Pathway for Economic Class Newcomers
- See also: Pathway for Refugee Claimants
- Link up the boxes with the resources below
- Discuss flashanimationalising this
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|Upon arrival & first few weeks|
Pre-Arrival (online) Social Networks
Online Social Networks
Online Information and Resources
First Days in Canada - Orientation Package
Although newcomer orientation can be provided in many different formats, the contents of it are often similar. These are the most common topics:
Here is an example of a Newcomer Orientation guide from Settlement.org:
First Three Months Health Coverage
Newcomers to Canada do not receive health coverage (OHIP) for the first 3 months after arrival in Ontario. However, newcomers are required to have private insurance to cover their health care in the event of an accident or a hospital stay. If you require a doctor during this time, you may visit a 'Walk-in Clinic' or make an appointment with a doctor who is accepting new patients (both these options will accept private health care insurance) See below for private health care insurance options.
Another option is to visit your local 'Community Health Centre' (CHC).
Community Health Centres
Community Health Centres (CHCs) are non-profit community-based agencies. They are funded to provide support to their local neighbourhood including providing services for people without OHIP (they have strict geographic boundaries and will only be able to provide service to those living in their catchment area). CHC's are governed by a board of directors which includes local residents and professionals. Besides primary care (health care provided by doctors and nurses) they also provide community health care - programs and education on preventative health care, nutrition and healthy eating, pre and post natal care, education and employment programs. They also offer 3 months free health care for newcomers, provided they have staff and time availability.(Some other conditions apply - please call for details). Community Health Centres do not provide emergency care or 'walk-in' services.
Private Health Insurance
SIN (Social Insurance Number) Card Application
What is it?
When you are in Canada or the U.S., you can call Tourism Ontario at 1-800-ONTARIO (1-800-668-2746). Tourism Ontario can help you to find a room and make a reservation. This service is free.
Bed and Breakfast
Housing Help Centres
(non-profit agencies will help you find housing)
Click here for a list of all the Housing Help Centres in Toronto
|First six months|
Settlement or Newcomer info Centre
Canadian Banking System
Canada has one of the safest banking systems in the world. There are 22 domestic banks in operation. Below is the list of the "Big Five Canadian Banks" in order from largest to smallest, these 5 banks plus the Bank of Canada account for 90% of the assests of the Canadian banking business. There are other banks in operation in Canada (78 in total, including American, European and other international banks). The Canadian Bankers Association website has lots of information about understanding credit, savings and investing, small business loans and more. Click on http://www.cba.ca
Opening a Personal Bank Account: Understanding Your Rights
Under Canadian law, you have the right to open a personal bank account even if:
Exceptions: The bank can refuse to open an account for you if they suspect you have committed a crime related to any bank, if you harass or threaten a bank employee, or if you show false identification.
To open an account, you have to:
You must use original ID, not photocopies.
For more information, call the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) toll free at: 1-866-461-3222.
Income Tax System
Financial literacy is a program which provides youth, newcomers, women and persons with disabilities access to current and relevant information that leads to better understanding of money management skills in peoples’ daily lives. The ability to make informed financial decisions is essential for basic functioning in Canadian society as in all countries with complex financial systems. These decisions range from simple daily spending and budgeting, to choice of insurance, banking or investment products, to saving for major life events like retirement and education, or purchases like a home. These individual and household decisions and behaviors have profound impacts on the financial security, well being and inclusion of individuals and families.
Financial literacy workshops cover over 40 financial topics including Budgeting 101: How to effectively manage the money you have, Credit and You: Learning about credit and how to use it wisely and Banking Services in Canada: Understanding the basics.
Financial Literacy workshops are available at select United Way Toronto membership agencies, which offer them to agency recipients. They are open to all low-income individuals who require assistance with their finances. All workshops are free.
To find out which agencies offer financial literacy workshops, call 211 or visit 211Toronto website
Toronto Public Library
Community Recreation Centres
The TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) is the public transit for the City of Toronto. The TTC includes buses, streetcars and the subway.
Some tips for using the TTC:
For more information, routes and fares go to the TTC website: http://www.ttc.ca or contact TTC Customer Information office from 8am- 6pm (except statutory holidays) at 416-393-4636.
Thrift Stores (second hand/used merchandise)
A foreign driver's licence is valid for 60 days after you arrive in Canada. The length of time you have been driving and the country or province you may have come from affect the process of getting a driver's licence. To apply for a licence, you must show your valid foreign licence, pass a written test of your knowledge of Ontario's traffic rules, pass a vision test and pay the fees. You must also provide the original documents that confirm your identity and date of birth. You should visit a Driver Examination Centre first.
There are only 4 Driver Examination Centres in Toronto:
Driver and Vehicle Licensing
Newcomers who bring a car or truck from another country have 30 days to register their vehicles and get Ontario licence plates and vehicle permits. Visit one of the Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices.
Rights and Responsibilities
The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) is the law that governs the relationship between most property owners and tenants. Once you have found the right place for you and your family, it is recommended that you sign a lease. A lease is a legal agreement between you and the landlords. It usually indicates the length of tenancy, the amount of rent and the terms of the rental relationship, like whether the utilities are included in the rent, or if the property owner will provide an air-conditioner. Make sure you read and understand every word. If you don't understand it, you can call the Tenant Hotline at 416-921-9494 for help.
As a tenant, you:
As a tenant, you have the right to:
For more information visit .
Consumer Rights are protected by the Consumer Protection Act (2002). According to the Act:
For more information visit Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services website.
Apply for Tax Benefits
Canada Child Tax Benefit
If you have children under 18, the Government of Canada may be able to help you with some of the costs of raising them. This monthly tax-free payment is called the Canada Child Tax Benefit. The amount of the benefit is based on several factors, such as your family income, the number of children you have and their ages, and your province or territory of residence.
The GST is a tax that you pay on most goods and services sold or provided in Canada. In Ontario the GST has been blended with the provincial sales tax and is called the HST. The GST/HST credit helps individuals and families with low or modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay.
Permanent Housing (Market and Subsidized)
If you need assistance finding permanent housing, you can visit your local Housing Help Centre. There are nine Housing Help Centres in Toronto - each with a defined catchment area. Click here to find a location near you.
The East York Housing Help Centre has developed a website with lots of information on finding housing and other resources. You can find them here
Subsidized housing is housing where the amount of rent paid is a percentage of the tenants’ income, not the value of the unit. This is called Rent Geared-to-Income (RGI). Tenants pay 30% of their income towards rent. For example, if the family’s total monthly income is $2000 – they will pay $600 rent for a unit. The remaining amount of the rent is subsidized by the Province of Ontario through the City of Toronto to a number of housing providers who manage the properties. The largest organization of subsidized housing is the Toronto Community Housing Corporation with over 164,000 tenants. There is a long waiting list for RGI housing in Toronto. RGI units are located in many different types of non-profit housing. To apply, go to Housing Connections. If you need assistance, please visit a Housing Help Centre and they can assist you in filling out the form. For more information, check this page.
Market housing is housing that is owned by an individual or company who rents out units or rooms for profit. The rent for these units are determined by the market and decided by the landlord (owner). Once you are a tenant in a unit - the landlord can raise the rent only by the amount determined by the province. However, when a unit is empty - the landlord can determine any amount to charge - whatever a tenant is willing to pay. There are many websites that list units for rent - check this page for a list of websites.
Co-operative (Co-Op) Housing
Co-ops are non-profit housing units that contain both market and subsidized units. The building is run and managed by the tenants who live there and the rent is determined by the residents. Rents are usually cheaper in these buildings as the charge is enough only to cover the costs plus a little extra for a contingency fund. Any extra money at the end of the year is put back into the building for upgrades or repairs. The co-op is governed by a board of directors elected by the residents and all building operations is determined by the residents. Each co-op is an individual entity and therefore applications must be made to the individual co-op. Most co-ops have very long waiting lists. Click here for a list of Co-ops in Toronto Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto.
Family Resource Programs
Family support programs are community-based organizations working with children, families and caregivers to enhance strengths, to build capacities and to promote healthy development.
Family support programs deliver a range of services guided by principles that focus on building supportive relationships, facilitating growth, respecting diversity and furthering community development.
Services are flexible, accessible and offered in an informal atmosphere. These services may be provided in partnership with other groups.
Family support services include: child development, community development, community outreach, counseling and mediation, drop-in programs, early learning and care, educational upgrading, employment assistance, family literacy, food and nutrition support, parent and caregiver support, parent education, peer contact and mutual support, play and recreation, promotion of health and safety, referrals to other resources and toy lending
Family Resource Programs in Toronto East
Develop Community Connections
Places of Worship
Ontario Works program provides financial assistance to residents without income. Financial assistance includes money for food, shelter, clothing and other household costs for people who meet the financial and program criteria. You can apply for Ontario Works online any time:
or by telephone:
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
The Ontario Disability Support Program helps people with disabilities who are in financial need pay for living expenses, like food and housing. You can visit, call or write to your local Ontario Disability Support Program office for information about the program.
For OW and ODSP rates:
Employment insurance provides temporary financial assistance for unemployed Canadians while they look for a job. Employment insurance may be available to people who are on maternal, parental, sickness and compassionate care leave from their work.
Old Age Security Program (OAS)
Old Age security Program provides seniors with a modest pension at age 65 if they have lived in Canada for at least 10 years."
Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The Guaranteed Income Supplement provides additional money, on top of the Old Age Security pension, to low-income seniors living in Canada."
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides contributors and their families with retirement, disability, survivor, death and children’s benefits. "
Permanent residents must meet a residency obligation, which means that they must live in Canada for at least 730 days (two years) in any five-year period or they can lose their status. These 730 days do not have to be consecutive.
To meet the obligation, you must be physically present in Canada unless you are outside the country for one of the following reasons:
No matter how long you have lived in Canada, you can lose your permanent resident status and be required to leave Canada for any of the following reasons:
If you are deported from Canada, your dependent children who are not Canadian citizens may also have to leave.
Elementary School Ages 4-13 (Kindergarten to Grade 8)
Secondary School Ages 14-17 (Grades 9-12)
Before you proceed with your credential assessment, determine the purpose of the assessment.
Do you wish to go to school - continue or upgrade your education? If so, contact the admissions office or the department of the university or college you are applying to obtain information on credential assessment. Or is it for employment purposes?"
Here are a list of assessment centres:
Continuing education are courses, seminars and workshops that let you develop your knowledge and skills in a specific area. Continuing education courses are offered to adults in the community by local school boards, colleges and universities. Some continuing education courses offer a certificate at the end of the individual course or at the and of a course series.
Education Loans (OSAP)
Apprenticeship is a combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction under the supervision of a trade professional in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled trade.
After completing both the classroom and the on-the-job training, apprentices can receive journeyperson certification or a certificate of qualification, allowing them to earn a higher wage and work anywhere in Canada. Depending on the trade, it takes about 2 to 5 years as an apprentice to become a certified journeyperson. About 80% of the training is in the workplace; the rest is at a training institution.
Over 200 apprenticeship training programs are currently available across Canada. Each province and territory has its own training and certification policies and its own list of designated apprenticeship programs. For more information visit Pathways to Apprenticeship Ontario website
Register children in school
Elementary School Ages 4-13 (Kindergarten to Grade 8)
Secondary School Ages 14-17 (Grades 9-12)
Municipal Child Care Centres in Toronto East
Other Child Care
Home Child Care Providers
Child Care Fee Subsidy
Child care fee subsidy helps families with the cost of child care. Fee subsidy is available on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a very long waiting list so apply as early as possible.
Health Care System
In Ontario, the government-run health plan is called the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Most basic and emergency health care services are covered by OHIP.
What health services does OHIP cover?
There are some services that OHIP does not pay for. These are services that are not medically needed, such as cosmetic surgery.
Travel costs: if you live in northern Ontario and must travel long distances for specialty medical care, OHIP may pay some travel costs.
Talk to a health care professional to find out if a procedure or treatment is covered by OHIP. You can also contact the Ministry of Health INFOline: In Ontario (toll free): 1-800-268-1154 In Toronto: 416-314-5518 TTY: 1-800-387-5559
If you travel outside of Ontario or Canada OHIP may cover some costs.
Community Health Centres
Community Health Centres (CHCs) are non-profit community-based agencies. They are funded to provide support to their local neighbourhood including providing services for people without OHIP. They offer 3 months free health care for newcomers - some conditions apply - please call for details)
OHIP (after 3 months)
Newcomers can apply for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) 3 months after their arrival in Canada.
Application form and required supplementary documents:
The College of Physicians and Surgeons has a "doctors search" service.
You can also register with Health Care Connect
OHIP does not pay for regular visits to a dentist. OHIP only pays for some dental surgery including fractures or medically necessary jaw reconstruction when done in hospital.
Dental care is very expensive. Many people who work full-time have a dental plan or dental benefits paid by their employer. This is an insurance to pay for dental care and each insurance plan is different.
Toronto Public Health provides free dental care for seniors and children. Call 416-338-7442 for more information.
Low cost dental care is also provided by education institutions where services are provided by dentistry or dental hygiene students:
All school age children must have up to date immunizations before they register for school.
The Toronto Public Health website has information on immunization schedules, vaccine fact sheets and immunization and pregnancy.
For more information call 416-392-1250
Interpreters are available Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30
Canada's Labour Market
Job Search Support/Workshops
Many community agencies have employment services for newcomers to Toronto. Many of these services are free or low-cost.
Job Search Workshop for Newcomers (JSW)
Job Search Workshops are condensed three- or four-day workshops for newcomers who are legally entitled to work in Canada. They focus on job search techniques and on accessing labour market information.
Employment Resource Centres
Getting Canadian Work Experience
Bridging programs help internationally trained professionals and tradespeople access to their professions in Ontario.
Mentoring Programs bring together recent skilled newcomers and established professionals in occupation-specific mentoring relationships.
List of community agencies providing mentoring programs:
LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) assessment
LINC is an English training program for adult newcomers. YMCA LINC Assessment Centres screen and refer newcomers to the most suitable LINC Service Provider Organizations offering LINC classes. These free classes range from literacy, basic to intermediate levels running part time, full time and on weekends. Some of schools also offer free Child minding services.
LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) classes
ELT Classes (Enhanced Language Training)
ELT programs provide advanced-level English language training to adult newcomers. Through job-specific language training, ELT helps newcomers to more easily and quickly find and keep jobs for which they are qualified.
In Toronto East, ELT is offered by WoodGreen Community Services.
Interpretation and Translation
|Six months to two years|
In-depth personal finance
Starting Your Own Business
Registering Your Business
You can register your business by visiting one of the Enterprise Toronto Locations.
Legal Advice For Business Startups
Connect Legal: Advice For Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Employment standards are enforced under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), which sets out the minimum standards that employers and employees must follow. The ESA includes the rules about minimum wage, public holidays, overtime work, vacation, personal emergency leave, pregnancy and parental leave, termination pay, severance pay and filing a complaint.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has information about your rights and responsibilities at work.
Newcomer rights and responsibilities
Apply for Canadian Citizenship
To become a Canadian Citizen you must:
Citizenship Preparation Programs are for students who have been landed immigrants for at least 3 years and who are ready to take their Canadian Citizenship test. Newcomers learn about citizenship requirements and Canada's history, geography and government system in these classes.
To find a citizenship preparation class, visit TDSB website.
Citizenship test study guide: