Moving to Canada: what to do on day 1
The expat checklist
I made it to Canada! After a year of paperwork and preparation, the day is finally here. I arrived in Toronto on a plane from Germany, without a visa in my passport. Only a piece of paper stating I am eligible for a working holiday in Canada. How I go to this point I described in my post “How to be paid to travel”.
Immigration at Canada’s border
The immigration office at the airport printed another piece of paper for me, more official looking. That is my work permit. He didn’t even ask for the proof of insurance I had read he’ll need.
Lucky as I am, I was met by a friend at the airport. I will stay at her house in the beginning. Usually when I move to another country, I try to sort out my living situation as a priority to avoid paying high hotel bills.
Social Insurance Number
the SIN is the Canadian equivalent of a social security number. It authorizes me to work in Canada. I got it without an appointment at a Service Canada location. As I was there right at 8:30am, I was one of the first clients. In and out within 15 minutes.
They also have Service centers for matters of the province, e.g. Service Ontario. Since the SIN is a federal number, those won’t be able to help.
With my work permit and social insurance number I then went on to opening a bank account. Darlings, I did your research for you. I walked into 4 banks downtown to ask about my options. The first three were Scotia bank, TD bank and bank of Montreal. They basically all offer similar checking accounts with a monthly fee based on how many transactions you need to make. I wasn’t going to pay anybody to give them my money.
When I walked into CIBC they offered me a bottle of water while I waited for an advisor. So I got to talking with the floor manager and mentioned I had a one year visa. Because I was only here for a year he offered to waive any fees for me. The perfect expat offer! I walked out with a functioning debit card.
This took a few hours to sort out. I went to every provider in the mall. In the end I bought a pre-owned smartphone at the Mobile Clinic and a SIM card from Fido. They have a good package deal with international calls and texts. Nowhere was I offered a plan with unlimited data. Apparently that is not a thing in Canada. But also I won’t have to pay as much as I was warned I’d have to pay. I guess I’ll just be calling and texting more than using apps that use up data.
This is what I did in my first 24h in Canada. Check back soon to read more about things I took care of the rest of the first week.