Newcomers To Canada Are Eligible For So Many Free Services & It's Not Hard To Sign Up
Here's how you can save money as you settle in.👇
Moving countries can be scary and if you're a newcomer to Canada, you'll probably know just how hard it is to start from scratch.
From looking for jobs and adjusting to the weather, to learning a new language and making new friends, there's a whole list of things you may just have to figure out – and that can be hard on anyone.
To help you out, the government, as well as some private organizations, actually have a lot of benefits and credits for those moving to Canada.
So, if you've just landed, try not to get overwhelmed! Here's where you can go if you need help settling in:
If you've arrived in the country as a permanent resident, the government has loads of beneficial settlement services that you can make use of.
These organizations sometimes play multiple roles and can guide newcomers on everything from finding the right place to live, to community events near you.
To find the programs available to you, simply scan through the list of free settlement services online and find one located close to you that offers the services you're looking for — whether you're looking for a job or need to enrol your children in school.
There are some agencies that are quite specific (for example, women-only or youth-only programs), so choose the one that meets your needs best.
One of the most important things for many newcomers to Canada is finding a job. More specifically, finding a job that is in the right field or industry.
Fortunately, there are loads of agencies that exist to help newcomers in Canada find jobs, as long as you are eligible to work in the country.
Acces Employment is one such example where you can sign up, get a guide and have workshops on interviews and creating a resume. Alongside offering job fairs and workshop sessions, this employment agency also partners with organizations that are actively hiring.
Apart from that, you can search for similar organizations depending on where you live.
Not feeling like you're ready to work just yet? The Federal Internship for Newcomers program (FIN) can help you gain temporary work experience and training that will prepare you to enter the Canadian workforce.
You could also try Career Edge, which connects eligible newcomers to employers for paid internships so that they can earn while getting valuable Canadian experience. Note that you must be a Permanent Resident or have an Open Work Permit to qualify for Career Edge internships.
Knowing how to understand English and/or French is extremely helpful if you live in Canada, especially if you're planning to enter the workforce.
If you're fluent in one and want to learn the other – or just want to generally brush up on your existing language skills – there are plenty of free classes you can take.
Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) is a great resource for those wanting help with these languages.
To enroll, you can complete an online self-assessment or get a formal language assessment at an organization that helps newcomers and then register for the appropriate level class.
These government-funded courses have flexible schedules and can be done full-time or part-time, in person or online, and some places also offer child care services on-site during your classes.
Health care in Canada is public, meaning that the system is funded through tax dollars. So, any Canadian citizen or permanent resident can apply for health insurance. Since health care falls under provincial jurisdiction, your insurance plan will depend on the province or territory you choose to settle in.
Coverage and services can vary between regions, but public health insurance across the country will cover the majority of health care costs. Further, emergency medical services are covered, even if you don't have a health card.
You do need to apply for a health card to access services in your province or territory, which is free to do online. However, some provinces have a waiting period of three months before the public insurance starts, so be prepared to plan accordingly.
Banks with newcomer programs
One of the things that might take newcomers by surprise when they move to Canada is that big banks actually charge you for opening a day-to-day account.
This fee is usually not very high, and it's waived if you have a certain threshold of cash in your accounts.
However, here's where being a newbie comes in handy. All of the big five banks in Canada – RBC, TD, BMO, CIBC and Scotiabank – offer newcomer promotions of some kind.
For example, several offer accounts with fees waived for a set period of time – usually six months to a year. Additional perks include no-fee international transactions,
What's more, these newcomer accounts can be tailored to your status in Canada, whether you're an international student or a permanent resident. Many of the banks also offer services in multiple languages so newcomers can feel confident when opening a Canadian bank account.
And, since you also need to start building your Canadian credit history and credit score, these programs are a great way to open your first credit card.
Okay so this isn't technically free but there are brands that give newcomers to Canada discounts, too.
This includes companies like Uber and HelloFresh that offer deals for first-time users in Canada.
Moreover, brands such as Adidas and H&M have reductions for those who sign up for their membership programs for the first time.
Finally, what's better than exploring your new country?
To help newcomers better explore their new home, Canoo – an app backed by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship – allows those new to Canada to visit over 1,400 destinations across the country for free.
This includes national parks, historic sites, science centres, museums, art galleries and more.
According to the app's website, you are eligible for Canoo if "you are over 18 and a newcomer to Canada within your first five years as a Permanent Resident, or you received your Canadian citizenship less than 12 months ago."
That's not a bad deal at all. Get out there and get exploring, newbies!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
This article has been updated since it was originally published on September 19, 2022.
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