The 1st week
Temporary Housing, Communications
and Medical insurance
Welcome to Canada!
Your flight is over and you have set foot on the Canadian land. Welcome to Canada!
But where will you spend your first night? If your relatives or friends have not prepared an accommodation or you have not booked yourselves a place to live before arriving, you should take care of this now. Usually newcomers use temporary accommodations after arrival and later they find a permanent residence. At the Pearson International Airport in terminals 2 and 3, there are kiosks called "Immigrant Reception and Information Services” (IRIS). Addresses of inexpensive hotels or dormitories are available in these kiosks, and their employees speak a variety of languages.
How to find low-cost temporary housing
The site https://settlement.org/ontario/housing/emergency-and-short-term-housing/short-term-housing/what-do-i-do-if-i-arrive-with-no-place-to-stay contains a detailed list of cheap rooms. You can also find announcements about renting apartments and rooms in your ethnic newspapers, for example, in Ontario call 905-672-3660. Although for you the most important factor of a temporary accommodation is its cost, you should still find out about other factors, such as cleanliness, safety, and its proximity to municipal transportation stops. In Toronto many newcomers choose accommodation around North York.
Home Phone. Once you have found temporary housing, you will need to acquire communications. The main device of communication is of course the phone. Connect your home phone with the right company. You will also need a telephone directory, which is provided free of charge. The cost of basic home telephone services is $20-25 for a month. For conducting long distance and overseas calls use phone cards which are sold in variety stores. There are a lot of phone booths in every city.
Cell phone. Now cell phones are very popular. You can carry it with you and call from any location. Some immigrants do not buy a home phone, preferring a cell phone.
Answering machine. In addition to a home phone, purchase an answering machine. Then if somebody calls you he/she will be able to leave messages in your absence. Many organizations use an answering machine which gives answers to some frequently asked questions and how to contact the right department or person.
Free calls. In Canada, it is possible to take advantage of free long distance calls. Such phone numbers start with numbers: 1-800, 1-866, 1-877, 1-888.
How not to get lost in a new city
In order to freely navigate in an unfamiliar place, buy a map of your city. Finding the place you need to is very convenient by the site www.mapquest.com.
Make a note. For inquiries, information retrieval, as well as for sending e-mails, you need an Internet, which you can find in the nearest library. In Toronto, there are about 100 libraries, so you will always find a library near your house. Internet in libraries is free.
Medical Insurance in Canada
During the first week, you should apply for a health card for medical services. In Ontario it covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). If you legally live in any city in Ontario, this card will provide you with access to a considerable quantity of medical services free of charge (dental services and medical drugs in Canada are not paid under OHIP). However, in Ontario, you have to wait three months after arrival to receive your OHIP card. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, refugees have the right to get an OHIP card right after arrival. You can find out if this exception applies to you by phoning 1-800-268-1154.
How to find the nearest OHIP office
To apply for your OHIP health card, you should visit your nearest OHIP office. In Ontario find its address by calling 416-327-4327, or at the site www.ontario.ca/en/services_for_residents/stel02_186323. The OHIP office address in North York is 4400 Dufferin Street, Unit A4-A5. Bring your immigrant card, a document proving that you live in Ontario and a piece of identification. Because the OHIP card has to have your photo on it, be ready to be photographed at the OHIP office for free. More information about getting a health card can be seen at site https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-ohip-and-get-health-card.
It is a good idea to immediately start a diary, where you make everyday notes and write down your everyday plans.