Welcome to Canada: A Newcomer’s Guide to Navigating Your First Year

Published: July 11, 2023

Welcome to Canada: A Newcomer's Guide to Navigating Your First Year

Starting your life in a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming, as a newcomer to Canada, there are several things you should take care of within the first year of your arrival. Here's a helpful checklist to guide you on what to do within the first three months, six months, and 12 months.

Learn more about TD's New to Canada Banking Package

What to do in your first 3 months:[1]

The first three months are crucial in setting up your new life in Canada. Here are some of the things you should focus on:

  • Get your Social Insurance Number (SIN) Card: Your SIN is a unique nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada, file taxes, and access government programs and benefits. You can apply for your SIN online or in-person at a Service Canada Centre.[2]
  • Apply for Government Health Insurance/Health Card: All Canadian citizens and permanent residents are eligible for public health insurance. You will need to apply for a health card if eligible in the province or territory where you live. The application process varies depending on where you live, but you can usually apply online or in-person.[3]
  • Find a Place to Stay: Whether you plan to rent or buy a home, it's important to find a place to live within the first few months of your arrival. You can start your search online or through a real estate agent.
  • Find a Family Doctor: Having a family doctor is important for your overall health and well-being. You can search for doctors in your area online or through a referral from a friend or a family member.[4]
  • Seek Settlement Services in Canada: The government of Canada provides free settlement services for newcomers. You can take advantage of these free government services for support and guidance on everything from childcare to language immersion and even finding a place to live.[5]
  • Look for a Job: Finding a job in a new country can be challenging, but there are several resources available to help you.[6] You can search for job openings online, attend job fairs, or connect with employment agencies, as a few examples.

Ready to bank? Learn more about TD's New to Canada Banking Package today.

What to do in months 3-6:[7]

By this time, you might feel more settled into your new life in Canada. Here are some things you should focus on as you get more familiar with your new community:

  • Get a Driver's License: If you plan to drive in Canada, you will need to get a driver's license. Each province and territory have its own licensing requirements, so make sure to research the rules in your area.[8]
  • Connect with Your Community: Getting involved in your community can help you feel more connected and make new friends. You can join sports teams, social clubs, or visit your local place of worship. Libraries are also a great resource for free events and workshops.
  • Learn About Managing Your Money: Managing your finances can be challenging, especially if you are new to Canada. Take the time to learn about budgeting, saving, and investing. TD also offers a wide range of banking services; and resources, including a helpful Guide to Canadian Banking Terms to help newcomers manage their budget.

What to do in Months 6-12:

After six months, you will likely feel more comfortable in your new home. Here are some things to consider as you complete your first year in Canada:

  • Volunteer: Volunteer with immigrant-serving organizations to give back to your new community while gaining valuable experience.
  • Engage with the Community: Attend city or school gatherings, join local councils, or participate in local events.
  • International Students: Look for summer jobs or internships to gain work experience and learn more about Canadian culture.

Settling into a new country is a big transition, but it can also be an exciting opportunity to start fresh and build a new life. By taking things one step at a time and staying positive, you can help make the transition smoother and more successful. Remember that there are many resources and services available to help you settle in, and don't be afraid to look for additional resources.[9] With an organized approach and the right steps, you can build a strong foundation for your future in Canada.

Learn more about TD's New to Canada Banking Package

Why Choose TD?

150 years helping Canadians:

TD has a proud history of delivering financial solutions to Canadians for more than 150 years. TD also brings a century of experience helping newcomers navigate the unique challenges of the Canadian banking system.

With over a thousand branches, a reputation for excellence in financial services, and the ability to also serve you in more than 60 different languages, TD has become one of the largest and most trusted banks in Canada, now serving 16 million Canadians.

TD offers online support and resources of interest to newcomers on topics such as banking. basics, moving to Canada, credit score essentials, and more. TD is open longer hours for your convenience. TD has thousands of ATMs across Canada to help you take care of your everyday
banking quickly and easily.

Ready to Bank?

Learn more about TD’s New to Canada Banking Package today.         

Book an appointment to talk with a TD Personal Banking Associate about the TD New to Canada Banking Package. You can book online right away, or visit the TD website to learn more.

Legal Disclaimer: Information provided by TD Bank Group and other sources in this article is believed to be accurate and reliable when placed on this site, but we cannot guarantee it is accurate or complete or current at all times. Information in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide financial, legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon in that regard. This information is not to be construed as a solicitation to buy. Products and services of the TD Bank Group are only offered in jurisdictions where they may be lawfully offered for sale. All products and services are subject to the terms of the applicable agreement. The information in this article is subject to change without notice.

[1] https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/ircc/migration/ircc/english/pdf/pub/welcome.pdf

[2] https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/sin/qualify.html

[3] https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/new-life-canada/health-care.html#card

[4] https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/new-life-canada/health-care/find-doctors.html

[5] https://ircc.canada.ca/english/newcomers/services/index.asp

[6] https://www.canada.ca/en/services/jobs/opportunities.html

[7] https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/new-life-canada/community-connections.html

[8] https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/new-life-canada/driving.html

[9] https://ircc.canada.ca/english/newcomers/services/index.asp

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