Guidelines

Due to the fact that most of us here are from Winnipeg, the guidelines will be based mainly on experiences of people living in Manitoba (MB). The advice will be helpful to anyone, though, no matter where you’re going to live. The guidelines will also be continuously updated with information from both MB and other provinces.

flat

Renting a flat/room – what to pay attention to:

  • Before you decide to rent a flat/room, it’s worth checking if there are no bugs in it, which is quite a common issue in Winnipeg, unfortunately. More about it here.

„The blacklist” is available on the „THE BEDBUG REGISTRY” site: 

  • Before you get the flat keys, you need to check thoroughly if it’s clean. You need to report each stain, every tiny whole in the wall, broken lamp. It’s also a good practice to move the fridge and oven to check if it’s also clean behind them. When you move out, the person dealing with rented flats also checks if the flat is clean – if it’s not, the money to clean it will be deducted from your deposit. 
car

Buying a car

  • When buying a car from a private person, you need to add a provincial tax to the price and you will pay it when registering the car. When buying the car from the dealer, there is both the state and provincial tax added to the price and both are payable to the dealer. 
  • I don’t recommend using the services of people advertising in kijiji saying they will help with purchasing a car (Chris’s subjective opinion – it was a bad experience for him).

A car accident

  • If you take part in a car accident, you need to take a picture of the driver’s driving licence and their car’s documents (registration etc.). It’s also worth remembering the time and place of the accident since you will need this information when reporting damage in MPI (in MB) [if you take pics with a smartphone, the location, together with date and time are usually saved in the picture’s details anyway].         

    Any damage needs to be reported to the insurance company. If the car can still be driven, we get an appointment for the damage assessment. The car needs to be clean (at least in the part that needs to be examined). The expert will estimate the damage and you will get documents allowing for the car repair at any car service. The whole process is cashless (MPI pays for the repair directly to the company you’ve chosen). If any car part had had any previous damages, they will also be included in the estimate but you will need to pay for them yuorself.

    If the car cannot be driven, MPI (in MB) sends a tow truck and you will receive expert’s opinion by phone. It’s worth to have the “substitute car” option available because then, when you report the damage and get the case number, you can quote this number at any car rental and rent a car in a cashless way. You will need a credit card (apart from your driver’s licence).

    When reporting an accident, you’ll be asked if you had your glasses damaged (MPI will refund the new ones), if there was a child car seat there (regardless if there was a crash and it’s broken or if it was just a minor accident and the car seat looks ok, it needs to be immediately replaced and you need to bring the old seat, together with the receipt, to the MPI. The cost of the new car seat will be refinded to you.). If you or any person accompanying you during the accident had any injuries, you will be redirected to another person who will assess your state and you will be given another case number. You can visit a physiotherapist and thanks to this number you will have a therapy cashlessly (commuting to them can also be refunded by MPI but we will need to prove all expenses in the end).

    In case of a major injury that doesn’t allow you to work, you need to visit a doctor asap and get a doctor’s note. If you miss 8 days of work and are on a sick leave, MPI starts paying you 90% of your daily rate for every missed workday (the leave needs to be uniterrupted).

Car insurance

Car insurance, same as other matters connected with your car, is administered by MPI (in MB). In order to register a car “for good”, you will need a so-called “safety” so an up-to-date car check. The insurance cost is around C$130-190 per month (almost twice this price in ON).

When buying a car privately, you can delay paying the state tax for the car purchase. There is a possibility of having a temporary car registration, a so-called “temporary permit”. You don’t have to pay the tax then but the monthly costs of car insurance are slightly higher. One person can have max 3 temporary permits per year. You can choose the term of the permit yourself (from a couple days to 30 days). That means that one person can use a temporary permit for a maximum of 90 days in a year. You don’t have registration plates then but only a piece of paper on the window.

Immigration Possibilities

If you’d like to move to Canada permanently or just for work but you don’t know where to start, it’s good to look into below options (the question whether it’s good to migrate and pros&cons of such a move will be discussed in another post):

1. Work permit (WP)

** LMIA – more here

a) What’s your profession? If you’re a truck driver, a mechanic or have many years of experience in roofing, then finding an employer who already has an LMIA or is willing to apply for one is not such a big challenge and you really have a good chance of finding such an employer. It’s also the quickest and the easiest way to get to Canada, especially for families. In general, it’s really hard (or close to impossible) to find an employer who would fulfill the LMIA requirements and be willing to go for it for a person they don’t know as they would need to prove to officers that they would pay you at least the average rate in Canada, that they would hire you in full-time for a min. of 1 year, that they weren’t able to find any Canadian citizen or PR to do this job for at least 4 weeks and, on top of that, who would be willing to pay the fee of 1,000 CAD for the very application.
b) It’s also a chance to stay longer in Canada once you’re already here – once you’ve worked some time for some employer, they may agree to apply for an LMIA to help you obtain a new WP.

** Express Entry – more here

a) It’s a system having a couple of programs. One needs to prove their professional experience (letters of recommendation etc.), age, education (ECA needed), language level (IELTS, CELPIP or TEF needed) etc. After getting a minimum of 477 points in the CRS system (it’s not a steady number, it changes depending on a couple of factors and this number is the one from 02/08/2017), you have a chance to be elected in the PR “competition” and you come to Canada already as a PR – it’s another very good option but also not the easiest one. The score can be improved mainly by working on one’s English and/or French (and improving the exam results) and by increasing one’s education level.
b) The score can also be improved thanks to provincial programs.

** International Experience Canada – more here

a) IEC WH is one of the most popular ways of obtaining a WP and coming to Canada BUT it’s only available to citizens of the 33 countries with which Canada has bilateral agreement regarding youth mobility. Here the only requirement is actually the applicant’s age (18-30 or 18-35 inclusively, depending on the country). This year (2017) the numbers of applicants are a bit higher than last year and in many countries the chances of being drawn in the lottery are low or very low in many cases. The WP allows you to work almost everywhere in Canada but of course some occupations require additional approvals/documents to perform the job in Canada. WP is issued for a year or two years, depending on the country again and there is no way of prolonging it.
b) IEC YP is as above but one needs to have a job offer or a work contract.
c) IEC Co-op is just like a) but one needs to be a student and have a job offer or a confirmation of internship placement.
NOTE: All of the above are very country specific and depend on the particular agreements between each country and Canada so ALWAYS check all the information about the program you’re considering. More detailed information is available here.

** Study – more here

If you study in Canada, you have a possibility of working up to 20 h/week off-campus (within your study permit). After you graduate, you can apply for a post-graduation work permit. This work permit can be for 1-3 years – its length depends on how long you studied. The study period needs to be for a min. of 12 months to get the study permit with the possibility of working off-campus.

2. If you’ve come to Canada through IEC and are thinking of staying longer than the duration of your initial WP, you may consider these:

a) LMIA
b) EE
c) Applying to one of the PNP programs – see below
d) Coming back to your country and returning to Canada on a different type of IEC after the period of time required inbetween (NOTE: many countries do not allow more than one participation so check the link above again)
e) or applying to study in Canada (of course provided that you fulfill the requirements).

3. Which province shall I choose? Why is it such an important decision? 

PNP – more here

Thanks to this program you can receive an additional 600 points in EE. Each province has its own PNP program and each of these programs has different requirements. I will present only some major differences between some provinces. Remember that your IEC WP is for exactly 12 (or 24) months.

a) Ontario – as of Feb 19th, 2017, its PNP program is to open next week. This PNP is highly competitive and seats disappear fast. If you don’t get Ontario PNP, the only option to extend your stay is to have an LMIA (to continue working) or try to have a visitor visa (no permission to work).
b) Saskatchewan – the PNP program started January 4th, 2017 and all 10k nominations have already been given so there is no more chance this year to get PNP in one of the 2 programs: 1) where the main criteria are having a WP and a job offer (5k nominations) and 2) where the requirement was to have worked min. 6 months full-time for one employer and having a job offer confirming that they wish to continue hiring us (5k nominations). There are also 1.5k seats available for people performing one of the jobs listed here.
c) Alberta – it’s still possible to apply for PNP, having only the job offer (and fulfilling the other requirements).
d) British Columbia – the biggest number of applicants per seats available in the whole PNP program but it’s still open. Apart from some occupations, it’s only 9 months of work there needed to be able to apply to PNP.
e) Manitoba – there are new regulations to come in force in April 2017 but as for today it’s 6 months of work experience there that qualifies you to apply and the program is still open.

 

4. Monthly expenses

If one compares SK and MB to BC and ON, then the latter ones can easily have monthly expenses even up to 2k CAD higher (depending on the city we wish to reside in, of course), as well as house prices can be 2-3 times higher. Links needed to compare prices and a sample calculation of monthly expenses can be found here in the tab Canada->Life (or just click here).

 

5. Health care 

It’s a very important point, especially when someone is planning to come with their whole family. Each province has its own regulations specifying who can have insurance. More specific info can be found in provinces’ info websites. For example:
a) ON – many people say that health care is not applicable to people coming on IEC.
b) BC – health care is available only after 3 months of work; it’s the employer notifying the proper office and we receive the card by post.
c) MB – health care is available from the first day after arriving to MB and it covers both us and all our dependents coming with us under the condition that at least one person in the family has a WP or study permit valid for at least 6 months.

 

It’s worth noting, especially when it comes to IT, that it’s not Europe and you don’t get jobs here immediately (of course it could happen but usually it takes some 1-3 months). The best way is to meet as many people as possible and inform each newly-met person about your job seeking. It’s also worth remembering that in some places it’s a bit harder for a woman to find a full-time job, whereas in other places it may be quite the opposite.

Taking all the above into account, you need to get really well prepared for the move so as to decrease the number of surprises to the minimum, and it’s best to think of permanent residence way before leaving your home country and  before deciding where exactly to go. 

We also recommend to have some backup plans, including the one of coming back home. And not to burn one’s bridges. Due to the fact that finding a job is not the easiest, it’s good to have funds to survive for at least 6 months. Some cities would not require a car as their public transport is quite sufficient. But in some places (like Winnipeg) having a car may be necessary to get a job as the workplace’s nearest bus stop may be a 30-min walk away in the summer (it matters that it’s summer because in winter, when it’s -30C and we’re wearing a lot of layers, we will not walk that fast).