What to do when you arrive in Canada - ICAN
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What to do when you arrive in Canada

What first?

Of course, you need a job and a place to live.

For work, be sure to see the resume sample on our Essential Guides (employment tab) and to follow us on social to join our free seminars or webinars.

Review our networking guide and check I/CAN jobs regularly (although this is a small site, there are a few gems that get posted here).  We also have corporate partners who regularly post jobs on our social channels.  We frequently post employment tips on our FB page.

For accommodation you will find major rental sites listed by province on our website. Keep in mind that getting your first apartment may be a challenge—Canadian landlords want to see Canadian references and Canadian credit checks which you will not have. It may be easier to go into an apartment where other Irish are already renting as they will have already negotiated credit checks etc. with the landlord. You can also consider sharing an apartment with Canadians. You need to persevere until you find a landlord who will accept your situation.  Consider working with a realtor (the landlord must absorb all fees).  See our Cost of Living guide for more insights.


There are several things to do right away upon arrival


  1. Apply for your Social Insurance Number (this can be done at a Service Canada kiosk). A ‘SIN’ allows you to work legally in Canada—you can only get this with a valid work permit. Take your work permit and passport to the nearest Service Canada office.  See here.
  2. Get a mobile phone with a Canadian number so that potential employers can contact you.
  3. Get a bank account (this will help you when interviewing for accommodation).
  4. Update your resume with your Canadian address and phone numbers. Canadian employers are not likely to reach out if your address and phone are not Canadian.
  5. Read our Coming to Canada: Expectations and Realities guide.
  6. Apply for a provincial photo ID card (so that you have government issued photo ID and do not have to carry your passport with you).  See here.
  7. Apply for your provincial health card. Each province has rules as to when you can apply for this.  See our Primary Health Care guide for more info. Provincial healthcare gives you access to doctors and hospital care.
  8. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for outreach & info in areas such as employment, social services, & immigration.
  9. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops and seminars.