Financial Checklist for Newcomers to Canada

Are you moving to Canada or planning to do so? Are you an immigrant looking for a financial checklist to guide you in the new country? Here you will get an answer to all your queries. We have compiled a detailed Financial Checklist for Newcomers in Canada.

Canada Immigration

Isn’t it fascinating to know that, as at 2019, Canada has the 8th largest immigrant population in the world? Nearly 1/5th of the Canada’s population is made up of foreigners. There is an interesting fact as to why many people love to move to Canada.

Let’s learn more about it!

The unemployment rates in Canada are record low. However, job vacancy rates are supremely high. This makes the Canadian government call out for people from overseas, mainly the developing nations, to migrate and to pursue their career in Canada, that will be beneficial to both the parties. In addition to this, Canada is well-known for its peaceful lifestyle, stable political and economic environment, sound healthcare facility and quality education. 

We have discussed all the sweet areas of moving to Canada. Let us now discuss the elephant in the room. 

Why a Financial Checklist is important?

It is not about Canada, but it is difficult for anyone to migrate to any other country. You might face a language barrier, climatic changes, homesickness, cultural shock etc. It is hard to fit in right away after moving. Financial insecurity is the most frightening of all the above. It is important that you set out a plan as to how you are going to manage and stabilize your finances in the first few months. Well, through this article, we have tried to prepare you, so that you will not be hit by any uncertainties.   

And moving to a new country brings with it its own set of challenges. So, having a financial checklist can prove beneficial. Don’t you think so?

Update: The federal government has announced that it wants to see 1.45 million new permanent residents in Canada in the next three years, including 500,000 people in 2025. And, that’s a fairly big number! Do you wish to be a part of it?

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So, are you working towards immigrating to Canada? If yes, you must have a financial checklist handy with you to help you settle down in the new country.

Financial Checklist for Newcomers to Canada

Here are few important points to consider while immigrating to Canada:

Before Arriving at Canada

You must keep note of the following things before arriving in Canada:

1. Visit the Official Website

Visit the official website of the city you are going to settle down in. Research about different places, rental properties, neighborhoods, amenities, and shortlist the ones that best sui

For example, if you are planning to move to Toronto, it has an official website: https://www.toronto.ca/. All other Canadian cities have such sites. It is important that you surf through this, to have an idea of renting apartment, proximity to your workplace or university, schools’ recreation etc.

2. Plan a Monthly Budget

Based on the city you are going to move to, chart down an estimated monthly budget plan and make sure you will have sufficient funds to meet them, especially in the first few months of moving in.

3. Research Banking Options

Decide which bank is best suited for your needs. Explore various banks and compare its interest rates, features, customer support, availability of branch in your area, availability of ATM machines in your area, fees, type of accounts offered etc.

Also, explore Best Investment Options for Newcomers to Canada

4. Arrange for Funds

Make sure you have sufficient proof of funds to validate your financial stability.

Exchange your country’s currency to Canadian Dollars and have them ready to be used as and when you arrive at Canada. For example, you might need it for the taxi ride from the airport to your residence.

Please note that if you are planning to bring physical money of $10,000 Canadian dollars or more or its equivalent in your county’s currency terms, you need to report it to Canada Border Services Agency. Physical money includes the following:

  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Bank draft
  • Money order
  • Shares, bonds, debentures, bills etc.
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If you are to take any precious jewellery, say gold, diamond etc, make sure you have a jewellery evaluation certificate ready.

Similarly, you might not be carrying few items with you, whereas, they will be shipped to you on a later stage. Make sure you keep a list of such items and their value.

5. Plan for Insurances

Although you will be eligible for a provincial government-sponsored medical plan after 90 days of entering into Canada. You will be uncovered for nearly 3 months. Make sure you have in place a Canadian visitors insurance.

After Arriving at Canada

You must be aware of the following points once you land in Canada:

1. Apply for SIN

As soon as you enter into Canada, make sure that you apply for your Social Insurance Number. It is important for you to get a job, open a bank account, file taxes, and receive government benefits. You require documents such as work permit, study permit, passport, driver’s license, proof of address etc. You can apply for your SIN both by mail and by visiting the Service Canada office branch that is closest to you. 

2. Apply for Health Insurance Card

Apply for a government-sponsored health insurance card. e.g. If you immigrate to the Province of Ontario, you will be issued OHIP or Ontario Health Insurance Plan Card.

3. Open a Bank Account

As discussed earlier, you must have narrowed down the bank you wish to opt for by the time you move in, visit the nearest branch and open an account. You may open a savings account or a chequing account or a students’ account. 

  • A chequing account is meant for day-to-day transactions such as paying bills and receiving salary. Its interest rate is low.
  • Whereas, a savings account is meant to park money for your emergencies and it offers a better interest rate than a chequing account.

You can scroll through the list of Best Banks for New Immigrants in Canada

4. Learn the Tax System

As a newcomer to Canada, you must be aware of its tax system. You will be charged indirect taxes along with your purchases. You must file direct charges for the salary or income that you receive. Learn which tax slip to use, what are all the tax deductions you claim, how to report your income, and how to file taxes. 

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5. Apply for Credit Card and Keep up a Good Credit Score

Credit cards are not entirely harmful. You must make sure that you use your credits wisely and make prompt payments. As a newcomer, some of the best rated credit cards are Neo secured card, Tangerine money-bank credit card, Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card, RBC cash back master card etc. 

Make sure you build a good credit score. A credit score is a three-digit number that speaks about your credit trustworthiness. Banks and other lending institutions check your credit score in order to approve your loan. In order to have a good credit score, make sure you pay your bills on time, use credit wisely, do not keep checking your credit score frequently and have a blend of loans. 

Not to miss out, Best Credit Cards for Newcomers in Canada

Financial Planning for Newcomers to Canada

The above points only include financial check points to keep in mind. However, as a newcomer to Canada, it is important that you have physical copies of your passport, visa, study permit, work permit, vaccination certificates, medical records, birth certificates, education certificate, drivers’ license etc., readily available. Keep soft copies of them in a pen drive or in your email ID. If the above-mentioned documents are in your regional language, make sure you have a translated copy in English or French. These documents are important for you to apply for your bank account, SIN, insurances, etc. seamlessly.

Planning your moves well-ahead gives you peace of mind and it will help you to blend into the new place with utmost ease.

Now that you have a complete Financial Checklist for Newcomers in Canada, this will surely make the new journey easier for you. Feel free to share any queries related to managing your finances and settling down in Canada.

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