Newcomer to Canada

First documents and Services for Newcomers

by the FlexFi Team

Are you moving to Canada? Congratulations! According to research conducted by U.S. News in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting, Canada is the second-best country to live!

We know how overwhelming the process of changing countries can be and so we prepared this article to help you and your family in this new beginning.

Before you arrive

Organize your personal and family documents. Keep records updated and get a certified translation of them into English (and/or French if you live in a province that requires it), for you and your family members. You will need the following documents:

  • birth certificates
  • passports, permits and/or immigration documents
  • 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
  • medical records (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc.) and dental records
  • driver’s license and/or International Driving Permit (IDP)

These documents are essential to register for services such as bank accounts, school registration, health insurance and rental agreements. They may not be immediately required, but they will be needed in the future. Having them organized and with you in Canada is easier than trying to urgently get it with from your original country after you move.

When you arrive in Canada

Now it is time to organize your new life in Canada. These are the essential documents and services you must apply for.

1. Permanent Residence Card (PR card): If you already have a PR status, make sure that all your family members have the plastic wallet-sized card as that is the official proof of your status in Canada. You will receive the card automatically at your new Canadian address.

2. Provincial Identity: If you are not a permanent resident or desire to have a Provincial ID, go to the website of the province you’re living in and check the ID emission offices. The provincial IDs are your proof of identity and place of residence.

3. Social Insurance Number (SIN):  You will need to have your SIN to register for government programs and benefits and to start working. This is a confidential and private 9-digit number, and you can acquire it at any Service Canada office near your place of residence (httpss://

4. Bank Account: Once you have your SIN you can open a bank account. There are five major banks in Canada and a few credit unions. You can compare fees for the various banks and choose the one that works best for you. Each one of them offers different advantages for clients, depending on your profile and goals. Ask questions about the interest rates and account fees that will be charged and see which one is most advantageous for you.

5. Health Insurance: The best option is to have private health insurance for the first three months in Canada. Make sure that you apply for provincial health insurance as fast as you can. You may have a waiting period after you register before you start using the health benefits. Each province or territory has its own health plan and rules; you may also be able to get additional coverage.

These are only the first steps for organizing documents and services in Canada, but there is much more to set up in your new life. Follow us and learn more about it!

FlexFi Inc. is not a financial advisory firm.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice.

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