Preparing for Canadian Life
The excitement of receiving the permanent resident visa comes with doubt and anxiety. To relieve these, I started preparing for Canadian life by participating in the Planning for Canada program.
Planning for Canada, previously known as the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), offers free services to eligible newcomers before coming to Canada. They provide valuable information related to the move, settlement, and employment in Canada.
Here are the steps to help prepare for your move via Planning for Canada:
1. Register for the Planning for Canada services.
According to their website, Planning for Canada services are currently available in person in India and the Philippines or online world-wide, in English or French.
2. Attend the Group Orientation.
Learn about Canada, living in Canada, working in Canada, and becoming Canadian. Get to know participants to widen your professional and personal network.
3. Attend the Personalized Planning Session.
The facilitator will give information on settlement and employment specific to each person’s situation.
My output was a detailed list of action plans, resources, and contacts in Canada. This has also resulted in connections with immigrant-serving agencies. The screenshot that follows is part of the MAP (My Action Plan) created by the facilitator for me.
In a previous post, I mentioned that my eligibility was based on my experience as a college instructor. However, I have other transferable skills based on my education and industry experiences. These, plus my interests at the time of planning, were used to identify my short and long-term goals.
4. Connect with Canadian organizations identified during the planning session.
The facilitator will connect attendees with 1-2 advisors from Canadian organizations.
A few hours after the session, I received an email from a DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society representative. I was then able to set-up an appointment at DIVERSEcity before my departure to avail of services for newcomers.
A few days later, I received an email from a CIIP Vancouver advisor. From this contact, I learned about the Skills Connect for Immigrants program. Skills Connect helped me align my skills to the Canadian labour market. But my biggest takeaway from this program was the value of professional networking in Canada. Shortly after, I landed my first job through networking. As of this writing, the Welcome BC website states that the Skills Connect was replaced by Career Paths for Skilled Immigrant Program.
5. Complete steps that can be done while in the home country.
The facilitator will provide useful website links on various topics including:
- Bridging, Internship, Volunteering and Mentoring Programs to gain Canadian experience
- Job search tools and strategies
- Resume, cover letters, and thank you letters
- International credential evaluation
Having a solid settlement plan with the help of experts from Planning for Canada will surely help take away the doubt and anxiety of creating a new life. I hope you have fun preparing for Canadian life.