If you’re traveling out of the country for the first time, you’ll want to take some time to get your bearings in the new city. You might want to go for some sightseeing and get to know the locals a little better. And while that is important to do, what about the very basics to help you start your job, send money home, or be allowed to get a drink in Canada?
Interacting with new people, working in a completely new environment, and doing as the Canadians do can be an exciting experience. But to make the most out of your new adventure, here are five things you should get out of the way on your first Working Holiday in Canada:
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Start Your Accommodation & Work Hunt
Two of the most trying challenges that you’re likely to face on your Working Holiday are landing a good apartment and a work offer. If you’re really into taking a look around the city and enjoying the views, the very least you can do is watch out for advertisements along your way. You might find a few leads on great vacancies.
There are also some useful online platforms to help you land a place to stay like Airbnb or Backpackers.Ca. It’s also important to bear in mind that most rental tenancies begin on the 1st of the month. On the other hand, if you’re looking to crash with any friends or family members you know, you don’t really have to stress over accommodation on day 1.
On your job hunt, you might want to ask the locals around; people are eager to help out. You’ll also get word of some great opportunities with social media. Join as many Canadian job groups on Facebook as you can, and you can also try your luck on Craigslist.
Get Your SIN
If you’re not sure what a SIN is, it’s a Social Insurance Number that allows you to work in Canada. You can’t get this 9-digit number by applying somewhere online; you have to be present at your nearest Service Canada Office in person. If you need help figuring out where that is, you can use the official platform to locate the office. Before you go there, make sure you have these three things required to get a SIN:
The work permit issued to you by the CIC or IRCC
An official second piece of supporting documentation from your home country — driving license, marriage/divorce certificate, an adoption order, etc.
The process to get your SIN is quick, completely free, and you don’t even require an appointment. You might have to wait 5 to 15 minutes depending on the length of the queue on that day. But if you’re the first in line, the actual process of issuing your SIN takes just 10 minutes. In the end, you’ll have your SIN printed out on paper. Keep it somewhere safe!
Buy a SIM Card & Set Up Your Cellphone Plan
You can’t really do much in a new country if you don’t have any cell service. Before choosing a provider, it’s important to lay out all the facts. Canada has three major cellphone service providers; Bell, Rogers, and Telus. You’ll find some other small providers as well but all of them are child companies of these three major ones.
First of all, you need to make sure that your chosen provider covers the area you currently reside in. Next, you need to choose a type of plan. Canadian cell service providers have three basic options for you:
Pay As You Go: Under this plan, you’ll only need to pay for the data, SMS messages, and minutes you use, as you use them. It’s a prepaid plan so you’ll need to top up.
Monthly Contract (No-Fixed Term): This type of cell plan is postpaid where you don’t have to commit to a fixed term. You’ll get a bill for a certain number of minutes, data, and texts that you’ve used every month.
Long Term Contract: Under this type of plan, you’ll receive a fixed number of minutes, SMS texts, and data every month for up to 2 years.
For all these plans, you can either bring in your own cellphone or purchase a new one. You have two options if you decide to purchase; either paying in installments or upfront.
Apply for Your Provincial ID Card
Applying for your provincial ID card is a good step as it can help you get into a lot of different places, especially clubs and night bars. Many establishments don’t accept foreign IDs and you can’t expect to go everywhere with your passport, can you?
To get your ID, you’ll need to get the following things in order:
- Your passport
- Work permit
- Permanent address
Visit your local branch with these documents, complete your application, and then wait a few weeks to receive your ID card via mail. If you’re in British Columbia, you can find your local ICBC branch on this official platform.
Open Your Bank Account
The last important thing you should do on day 1 is to open your own bank account. You’ll need it for your new job in Canada and also to transfer money to and from your home country. In most cases, you won’t require an appointment beforehand. Be sure to gather all the information you can about what different banks are offering. For example, CIBC offers Canadian visitors a welcome package with no fee for the first year. So, make your choice wisely to avoid unnecessary overhead.
Once you get these five essential to-dos out of your way, you’ll have plenty of time to catch the views and enjoy your stay in Canada. If you’re interested in applying for the Canadian WHV, UIS Canada can be of service to you! Just leave us your details and one of our expert consultants will reach out to you in a jiffy!