Congratulations! Your visa has been approved by the Canadian embassy.
Relocating to Canada from another country is no mean feat. It is a big decision which shouldn’t be underestimated by no means.
It takes a lot of time and organization to ensure a smooth transition, regardless of your plan to either settle in Canada permanently or temporarily. To help make your relocation to Canada as smooth as possible, here are seven key things you can do before boarding the plane.
Seven things to do before relocating to Canada
1. Prepare for the weather
Most first-time comers to Canada arrive with a romantic impression of a snowy destination and a lot of winter wonderland memories they can share on social media. But for all of its beauty, Canadian weather can be extreme, harsh and prolonged.
Parts of Canada recorded temperatures below -50 °C in December 2021. For people coming from Lagos, Nigeria, where the coldest temperature is usually not less than 23 °C, this can be really uncomfortable.
To help you settle in Canada, pack clothes for all weather conditions; cold, hot, rainy and snowy. If you are arriving during winter, cover as much exposed skin as possible. Wear warm socks, mittens, a hat and a scarf. Find out the weather condition before you arrive
2. Get your Canadian work permit
To work in Canada as a first-timer, you will need a temporary foreign work permit. Unless you already have a permanent residence visa, you must obtain a temporary foreign work permit (TFWP) before you can legally start working in Canada.
Failure to get a TFWP before you start working can cause deportation and any chance of becoming a permanent resident will be gone. Furthermore, any work you do without a TFWP won’t be recognised when you apply for permanent residence. So ensure that you have the correct Canada visa and documentation.
3. Put your finances in order
As someone moving into a new country, it’s essential you get your finances in order. Your immigration officer would want to see this as it will ensure you settle in properly.
Confirm the amount you need to bring as settlement funds. The minimum amount depends on your immigration pathway and the size of your family.
Upon arrival, you are required to declare if you have brought in more than CAD$10,000. Use the cross-border currency or monetary instruments report form to do so. Note that you are allowed to get more than CAD$10,000, you just need to declare it.
The Canadian Border Service Agency (CSBA) has the right to seize money over CAD$10,000 that is not declared. You may also need to pay a fine or face other penalties for failing to report.
4. Apply for Social Insurance Number
Social Insurance Number is a nine-digit number Canadian residents use as a source of identification and to work. It's equivalent to Nigeria's National Identification Number, the Social Security Number in the US, and the National Insurance Number in the UK.
The number also qualifies you to receive benefits and services from the government.
There are three ways to get your SIN when you move to Canada. If they don't take you through the process when you arrive at the airport, you'll have to apply either online, by mail, or in person at a later time.
5. Secure an accommodation
Your accommodation should be up there on your priority checklist before you relocate to Canada. Arriving in a foreign country without having your accommodation settled would only make your first weeks unpleasant.
You can use short-term housing options in the interim before you find your preferred permanent housing solution. Some temporal housing options include Airbnb, hotels and motels.
6. Update your employment profile for the Canadian job market
If you intend to work, then you need to update your employment profile to suit the Canadian job market. Update your resume, get work references, and start searching for employment opportunities in your chosen field.
No matter the qualifications and professional experience you’ve garnered, having your credentials recognised in the Canadian marketplace will give you an edge. So be sure to get certified, licensed or go back to school if you have to.
Related Article: 8 things to get you settled in the UK as a Global Talent immigrant
7. Familiarise yourself with Canadian slang
Acquainting yourself with the slang of your destination country will help you settle down faster. You might have heard of the famous Canadian phrase ‘eh’ which some locals attach to the end of almost any sentence. Other popular slangs you should know are:
- Toque = beanie (winter hat)
- Timmies = Tim Hortons (chain of coffee shops)
- Double-double = a coffee with two kinds of milk and two sugars; only used at Tim Hortons
- Mickey = a 375 ml (26 oz) bottle of liquor
- Two-four = a case of 24 beers
- $1 CAD coin = loonie
- $2 CAD coin = toonie
- Kilometre = klick or click
- 6ix = Toronto
- Parkade = a multi-storey car park
- Washroom = Canadian term for a bathroom or restroom
- Beavertail = deep-fried dessert pastry resembling a beaver’s tail
- Pop = soda, a soft drink, or any flavoured carbonated beverage
- That’s jokes = something is hilarious or funny
- Darts = cigarettes
- Mounties = The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
Other things you can do before relocating to Canada are open a bank account, learn as much French as you can, polish your English, and start researching about the city you’ll land in Canada.
Before you relocate to Canada, keep up-to-date with the latest immigration developments, because changes happen regularly that can affect your move.