Here’s a Simplified Moving Checklist to Toronto
You probably went out on a limb and took the time to successfully apply for a work visa, permanent residence, or Canadian citizenship, and it has finally paid off after a long wait. Now D-day is looming and it’s time to prepare for that move to Toronto.
Given the excitement and flurry of activity associated with such a move, it is likely that you might overlook or forget some vital aspects that need your utmost attention. Relocation is often not as smooth as it sounds from a preparation point of view, whether you are relocating alone or making the move with your family.
If you travel often, you probably are familiar with that nagging feeling at the back of your mind that you’ve forgotten something important, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
For this reason, we strongly advocate that you come up with a checklist of the things that you need to take with you as you move to Toronto in order to avoid some costly blunders.
To help you do it properly, we have compiled a list of some important things you will want to have in your moving checklist to Toronto and also what you would need while settling in in this city.
This needs no reminder, but you just want to make sure that your passport is top on the list of your checklist as this is a primary requirement for your journey to Toronto.
From the time that you receive your acceptance letter or working visa to Canada, you should make sure that your passport is in good working order. This means ensuring that your passport is valid enough to allow you to change your visa type if you plan to.
In case you do not have a passport (probably because you lost or misplaced it or it got stolen after obtaining your visa), then it is prudent to get the process of acquiring one started as soon as possible.
2. Visa and/or Work Permit Documentation
You have worked diligently and been patient through the work permit and/or visa documentation application process to the point that you have successfully received these coveted documents.
Remember, without a work permit, you may not be allowed to take up a job in Toronto. Similarly, without a visa, you won’t be allowed to enter the country.
So, don’t mess up your trip by losing it or forgetting it on your day of travel. If possible, have such documents bundled together with your passport in your checklist. This way, you know a quick glance at your checklist can help you double check all the crucial items.
3. Driver’s License
If driving yourself is going to be your primary means of commuting, then it will be more convenient for you to have your driving license when you land in Toronto.
Each province has different rules for getting a driver’s license in Canada, Ontario included. However, depending on which country you’re from, you may be pleasantly surprised that in Toronto you may be able to exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Canadian one without sitting in on any tests.
So, bring along your physical driving license, an international driving permit (IDP), a copy of your driving history from your country (you can obtain one from either of the following places: your insurance company, State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Public Safety (DPS), Department of Revenue (DOR), or Motor Vehicle Division (MVD)) and other documents required by the respective driving centers. It is worth noting that the required documentation should be in English or French.
That said, you should take time to become familiar with road signs in your new locale as well as the new driving conditions, like winter driving.
4. Bank Balance Letter
If your application for a Canadian workers permit was through immigration programs like the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trade Program, and Business Immigrant Program, you will need to show proof of funds.
Even though you may have shown this at the time of application, now that your application has gone through and you are bound to travel, you’ll still have to give proof that you have sufficient money to support yourself and your family in keeping with the requirement of the program that you applied under.
A show of your current bank balance letter will be expected by the Immigration Officer who will attend to you on arrival in Toronto.
5. Personal Documentation
Another checklist of your personal documentation would be pretty vital as it would help you not to miss these crucial documents. It’s recommended that you have a neat file where all this paperwork is filed in a perusable manner and easy to retrieve when you need an important document. This could be at the immigration department or during your settling in period in Toronto.
Such personal documents include but are not limited to birth certificates, marriage certificate, divorce papers, proof of qualifications, school records, and so forth.
6. Medical Certificate, Report(s), and so forth
Amongst the things that you will need to pay extra attention to before your traveling date is your medical exam. It’s important to know that if you will be traveling under permanent residency, then your family also will need to undergo a medical exam as well, even if they might not be traveling with you.
IRCC will have notified you with regard to when to go for the medical exam. This is usually within a 30-day window period from the time they send you precise instructions on how to get the medical exam done.
To get the medical exam done, you will need to find a doctor in your country who is a panel physician approved by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department. The tests are fairly routine. However, if further medical tests are required, your physician will be responsible for sending your results to IRCC.
Once the medical examination certificate has been relayed to IRCC, they will be the ones to decide on your eligibility. In case there’s a problem with your tests, they will contact you in writing.
At the end of your medical exam, the doctor will provide you with a document that confirms you have done the exam. If your doctor works with the paper system, he will provide you with a copy of the IMM 1017B upfront medical report form.
If your doctor works with eMedical, then an upfront medical notification print out will be provided.
This form should be attached to the application before submission to the visa office if the application is being done in person. Remember to upload that form before submitting your application online.
A vital point of note is that the medical exam results are valid for 12 months only. Should this period lapse before making your trip to Canada as a permanent resident, you may be required to have another exam.
7. List of your Items that are Arriving Later
When arranging for your items to be shipped to Toronto as part of your relocation process, be sure to receive an itemized inventory of the goods from the shipping company together with a valuation report.
In addition to the list being required by the immigration officials, it will make it so much easier to double check that everything has arrived when your shipment does get to Toronto.
Should there be a discrepancy on the list of the arrived items, it is easier to make an effective follow up than if you did not have this document.
8. Up-To-Date Résumé/Work References
Having an updated résumé is a good practice as you never know when new opportunities may come knocking on your door once you are in Toronto. This will save you the trouble of having to scurry around for details and work references later on when you need them. It never hurts to be ready to pounce on good opportunities. An updated résumé is part of the preparation.
Other items that are just as important to have on your checklist include:
- Investigate housing in Canada
- Attend to medical needs, including getting a prescription refill and note from a doctor if relevant
- Ending your lease and notifying your landlord
- Backing up computers and devices
- Decide on what you what to take with you on the plane
Settling in Toronto
Once you’ve finally arrived in Toronto, the settling in process will be next. It helps to know in advance some of the basic things that you need to get out of the way so that a semblance of order can take shape and you can comfortably transition to a normal although new routine.
Here is a moving to-do-list to Ontario complete the important things you will want to take care as soon as possible to make your settling process easier and fast.
1. Get your SIN
SIN is an acronym for Social Insurance Number in Toronto. People eligible to apply for a SIN number include permanent residents, some temporary residents, Canadian citizens, and some refugee claimants.
You can apply for your SIN through a settlement agency near you, download the application form online, or get it at a Service Canada Center.
If you have all the documents with you, it is possible to get the SIN number the very same day you apply for it, particularly if you are using a Service Canada Center.
When applying for the SIN number as a permanent resident, the required documents will include:
- Permanent resident card
- Visa counterfoil in foreign passport a well as proof of permanent residency
- Single journey document for resettlement to Canada
Bear in mind that the documents required must be originals. No photocopies.
2. Get a Bank Account
Opening an account with a bank in Toronto is a very straight and quick affair. You would have to visit the bank of your choice personally with the relevant documents. As a permanent resident, an original ID would be required. Interest-bearing accounts and Registered Retirement Savings Plan (PRSP) will require that you provide your SIN number.
3. Cell Phone Plan
It would not make sense to retain the cell phone sim card from your native country as the roaming charges would be simply prohibitive. However, with the numerous mobile phone companies serving Toronto, you will be spoilt for choice on what to settle. Always asses your calling needs before buying into a plan in order to get the best deal possible.
4. Apartment Search
Asking around from friends, checking out local listings, or seeking the help of a local real estate agent regarding apartments that would suit your budget and style is a good place to start. They would most likely be able to point in the right direction on neighborhoods to consider. If you are a busy executive with family and time constraints, you may opt to use a settling service such a Relo-To to help you get things going at a faster and more efficient pace.
Because you are not only switching countries, but also your neighborhood, don’t forget to prepare a moving address change list to Ontario as well. This is essential as it will let the relevant people know of your new address.
5. Medical Insurance
Once you’ve obtained your work visa, you will need to register with the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) in order to get a health card. Toronto is part of Ontario.
To qualify for OHIP, the following is required:
- Physical presence in Ontario for over six months in a year
- Be physically in the province for the first 183 days since you began residing in Ontario
- Make Ontario your primary home
You are also eligible for OHIP if you have applied for permanent residency, the IRCC has approved your application, or you have a valid Ontario work permit and have been working full time for an Ontario employer for the last six months.
After applying for your healthcare card through OHIP, you can expect it to take approximately 3 months before it is mailed by post to an address that you have provided. Once you receive the card, you will be able to enjoy the perks of public health insurance.
In the interim, i.e., before you receive your care card, it is prudent to acquire some sort of private health insurance cover.
In general, the process of relocation can look deceptively easy before you begin. But once it is underway, you will need to keep tabs on it and ensure that you provide everything that is required of you by the IRCC department and also Ontario province.
Basically, once your visa application is accepted, it would be best if you start to keep a detailed moving checklist to Toronto in anticipation of actioning the most important things on the lead up to your travel day. This will ensure that you hit this city running once you land and that the transition to your new locale is even smoother.