Your “before moving to Canada” checklist

Checklist for immigrating to Canada, beside Canadian flag

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Congratulations! With your travel papers now on hand (such as your visa and confirmation of Permanent Residency), you can now start preparing to move to Manitoba. We know that there is so much to do, so take a deep breath, relax, and we’ll help you go through your preparations step-by-step. Here are some of the first (major) things you should accomplish before you leave:

Collect all documents

Make sure that you have original copies of official documents that you or your family members will need. These will be documents related to your health, education, profession, and others. If you don’t have them on hand, start applying for them now as some of these papers take time to process.

It would also be helpful to have photocopies of all your important documents, in case the originals get lost. Your original documents should be written in English or French (Canada’s official languages); if not, you will need to have certified translations done. Make sure that you use a reputable translation agency and that you acquire an affidavit signifying that the translation is accurate. These documents should include your:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Marriage or divorce certificate; death certificate for a deceased spouse
  • Adoption records for adopted children
  • Educational diplomas and certificates; transcripts that list the courses you took to obtain a degree or certificate
  • Official vaccination records (your child’s baby book if you still have it)
  • Medical records (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc.) and dental records
  • Driver’s licence and/or International Driving Permit
  • Driving experience letter or certification from your local transport authority (this may help lower the cost of auto insurance)
  • Detailed resume/Curriculum Vitae (which you will need to revise following the Canadian style)
  • Contact details of references and reference letters

If your profession is regulated, you may want to start checking the requirements for certification or licensing with your professional association or regulating body. It may be easier for you to acquire trainings, documents or credentials needed for this process while you are still in your home country. To know more about credentials assessment and licensing, read the article 5 steps to credentials assessment and licensing.

Get your finances in order

If you are selling your property, house or car, do it as early as you can to prevent acquiring losses from a rush sale. Research on safe and efficient ways that you can bring your settlement funds to Canada to avoid bringing it all in cash. It would be ideal if you have deposited your funds at a Canadian bank as it will be easier to transfer your funds once you are here. If not, find out other acceptable forms of deposits for Canadian banks such as travellers’ cheques, bank drafts, or money orders. Click on the link to know more about Banks operating in Canada and choose a bank to contact to know currency laws and regulations.

Also, learn about the cost of living in Manitoba to get an idea of how to manage your finances once you get here. Read Manitoba quality of life: cost of living.

Research job opportunities

Using your National Occupational Classification (NOC), research about your job prospects at the Canada Job Bank. Here you will learn about standard wages, outlook, education and job requirements. You can also look at the job postings to gauge the demand for your profession and the kind of qualifications companies are looking for. If you feel that you are ready, go ahead and send an application. Just make sure that you format your resume following the Canadian standard before sending (the article 10 steps to a Canadian-style resume could help).

To know more about employment in Manitoba, read more articles here.

Attend pre-departure seminars

If you haven’t yet, it would be a good idea to attend pre-departure seminars offered to candidates on their final stages of their immigration process, such as the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA), and the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP). Attendance is not required, but would be beneficial for you as the seminars offer information on essential topics such as employment, housing, health, settlement services, and life in Canada. These will not only help you in your preparation and planning but also connect you to supports that may be found online.

Also, find out if there are other pre-departure seminars that you need. In some countries, it is mandatory for emigrants to attend state-sponsored pre-departure seminars to be allowed to leave the country.

Improve English

Job-ready English is a big factor in getting hired in Manitoba. So make an effort to improve your writing, speaking, listening and reading skills before you get here. While you are it, learn French too, as it is Canada’s second official language. It is an advantage (especially if you are applying for federal/government jobs), to be proficient in French.

You can start learning English by checking out easily accessible and flexible learning options on this site. English Online language courses are grounded on settlement topics to give you necessary information to ease your transition while training you to become proficient in the language at the same time. For additional inspiration, read Rhea Bugarin’s story to know how learning with English Online can help you prepare for the challenges of being a newcomer.

Plan your first days/weeks upon arrival

Get to know more about the province and area where you will settle. Check the Manitoba website or the website of particular city you are going to. It is important to know the weather on the day of your arrival to plan for the clothes that you will bring and wear (check Environment Canada). Make arrangements as well for your transportation and accommodations (whether you will stay with family or friends or book a hotel). Read more about Living in Manitoba topics to know what to expect when you get here.

Make a list of what to bring

First, check this list: Bringing goods to Canada to know what things you can and can’t bring to Manitoba. Al,so check your airline’s luggage limits and specifications to avoid having to pay for excess baggage penalties. Immigrants are allowed to ship other goods to follow if you really need them. You can find out how to prepare Form B4, Personal Effects Accounting Document and other requirements upon reaching the border here: Crossing the border: documents you need.

You may want to bring some of your appliances, food, clothing, and other goods from home that you think may not be available here. This is good, as long as these do not add on too much to your baggage (and they are not restricted goods). However, you should know that Manitoba is the most multi-cultural place in Canada. There are many ethnic stores here where you can find your native ingredients; some may even carry the cooking utensils and vessels that you are used to. Clothing is another thing that can easily be bought in Manitoba. You may wish to bring two to three changes of clothes appropriate for the weather when you arrive. You can also never go wrong in bringing a suit or formal/professional attire for job interviews. But aside from these, you may be better off buying your other clothes when you get settled.

In terms of appliances, be informed that the voltage used in Canada is 110-120 volts and the electrical sockets are the “Type B” North American NEMA 5-15 standard (go to this link for more electrical plug and voltage information). Be ready with an adapter, converter or transformer depending on your need.

If you have maintenance medicine, it would be a good idea to bring at least a six-month supply for your use. This will tide you over until you have your health card and pharmacare, as well as chosen a family doctor (it takes three months before you can be covered by the public health care system).

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Community Resources

Watch the video Before You Arrive in Canada from CIC for more information:

You can download the before you leave checklist here to guide you in your preparations.

This website contains settlement articles on 12 topics most relevant to newcomers. You can browse all the themes and topics on the “Live” side to become more familiar with life and Manitoba and equip yourself with the right information to help ease your first days.

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Your “before moving to Canada” checklist

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