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.