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How you can prepare for and settle in Canada if you’re arriving during the pandemic

While moving to a new country can be both an exciting and somewhat stressful process on its own, moving during the pandemic comes with its own set of unique circumstances. With the right resources and planning, you will soon be able to successfully call the vibrant cities and stunning scenery in Canada your home.

Research as much as possible

Spending some time researching your desired community before your move is key. As the bank for newcomers, we suggest a few things you may want to consider when choosing your new city to call home:

  • Which province is best for my career choice? Each province’s government releases regular labour market reports for their province. This can be helpful to determine if your career is in high need in your desired living area.

  • Am I prepared for the lifestyle and weather? Weather and language preferences vary across provinces. Moving to a major city in Ontario or British Columbia, which are popular choices for newcomers, is going to be quite different than relocating to a rural town in Quebec where French is the dominant language.

  • Am I taking advantage of newcomer tools? You don’t have to brave this move alone. There are several free resources to help you find a job, home, and school for your children and assess your language needs.

  • Have I planned for COVID-19 delays and regulations? Expect documentation delays and mandatory isolation requirements.

Get set to arrive

Before your arrival date, understand how COVID-19 could impact your new citizenship. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s site is the best resource for the latest news. Depending on your citizenship status, you may be allowed to leave your country even if your country has a current travel ban in place. Here are a few other things you need to do before you book your plane tickets:

  • Monitor your health: Remember COVID-19-symptomatic travellers will be denied access to the country.

  • Schedule COVID testing: Every traveller over the age of five must show a negative PCR test result 72 hours before their flight departs to Canada.

  • Have a place to quarantine: If you do not yet have a permanent address secured, you will need to book accommodations for the self-isolation period and show your quarantine plans upon arrival. Look for a hotel that has a small kitchen to accommodate all your needs.

  • Draft a realistic budget and bring enough funds: Consider creating a budget that will help you navigate your finances during your visit. This is especially important if you enter the country without an employment offer. Have emergency funds set aside for prolonged unemployment or unexpected expenses – and make sure you bring enough funds for your isolation period.

Get your documentation quickly

New Canadian residents will need the following three documents as soon as you arrive:

  • Permanent Resident (PR) Card: New residents should receive this as part of the immigration process. This card is your official proof of Canadian residency and is necessary when you travel abroad.

  • Provincial Health Card: This card allows you health and medical coverage. Typically, there is a waiting period for your coverage to begin. Please refer to the Government of Canada’s official website for more details.

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN): Your SIN allows you to work in Canada and access government services. You will also need your SIN for paying taxes. Obtaining these documents will make it easier for you to complete other important activities like open a bank account and begin working.

Finding a new job in this unique season

Ideally, it is best to have a job secured before you settle in Canada, especially since COVID-19 has presented all companies with new challenges. However, if you haven’t accepted a job offer yet, these tips can help:

  • Start with a government job search; you can filter to show essential COVID-19 jobs

  • Have your education, experience and credentials assessed

  • Search, which is a list of jobs that welcome newcomers

How to live in your new country with COVID-19 restrictions

Before 2020, new residents could have popped into the local stores and started acquainting themselves with their new community and fellow residents. The current times make such activities impossible in many communities. Instead, newcomers should familiarize themselves with local online shopping retailers and delivery service providers.

During your isolation period, you will not be able to interact with others outside of your home. This means you will need to order groceries and supplies online. Check to see if Grocery Gateway, Walmart grocery delivery, or other online retailers are available in your area – you will want to stock up on pantry and cleaning essentials, such as disinfectants.

Check out our list of tips to help you through a pandemic. Let us help take some stress off your shoulders by covering your banking needs with a program designed just for newcomers like you.

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