This article was first published in theNovember 2011 issue of MoneySense.
What to do during your first few weeks in Canada:
Apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN). You will need this to get a job and to get access to government programs and benefits.
Apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, a tax-free monthly payment given to parents caring for children under the age of 18.
Apply for a provincial health card. If there is a waiting period in your province before coverage starts, take out private medical insurance to cover you for the first few months.
Find an immigrant settlement agency close to your home and inquire about employment and English language programs.
If possible, set up your Canadian bank account before you leave your home country. Ask if the bank will waive fees for new immigrants in the first year.
When wiring large amounts of money from your home country, ask your bank for a preferential exchange rate, says Ngoc Day, a financial planner at Macdonald, Shymko & Co. For smaller amounts, shop for the best rate on currency exchange company websites.
Wealthy immigrants might want to consider setting up an Immigration Trust, which allows you to shelter investments from taxes during your first five years in Canada.