.