Moving to a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's a time of change from the familiar, and being prepared and knowledgeable about the first few things to attend to can go a long way.

“While moving your family across the world is not easy, establishing a routine can help you settle and integrate into life in Canada, setting you and your family up for success right from the beginning,” explains Ivy Chiu, senior director of cultural markets at RBC.

The first 100 days are important. Here are some tips on what to prioritize when you first arrive:

1. Make a visit to your local government service office to apply for important government-issued documents you need. These include a social insurance card, which you'll need to work or to apply for government programs and benefits; a health card that provides coverage for a range of services; and a driver's license. Learn more by visiting online at

2. The next step is finding healthcare providers including a family doctor in your community. While your health card allows you to access many services for free, not everything will be covered and you will also need to find what additional insurance coverage you might require.

3. Open your first Canadian bank account and start building credit history right away. Credit and credit history are needed in Canada for bigger purchases like a home or car, but may also be required for cell phone bills, rent and other monthly expenses. Additional information about banking for newcomers is available at

4. Start building a social network in your new community. There are lots of free services and community organizations for newcomers. You can even start researching before arrival to set up meetings and social events in advance.

5. Stay in touch with your roots by joining cultural associations. This familiarity may help with the transition to your new life and you will make friends along the way.


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