AFTER YOU ARRIVE IN CANADA 2018-04-16T07:57:44+00:00

Open a Bank Account

A bank account makes it easier to manage your money and keep it safe.

You can open a bank account even if you don’t have an address, a job or money to put in the account right away.

To open an account:

  1. find at least two pieces of acceptable, original identification (the bank will not accept photocopies)
  2. select the bank
  3. go to the bank in person
  4. tell them you’d like to open a new account

Once the account is opened, make sure to request a cheque book. You may need them later to put a deposit on a home or pay rent.


You can choose to rent, buy a home or find emergency housing until you can find a more permanent place to live.
Emergency housing

If you need help finding emergency housing, visit either:

  2. The Housing Help Association of Ontario
  3. By contacting Real Estate Agent Tanza James by phone at 647-629-2343 or email:

Finding a Job

There are many government-funded programs, community centers and settlement agencies that can help you:

  • find work
  • improve your resume and interviewing skills
  • gain the Canadian experience and skills you need to succeed
  • Employment Agency for direct access to job opportunities in Canada

Contact us to learn about our Select Employment Program (SEP) today:
Select Employment
1200 Markham Rd, Suite 222
Toronto, ON, M1H 3C3
Tel #: 416-751-0777
Fax #: 416-751-7070

Enroll Your Children in School

In Ontario:

  • all children between the ages of 6-18 must attend school (either a publicly-funded, private or home school)
  • most children can attend a publicly-funded school for free regardless of their immigration status or the status of their parents (contact your local school board for more specific information)
  • private schools charge a fee or tuition to attend

Public schools

The publicly-funded education system is broken down into three stages:

    1. Elementary school
      • choice of English, French and/or Catholic education
      • typically begins in kindergarten and ends in Grade 8
      • students will:
        • learn and understand the foundations of reading, writing and math
    2. Secondary school
      • choice of English, French and/or Catholic education
      • typically begins in Grade 9 and ends in Grade 12
      • students will:
        • focus on their interests and prepare for graduation and beyond
    3. Post-secondary school
      • for college, university and post-graduate students of all ages
      • you must pay for your tuition and books but you can apply for grants and loans to help you pay for university or college through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)

Private schools

The government does not pay for private schooling. You must pay for that on your own.

Finding Childcare

In Ontario, there are 2 types of child care available to you:

  1. Licensed – regulated by the government
  2. Unlicensed – not regulated by the government

There may be waitlists for licensed child care spaces, so start searching as soon as possible.

Getting Healthcare

OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) is Ontario’s health care plan. Through OHIP, the province pays for many of the health services you may need.

You need to apply and, once you’re approved, you’ll get an Ontario health card which proves you’re covered by OHIP. You’ll need to show your health care every time you see your doctor, visit an emergency room, have a medical test or go for surgery.

It can take up to three months for your OHIP coverage to begin after you’ve been approved. During this time, you may want to consider buying private health insurance.

To apply:

  1. get an application form:
    • online
    • or from your local Service Ontario OHIP Office
  2. collect all of the documents you need
  3. fill out the form and deliver it in-person to your local Service Ontario OHIP Office

It can take up to three months for your OHIP coverage to begin after you’ve been approved.

Getting a Driver’s Licence

If you already have a valid driver’s licence from another province, state or country, you can use that licence for 60 days. After 60 days, you need to switch to an Ontario driver’s licence.

Apply to exchange an out-of-province licence.

If you do not have a valid driver’s licence but want to drive in the province you must be at least 16 years old and have an Ontario driver’s licence. Once you pass an eye test and a written test about the rules of the road, you can apply for:

  1. a G class licence, if you want to drive a car, van and/or small truck
  2. an M class licence, if you want to ride a motorcycle, motor scooter and/or moped


Public Transportation

Public transportation is available in most cities and regions across the province. You can choose from:

  • local or regional buses
  • transportation services for people with disabilities
  • trains
  • private coach buses
  • streetcars and/or subways (in Toronto)

You have to pay for most public transportation in the province. The price of the fare can be different depending on your age, location and destination.

School transportation

Contact your local school board if you need to arrange transportation, to and from school, for your children.

Who to Call During an Emergency

If this is an emergency, call 911.

Ontario has an emergency preparedness system in place to alert people about:

    • winter storms
    • thunderstorms
    • forest fires
    • tornadoes
    • floods
    • extreme heat
    • nuclear emergencies
    • health outbreaks
    • earthquakes

Sign up for email and text alerts during an emergency.