To be prepared for your life in Canada, there are important things to do before and after you arrive. Not every item will apply to you, but it can give you an idea of how to get ready.
Before you arrive in Canada
1. Get and bring to Canada all official documents belonging to you and the family members who are immigrating with you.
Common documents include:
- birth certificate or baptismal certificates
- marriage, separation or divorce papers
- adoption records for adopted children
- death certificate for a deceased spouse
- school records, educational diplomas and certificates, including transcripts listing the courses you took to obtain a degree or certificate
- medical records (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc.) and dental records
- letters of reference from former employers
- car registration documents (if you are importing a motor vehicle into Canada)
- photocopies of all essential and important documents in case the originals get lost (be sure to keep the photocopies in a separate place from the originals)
If you have family members that will be immigrating at a later date, you should also bring copies of their documents with you.
You may not need these documents immediately, but it is better to bring all your official documents in case they are needed in the future. It is often much more difficult to obtain these documents after you have left your country of origin.
Translate your documents
If your original documents are not in English or French, you will need to get them translated. The language and type of translation (general, certified, notarized, etc.) will depend on the place you chose to live and what you need the translations for (education, health, legal, work, etc.).
2. Make an effort to improve your English or French if neither one is your first language.
Communication skills may be your most important tool to settle successfully in Canada and find a job.
Read more on these topics in the sections Improving your English and French as well as Employment and income.
3. Plan where you will stay during your first days in Canada. Make arrangements to stay with family or friends, or book a hotel in a central location. For information on temporary accommodation as well as how to rent or buy a home in Canada, read the section on Housing.
4. Get ready to find a job in Canada by doing the following:
- Get a copy of your educational diplomas and certificates.
- Get letters of reference from your past employers.
- Learn about getting your credentials assessed.
- Find out if your profession is “regulated” or “non-regulated” in Canada.
- Learn how to search and apply for jobs in Canada.
For an introduction on what you need to know about finding employment in Canada, read the section on Employment and income.
5. Learn about the education system in Canada. Take note of deadlines for applying and registering at schools, colleges and universities. For information about schools for your children as well as education opportunities for you, read the section on Education.
6. Learn about health care in Canada, and get private health insurance. Private insurance pays for emergency medical costs until you obtain government health insurance in Canada.
7. Learn more about the province and the city or town where you will settle.
8. Learn about seasons as well as the weather in Canada and bring appropriate clothes with you.
9. Learn about Canadian laws as well as your rights and responsibilities when you become a resident of Canada.
Original Resource: Government of Canada