Welcome to Manitoba!
We know you’re excited to start settling in your new home. There’s so much to do! If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, we can help you out. Here’s a task list to guide you. You can also download the newcomer checklist at the end of this article to help keep you on-track:
Settling and knowing your new home:
Where to live
Most newcomers stay with a sponsor or a place arranged by a contact or friend. If you’re looking to move to a more permanent place after your temporary housing, consider your options. The process of renting an apartment or buying a house in Manitoba may be different from your home country. Read Renting a Home in Manitoba or the First Time Renter Fact Sheet. You can also read Buying a home in Manitoba if that’s your plan. If you need more housing advice, ask New Journey Housing. You can consult their housing advisors for free.
If you move and you haven’t received your PR Card yet, inform IRCC within 180 days of getting your status. Use the Address Notification Web Form to let them know where to send your PR card.
Useful links: Housing basics: What you need to know; Residential Tenancies Branch; Renting an apartment in MB (with a video lecture on Rental Information); Canadian house features you should know about
You can use your driver’s licence from your home country for three months upon arrival if you have a vehicle. Remember to apply for a Manitoba licence before the three months is up.
Public transportation is also available in Winnipeg and in some rural areas. The Winnipeg Transit is one of the most convenient ways to go around the city. Download the Navigo Trip Planner app on your phone to know the bus schedule, plan your trip, and see the different routes. Your other transportation options would be taxis or by bike especially during summer to fall.
Use Winnipeg 311 or Manitoba 211 to find places, events and city services. Check the Manitoba school divisions and districts map to see the schools nearest you. The best way to know the services within your community is to connect with your nearest immigrant- serving organizations. They provide free assistance to ease your settlement so you can start working and enjoying living in Manitoba (see #2).
Useful links: Tips for first-time bus riders (Winnipeg Transit); How to get a driver’s licence in MB; Know your Canadian currency; Your Manitoba shopping guide; Craving for your native dish? You might just find it here; Immigrant-serving organizations.
Know the seasons
It’s important to know the seasons for your comfort, health and safety. Knowing the temperature will help you dress appropriately and plan your activities.
- Fall or Autumn is usually from September to October with average temperatures between -1°C to 9.8°C. This is when leaves change colour and the weather gets cool.
- Winter is from November to March with average temperatures between -22.8 °C and -12.7 °C. Winters can be long and extremely cold in Manitoba. You’ll need to dress warmly and learn how to manage the cold.
- Spring is in April, with average temperatures between -3.4°C to 8.9 °C. The snow starts to melt with the warmer weather. This is a short season that ushers in summer.
- Summer is from May to August with average temperatures between 11.8°C to 24.8°C. Summers can be mild to very hot. Everyone takes advantage of the great weather to see the sights and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
You’ll need a phone line when you start applying for jobs. A smartphone will also come in handy when you’re going around the city (Google Maps/GPS, Waze and other apps), looking for information, or asking for help.
There are various monthly cell phone plans from companies like Bell, Telus and Rogers. Plans will allow you to call/talk, text, and use internet data. Prices vary depending on the number (or duration) of calls and texts as well as the amount and speed of internet data that you need. You can also choose one that comes with a new smartphone. Family plans are generally cheaper and can include many perks. But if you don’t like having a monthly bill, opt for a prepaid plan.
Telecommunications companies can provide bundled services like TV, Internet and home phone. Ask for the best deals from an agent or representative. However, computers and free wi-fi are available at public libraries if you need them for job search, studies, research and others.
Know where to get help
Know who to call or go to to get help from for any medical, home or other emergencies. Call 9-1-1 if you or anybody in your family is in serious danger. Ask for interpretation services if you can’t speak or understand English well.
Get a family doctor and know the nearest clinics for less urgent health concerns. Know basic home and neighbourhood safety and consider having an emergency plan in place for your family.
Register at Immigrant-serving organizations
Visit immigrant-serving organizations nearest you. These organizations will brief you about life in Canada, link you to settlement resources, and provide seminars and workshops to help you with skills and language training, employment, cultural competence, healthy living, and so much more. Most services are free since they are usually funded by the government or by foundations and charities. You’ll notice that staff in these agencies are usually immigrants themselves so they know your unique needs. This is why they are your partners for settlement success.
Get essential documents
You will need certain documents to start working and accessing public services. At the moment, most government offices and service centres (including banks) have suspended or limited in-person services but you can still get your documents. Some agencies may require an appointment before intake or instruct you to apply via email, phone, fax or mail. The safest thing to do is to check online or call before going.
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