Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Moving to another country can be challenging. If you are immigrating to Canada, this video will help you make a checklist of the things you should do to be prepared for your move. To start off, English and French are Canada’s two official languages. Being able to speak in one of these languages is absolutely essential for day-to-day living. We know that it takes time, energy and commitment to improve your language skills, but communications skills may be the most important tool that will help you successfully settle in Canada and find a good job. If you have a limited ability in either English or French, you should consider improving your language skills before you come to Canada. Which language should you learn? This is up to you, but it will depend on where in Canada you intend to settle. In short, English is the most common language in the majority of provinces and territories, while French is the main language spoken in Quebec. But with Canada being a bilingual country, there are also well-established French-speaking communities in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and most other parts of Canada. And Quebec has a large minority of English-speaking residents. So, do some research on the place where you’ll live to see which language is most widely spoken in the region. Next, be sure that you have all the proper documents that you and your family will need once you’re in Canada. Examples include birth certificates, passports, education diplomas and transcripts, medical and dental records, marriage or divorce certificates, driver’s licenses, adoption records for adopted children and other official documents. A word of advice: it can be much more difficult to get these documents after you have left your country of origin, so take the time to gather them before leaving. If any of your family members are immigrating at a later date, make sure to bring copies of their documents with you as well in case you need them for any reason prior to your family members’ arrival. Another thing to do before leaving for Canada is to translate your documents into either English or French. Be sure to get a certified translation. This means you need to choose a translation agency with a good reputation. The translator should also give you an affidavit. This is a document on which the translator has sworn that the translation is accurate. The affidavit must be sworn in front of a person authorized to administer oaths in the country where the translator lives. Record the name and contact information of the translation agency in case you need it once you’re in Canada. You must keep the original versions of your documents as well. One of your first needs after arriving in Canada is, of course, finding a temporary place to stay until you find long-term accommodation. If it’s convenient, you can arrange to stay with family or friends for your first days in Canada. Or if that’s not possible, search for a hotel or hostel in a central location. Try to book your hotel or hostel at least several weeks before flying to Canada. By booking in advance, you will likely save money and have a better chance of finding available rooms. To help you choose, most hotels and hostels have websites with prices, photographs, a location map and a description of the services they offer. A word of caution: beware of very cheap hotels or hostels. They may be located in unpleasant areas or be of very low standard. One of the most important tasks is preparing to find work in Canada. Providing for yourself and your family will depend mainly on being able to find a suitable job. For many people, the first job in Canada may not be the most satisfying. But, keep in mind it can take time to build your qualifications and gain Canadian experience before finding the job you really want. There are a few things you can do before you arrive in Canada: Gather all your educational diplomas and certificates and get letters of reference from your past employers As mentioned, be sure to get these documents translated into English or French. Learn how you can get your educational and professional qualifications officially recognized in Canada, and begin this process. Being accepted to immigrate to Canada doesn’t mean that your education, work experience and professional qualifications will automatically be recognized in Canada. There are processes you have to follow to make sure the education, training and job experience you obtained in another country are equivalent to the standards applied to Canadian workers. The Foreign Credentials Referral Office can provide you with valuable information on how this process works. As part of this, find out if your profession is “regulated” or “unregulated” in Canada: Regulated occupations—in fields like health care, engineering, skilled trades, and others—have set standards for how the profession is practised and require a certificate or license. Standards can be different across Canada. Most jobs in Canada are non-regulated occupations, which don’t require a license or certificate. In these professions, requirements vary between employers, so always be ready to show you have the education or experience to do the job. Knowing which category your profession falls into will help you determine the requirements for your occupation in the province or territory where you’ll live. Lastly, take some time to learn about searching and applying for jobs in Canada. There are many job search websites in Canada you can use, including the Working in Canada website. If you need to return to school or have school-aged children, do some research on the education system before coming to Canada. Throughout Canada, education is the responsibility of each province or territory, and the various English and French language school boards are publicly funded. There are different schools for children of different ages, but all boys and girls must attend school between the ages of 5 or 6 and 16 or 18, depending on where you will live. There may also be private or religious schools in the area where you’ll settle, and the same rules apply, but these schools could be outside the public system. For the most part, the educational systems are similar across the country, but there are some differences between provinces and territories. For this reason, the ministries or departments of education in each province or territory are your main sources of information on anything related to education. They all have websites, which you can visit to learn about the system before you arrive in Canada. At the very least, take note of the deadlines for applying and registering at schools, colleges and universities, so that you’re ready once you arrive. This will make sure you don’t miss important dates! Another step you can take to prepare for your arrival in Canada is to buy private health insurance. Canada has a universal healthcare system. It is designed to provide citizens and residents of Canada with access to health care, which is paid for by money collected through taxes. But, you should be aware there is a waiting period before you’re eligible to benefit from it. For that reason, you should buy private insurance to cover your first three months in Canada. This will take care of any emergency medical costs, should they arise, until you have access to government health insurance. And if you’re unsure whether you’ll be eligible to apply for government health insurance once you arrive in Canada, check with the government of the province or territory where you plan to live. There are a few more things you can do before you leave for Canada to prepare yourself … Learn about the province or territory and the city or town where you will live. Many of these places have websites with information that will be practical for you to know prior to your arrival. At the same time, get ready for Canada’s weather! The climate varies across the country, so do a bit of research to find out what you could expect upon arrival. It’s a good idea to buy some warm clothes to keep you comfortable during the first few days if you’re arriving in Canada during the fall, winter or spring. You should also take some time to learn about Canada’s laws and your rights as well as civic responsibilities. It’s important to know that in Canada every individual is equal under the law ... without discrimination based on your race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation age, mental or physical disability. Knowing what to expect before you arrive will help make your settlement and integration into Canadian society that much easier. Preparing to move to another country is no small task, and there is much more to know and consider before immigrating to Canada. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website is a one-stop shop for information. It has a wealth of resources that are tailored to your needs to help you adjust to life in Canada. The site also includes our Welcome to Canada Guide. For links to everything mentioned in this video and more, visit immigration.gc.ca/settlement.