This article will help you prioritize the many situations you will face when moving to Canada:First finding a place to live; obtaining medical insurance; obtaining a Social Insurance Number; obtaining a driver's license; and enrolling the kids or yourself in school.

After those basics, you will still face a brick wall of questions: how to find a job, obtain ESL training, how to get a loan and credit cards, how to buy a house, and get temporary government assistance, if necessary. It is time consuming and, for many, perhaps even impossible to find that information when it is needed. We know how hard it is, because we have spent many, many hours trying to find some answers ourselves and sometime be lost without a guided direction.

Even if you are not thinking of making the move right now, a new report out today suggests that the country is likely to become increasingly appealing as the effects of climate change begin to kick in. The study, which examined 168 countries is likely going to subside to the drastic effects of global warming, placed Canada safely at the bottom of the list. To some, it will be the final push they need to start a new life up (far) north. To others, it will add to the country's image as a place where, well, nothing really happens.

As for housing, the expansion in population means big plots at low prices. For nature lovers, Canada is also paradise because of the rich greenery. Whether you want rolling planes, snowy mountains, fresh streams or thick forest, Canada all of that and more. It has an abundancy of two million lakes, which contain about a quarter of the world's fresh water.

Canada has always been a relatively welcoming destination and haven for immigrants. Nearly 20 percent of the Canadian population is foreign born. (Just 11.5 percent of the U.S. population can say the same.) The country boasts one of the world's only permanent immigration programs, and the minister of citizenship and immigration recently announced that she hopes Canada will welcome 220,000 to 245,000 immigrants and refugees in 2005.*

“Today, permanent residence—and the universal health care and clean air that come with it—is a little harder to obtain. Immigrants must obtain a visa from the Canadian Visa Office and fill out an application for permanent residence from the Consulate General of Canada. Applications take an average of 25 months to process. Bush dodgers arriving in Canada must also provide a valid passport, two copies of a detailed list of all personal items brought into the country and two copies of a list of all items on the way, and proof of enough funds to cover expenses for the first six months. For more information, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site”  or search for migration websites.

The Canadian job market is similar to that in other developed countries across the world. The majority of jobs are in the service sector, with the remainder of them in the manufacturing and natural resources. Unemployment is 6.8%, slightly higher than the long-term average in the last 30 years with The labour force. WE have seen a roller coaster of highs and lows of employment in the recession breaks.

The majority of Canada’s economic growth is spread wide across the four major cities: Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. Unemployment is highest in the Atlantic Provinces, such as Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. If you are seeking employment in Canada and you do not posses a work permit, you should be aware that it is more difficult to find a job this way, wither it may be permanent or contract. A prospective employer would need to obtain a work permit on your behalf, or be willing to pay out cash for various job duties. Many companies are reluctant to do this as it involves spending time and money with lawyers.

There is a significant underground job market in Canada. Many individuals working on construction sites and some other manual labour positions may not have a work permit. Although this is also an option, we do not recommend working without a work permit as this increases the risk of being deported and being forbidden to come back to Canada.

Moving to Canada is not an easy matter for many people. There are a number of reasons for this. Moving out of the country for anyone can be a difficult matter, and emotionally draining. Also one must pay careful attention to where in Canada they are moving to because of the severe changes in the environment.

Moving to Canada or moving to any foreign country can be very complicated. One needs to first secure either a place to live or a place to work and be mentally and psychologically prepared. For Canada, one needs to have a job all lined up even before they land in Canada. Then one can go through the complicated process of applying for citizenship , it can be a complicated process. People take for granted that the United States actively invites people to immigrate here. Canada is not the same. A person moving to Canada must go through the process of getting a passport and then apply for a visa. Visa status is not the end of the paper work either. There are years of paperwork ahead of anyone looking not just live in Canada but become a citizen as well.

A person planning on moving to Canada needs to be very aware of where in Canada he or she is moving. Much of Canada is tundra. Most people are not comfortable with so much cold for so long through the year. There are of course many coastal communities that are far north but are not as cold and snowy. However that does not mean they are any easier to live in. Many people do not realize how many places in Canada are purely French speaking. A person moving to Canada and being completely ignorant of any French is in for quite a challenge. 

There are many different ways you can look for an apartment or house to rent in Ontario. Here are some examples: 

Bulletin Boards  - Look in community centres, laundromats, grocery stores and other local businesses. If you are a student, check the boards at college and university housing services.

Classifieds - The advertisement section of major daily newspapers and weekly community newspapers have list rentals. You can read the newspaper for free at public libraries. Many newspapers let you search their classifieds ads online for free. Find your local community newspaper's website

Family And Friends - Many people find places to rent through personal contacts. Ask your friends, family, co-workers and others if they know of any places that are available. 

Rental Guides - These guides are free. Look for them in boxes on street corners or in store entrances.

Rental Listing Websites - There are many websites that list rentals. Here are some examples and you can use a search engine to find others. 

Children between 6 and 16 must attend school, and most of them go to public schools. Classes usually start in early September and end in late June. There is a two-week vacation in December and a one-week vacation in either February or March. Children attend school Monday to Friday, for about six hours a day. They usually bring their lunch with them.

There are also private schools, but these can be quite expensive. Public schools and separate (Catholic) schools in some provinces are paid for through your taxes. When you enrol your children, take their birth certificates or other identity documents to the school. If the originals of the documents are in languages other than English or French, you should have them translated into English or French. Also bring their Confirmation of Permanent Residence form (IMM 5292) or their permanent resident card, passport and any former school and health records. You could also be asked for immunization records. 

Canada’s health insurance system is set up to respond to people’s need for health care rather than their ability to pay for it. Often referred to as medicare, the system is designed to make sure that all residents of Canada have reasonable access to health care from doctors and hospitals.

  • It’s not absolutely necessary to hire a lawyer when you arrive in Canada, but it can be very useful. Here are some advantages:

  • Immigration, especially for refugee claimants, can be a long and difficult process with lots of paperwork. A lawyer sees this paperwork all the time and understands it well.

  • The immigration system is designed to be fair, but mistakes can happen. A lawyer will make sure you are being treated justly under the law. 

  • If you have been convicted of a criminal offence in your country of origin, it is usually very difficult, if not impossible, to immigrate to Canada. However, exceptions are made in some cases. A good lawyer is familiar with these exceptions and may be able to help you. Here are a few key things you need to consider when you decide to consult with a lawyer.

-What type of immigrant are you? There are several categories: skilled worker, business class, provincial nominee and family class.

-For refugee claims: do you qualify as a "convention refugee" or "person in need of protection"? Try to find a lawyer who specializes in a particular area.

-Do you have all the proper forms? Most immigrants need to complete several application forms that ask for personal and family information. Because you are hiring a lawyer, you will need to fill out an additional "Use of a Representative" form.

-How qualified is your lawyer? Before choosing one, ask about experience in immigration law and look for references.

-If you have trouble understanding English, look for a lawyer that can speak your language (many immigration law firms offer multi-lingual service).

Written by: Nureen Qureshi

JID - Editorial Team