It has been 100 days since we arrived in Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. I won’t say that I am very much adjusted and that my family is already settled. And yes, there are still times that I wish I was home.
My husband and I are both working now, it may not be in the field of our expertise but for newly-arrived immigrants like us, it is a good start. I already met quite a number of people who are mostly Filipinos. Most of the people I met are new immigrants like me. You cannot really deny that the Filipino population here in Winnipeg is continuously growing.
I thought of coming out with the list that a new immigrant must do and/or helpful information that a new immigrant should know.
It is very important, that you have the basic information on some of the important things that you will need in finding a job and applying for government benefits that are available for you.
NOTE: Some of these information maybe obsolete or may changed in the future, always check the proper agency/ies to confirm.
Social Insurance Number (SIN) . The 9-digit number that you need to work in Canada and to avail the government services and benefits. Applying for a SIN is one of the first things that you should do as soon as you arrive. You can apply for your SIN at your nearest Service Canada point of service. In applying for your SIN, you must provide a primary document to the agency, for immigrants (permanent residents) you can present either your Permanent Resident Card (if already available); Confirmation of Permanent Residence AND visa counterfoil (attached to your passport) or Record of Landing.
Manitoba Health Card. To avail the health benefits or medical care, you must be able to present this card to any health institution. Manitoba Health issues a white paper card (with purple and red print)containing some of your and your family (spouse and children) personal information. The card also contains another 9-digit life time identification number or PHIN (Personal Health Identification Number). This card will not be automatically issued to immigrants even if you landed as permanent resident, one must register to Manitoba Health to be covered.
Entry Program. Entry program is an orientation program especially designed for new immigrants. It is a series of orientation classes that aims to inform immigrants about the way of life in Manitoba to help them adjust. This orientation discusses about law, employment, school system, health and getting around Manitoba. Again, you must register in this program to ENTRY Program. You will be required to present your PR Card or landing papers and MB Health Card upon registration.
Driver Licenses. If prior to moving to Canada you have held a Driver’s license, Autopac will determine the Class and Stage of licence you should hold in Manitoba. You must present your drivers license to Manitoba Public Insurance office so they can verify and determine your class in accordance to Manitoba’s Class License System.
Manitoba Child Benefit Program. This is an income supplement offered to Manitoba residents who have dependent children under the age of 18 and whose family income is below certain level and are receiving Canada Child Tax. A parent must submit an application to Manitoba Child Benefit to apply for this benefit.
Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). A tax-free monthly payment provide to eligible families to assist them with the cost of raising children under the age of 18. The amount of the Canada Child Tax Benefit is calculated according to the information provided on the Income Tax and Benefit Returns, payment is normally issued every 20th day of the month. New immigrants should complete an application form to avail this benefit.
Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). This benefit is also paid by Canada Revenue Agency. Unlike CCTB, UCCB is a fix amount of $100 monthly payment to families for with children under age 6 to help cover the cost of child care. This benefit is taxable, families receiving CCTB will automatically receive UCCB if they have eligible children.
Child Care Subsidy. This program is applicable for low income families, in order to qualify for child day care subsidies, the parents must show a need for child care and family income must be below a certain amount. Application for this subsidy should be forwarded to Child Care Subsidy Intake and Inquiry.
Bank Account. One of the first things that you would want to do when you arrive is to open an account. As we new immigrants know, most of us arrived here with our settlement funds with us – this is one of the requirements of a Provincial Nominee, right? As far as I know, both Royal Bank of Canada and Scotiabank has special accounts specifically design for new immigrants. Seeing a financial advisor is one of the good way of arranging your finances and they will be very helpful in providing you with the first steps of building your credit history. I can still clearly remember one of the first things that my my financial advisor told me “You are not existing in Canada if you do not have a debt and a credit history.”
Employment Assistance. The province has various agencies that offers program to help you find a job and prepare you for employment.