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Getting Started in Administration: Crucial First Steps for Newcomers

As a freshly arrived immigrant in Toronto, the multitude of administrative tasks can seem overwhelming. But don't worry, we're here to guide you through these crucial first steps to establish your life in this dynamic city. In this article, we'll focus on the key administrative steps you need to take in the early days to settle in comfortably: obtaining your Social Insurance Number (SIN), Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage, opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone line, and exchanging your driver's license.



Obtaining your Social Insurance Number (SIN)


Getting your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a crucial step to kickstart your life in Canada as an immigrant. The SIN is necessary for working, paying taxes, and accessing various government services. Here's what you need to know to get your SIN in Toronto:

Where to apply: The Social Insurance Number is issued by Service Canada.

Application options:

  • Online: You can apply online, but the process can be lengthy, and there's usually no feedback within 10 days of application.

  • In-person: It's recommended to apply in person. However, appointments cannot be scheduled. Therefore, it's advisable to arrive at least 15 minutes before the chosen Service Canada center's opening time to avoid excessively long queues.

  • At Pearson Airport: If you arrive at Pearson Airport and speak to an immigration officer during office hours (Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm), you can apply for your SIN directly at the Service Canada Center at the airport. This can be an excellent way to save time and avoid additional travel.

Required documents: Make sure to have the following documents with you:

  • Your passport

  • Your work permit (visa)

By providing these documents and opting for the in-person application, you can obtain your Social Insurance Number on the same day, greatly facilitating the rest of the process.



Opening a bank account


Upon your arrival in Toronto as an immigrant, one of the crucial first tasks is opening a bank account. This step is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it will allow you to pay for certain services that are not accessible with a foreign card. Additionally, opening a bank account as soon as possible will enable you to start building your credit history in Canada, an important step for accessing certain forms of credit in the future.

To open a bank account in Toronto, thorough preparation is essential. Here are the steps to follow, based on the information provided:

Choosing the bank: Before arriving in Toronto, it's crucial to select the bank where you want to open your account. Make sure to have made your decision in advance by consulting the information provided about the various banks in Canada. We can assist you in this selection.

Making an appointment: You can open a bank account in person at a local branch of your chosen bank. It's recommended to make an appointment in advance to avoid unnecessary wait times. It may be helpful to explicitly mention to the bank that the appointment is for opening a bank account AND obtaining a credit card.

Preparing documents: Before the bank appointment, make sure to have all necessary documents ready: your passport, your work permit (visa), and your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Appointment process: The bank appointment to open your bank account and obtain a credit card is usually about an hour long. One of the most important aspects of negotiation will be obtaining a credit card with an adequate limit (minimum $2000, preferably $5000) to allow you to purchase plane tickets to return to your home country on your next vacation ;-)

By following these steps carefully, you'll be able to open a bank account and obtain a credit card in Toronto, allowing you to manage your finances effectively and facilitate local transactions.



Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)


Ontario's healthcare system is renowned for providing excellent medical coverage. To avail yourself of this coverage, you need to enroll in the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). You can do this by filling out an application online or by visiting a ServiceOntario center in person. Make sure to have the necessary documents with you, including your proof of residence in Ontario and proof of identity. We recommend not applying until you have permanent housing in Toronto.

Here's what you need to know to obtain the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in Toronto:

Appointment with Service Ontario: It's highly recommended to schedule an appointment with Service Ontario to apply for your OHIP. Appointments can be made online on the Service Ontario website, but it's important to note that they must be booked 1.5 months in advance to ensure availability.

Required documents: When you go to your appointment with Service Ontario, make sure to have all the required documents with you, including:

  • The application form for Ontario health insurance coverage (OHIP) that you can find on the Ontario website.

  • All supporting documents, including proof of Canadian citizenship or immigration status eligible for OHIP, proof of residence in Ontario, and proof of identity.

Application process: Once you've provided all the necessary documents, you'll be able to fill out the required forms and submit your application to get your OHIP card. After approval, you'll receive your OHIP card by mail at your registered address.

By obtaining your OHIP, you'll have access to essential healthcare services and can ensure peace of mind regarding health in Toronto. Make sure to schedule an appointment with Service Ontario as soon as possible to ensure you're covered when you need it.


Obtaining a mobile phone line


Having a mobile phone is not only essential for staying in touch with your family and friends but is also indispensable for providing a local Canadian phone number during your job searches.

Once you've found the offer that suits you, you can visit the operators' stores or explore their websites online.

Required documents:

  • Canadian credit card

  • Valid identification when making the purchase


Driver's License Exchange


If you come from an approved country (Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Isle of Man, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Taiwan, or the United States), you're eligible to exchange your driver's license for an Ontario driver's license without having to take an exam.

To do this, you'll need to provide the following documents:

  • Your passport

  • Your original and valid driver's license issued outside the province or country

  • Any original document justifying your driving experience in English or French. For France, this is the Résumé of Driving Information (RIR) from the driver's license.


If you have more than 2 years of driving experience, your driver's license will be exchanged for a full Class G Ontario driver's license. During your appointment, you'll need to take a vision test, pay applicable fees, and fill out an application form indicating how long you've been driving.


If you have less than 2 years of driving experience, your driver's license will be exchanged for a graduated G1/G2 Ontario driver's license. You'll need to wait until you have completed 2 full years of driving experience to take the Class G road test and obtain the full Class G Ontario driver's license. In the meantime, you can drive with your G1/G2 Ontario driver's license under certain conditions.


If you come from a country not on the approved list, driver's license exchange is not allowed. However, if you have more than 2 years of driving experience, you can directly apply for the full Class G driver's license. You'll need to pass a knowledge test on road rules and signs, as well as a vision test. After passing these tests, you'll need to take a Class G road test. If you fail the Class G road test, you'll need to take both the G2 and G tests.


If you have less than 2 years of driving experience, you can apply for the graduated G1/G2 driver's license in Ontario. You'll need to pass a knowledge test on road rules and signs, as well as a written test. After passing these tests, you'll need to take a G2 road test. After passing the G2 road test, you won't be able to immediately take the Class G road test. You'll need to wait until you have completed a full year of driving experience. During this waiting period, you can drive with your G1/G2 Ontario driver's license under certain conditions.


For more information on driving conditions with a G1/G2 license, please refer to the following link.



In conclusion, settling in Toronto as an immigrant involves several important administrative steps. By following these steps from the early days, you'll be able to establish a solid foundation for your new life. Remember to stay informed about the latest updates and administrative requirements by consulting the official websites of the relevant government agencies.

 

Simple Relocate is your relocation partner in Toronto. We can assist you in getting settled in Toronto, and provide a variety of other services to facilitate your move to Ontario.



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