What do I do now??
The rules for applying for any of the documents listed below are not the same for every province. Please make sure and check the website relevant to the province you are in.
Note: These are merely my point of views based on my personal experience. Please use common sense and do your own due diligence before you take any action.There is no substitute for common sense and good judgement.
Probably the most important thing for you to do is to open a Bank account. It is very very easy, go to the nearest Bank, do not worry, here in North America your home branch can be anywhere, you can bank where ever you live. So, if you are planning to move in the next month, not to worry, there will be a branch for the Bank you are opening your account with, trust me on this one.
You will need your passport & the PR (Permanent Resident) card you have. One of the reasons for you to do this is because when you go to apply for your Health Card, they will need from youa document that provides proof of residential address, the Bank statement that will be mailed out to you by the Bank with your name on it will be sufficient for that. Here are some major banks in Canada. The last two Banks on the list are banks with zero banking fees, they are really good. The good news is that you can open more than one account - so for your first account don't waste your time choosing, just go for the one closest and begin the process.
•Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
•Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
•TD Canada Trust (TD)
•President's Choice Financial (PC)
A SIN is a Social Insurance Number, absolutely essential for you to have. This should be a top priority for you. Keep in mind that it could take 3 to 4 weeks for your card to get to you. Make note of the documents that you need inorder to apply for SIN, do not go to the office unprepared or else you'll stand in line only to learn you do not have enough documentation.
When you apply for a job, they want to know if you are legally authorised to work in Canada and having a SIN is the best proof of this.
•Find a local service canada centre near you
•How to apply for a SIN card
Actually, in the list of priorities I would make this one second. Having a car in Canada is a necessity, now you may not have it in the first year or even in the second one, eventually you will. It is better to get your drivers license now when you have time on your hands. If you have an international drivers license it will come in handy for the first 90 dyas, however it does not help you with your insurance etc. so believe me go in for a Canadian driver's license. Let me explain a few things about driving here in Canada. In India, I never thought much about Car Insurance - here, you cannot drive without car Insurance. If you are caught by the police and you have a valid drivers license but no Insurance - you are in trouble.
Car Insurance is a big expense in addition to the cost of the car, however, it helps if you have the proper license. So go in for a Canadian drivers license and get started right away, it does not hurt to have a DL and no car. The DL infact is also a valid ID and it will come in handy.
In the list of priorities this would move down. You have to keep in mind that you will not get a Health Card until you have completed 3 months in Canada. So, just because you apply for a Health Card right away does not mean that it will be in the mail within the next 3 to 4 weeks, no sir, you will get it only on completion of 3 months in Canada. Your Health Card entitles you to free check ups and medical attention (in Ontario its called OHIP) for other provinces you need to check the website.
•How to apply for your Health Card.
You need to start lookng around for a family doctor. For the first three months you are on your own because you do not have a Health Card. This is when you pray real hard that none of the family members get sick. Family doctors (atleast in Ontario) are hard to come by as well, you have to be registered with one, and these days because they already have lot of patients registered with them they might refuse to register you. So be prepared to register with a doctor who is not in your neighbourhood.
I cannot stress how important it is for you to have a family doctor, yes there are 'walk-in clinics' and 'emergency' at the local hospital, however a family doctor is key to having continuity as well as having someone that will refer you to a specialist should you need one.
If you have school going children, go over to the school in your vicinity and have them registered. You will not have to wait for the start of a new semester/term, your child can begin attending classes right away, that is if the school is in session. Usually people will time their arrival with the start of a new school year.
The school year begins in September. Schools are closed July & August every year. The winter break is very short usually a maximum of two weeks. It is helpful to do some research as to the area and the school that you have chosen, because believe it or not this is where you will settle down for the long haul. It is not uncommon to hear complaints about the area and the school and then families moving out to another area because of the problems their children are facing at school. So the choice of a school is important. It is not good to keep moving around especially for the children because they have experienced a big transition already, be mindful of them as well.
The reason why the choice of school is important is because in the first couple of years you will be extremely busy trying to get your foot in the door. Your children will be at school from 8:45 AM until 3:25 PM, it is important that they are in a good environment and neighbourhood. Oh Yes school is free - you do not have to pay anything. Don't get too excited though, because when you see the taxes coming off your paycheque you will know why we do not need to pay for school and routine health issues.