… Part of Canada 101 for Immigrants
NOTE: ALL INFO IS PER MY EXPERINCE BACK IN 2011. PROCEDURES AND PROCESSES HAVE CHANGED. USE THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK J
4- You’ll need ear muffs (must wear when temp below -4C or your ears/hearing can be damaged over a longish period of time. I heard horrible stories about this!);
6- You’ll need a very thick Jacket. Jackets here are measured by the “Downing” in them. This is the density of duck feathers in them. The higher the better (the more expensive). The avg winter ones are usually 550. The highest I’ve seen are 850s I think.
Summer here is AMAZING! I always thought it is a waste to leave Canada during summer and go for vacation anywhere else.
Having said that, during August you will (for sure) need a wind-breaker and water resistant jacket. It usually rains a lot in August.
One last thing to say, don’t let people scare you about winter in Canada, if you embrace it… it can actually be a very nice experience… I loved it (for now :D )
Public transportation here is very well maintained, and usually very clean and safe.
There are many ticketing options, but I’d recommend (for immigrants and people staying in Canada for a long duration) purchasing long term transportation cards.
You should be able to buy one from any Metro/under-ground station (even in some train stations).
Apply for a monthly card (at least monthly, you can even save more by going for yearly for example). Most cities have an option to purchase a card which can be used on Buses, Metros and even Trains (but will be a per zone thing. As in the further the card can take you the more it will cost).
a) Written exam (electronic actually):
You must study properly for this. I saw a lot of people think they have this under control and fail… some fail more than 4 times! The advice is, get the books, read them. After that, check online for exercises and solve those.
b) Driving exam:
DO NOT JUST TAKE THE EXAM THINKING YOU KNOW HOW TO DRIVE…YOU WILL FAIL. PREPARE IS THE ANSWER!
A lot of people whom have been driving in their own countries think: “oooh, I have been driving for 10, 20, 30 year… this shouldn’t be a problem”.
Others say: “if I can drive in xxx (Cairo let’s say), I can drive anywhere”, and they just go for the exam without proper preparation. All those fail, and if you try the same, there is a high possibility you will fail too.
My advice is to take at least a few driving lessons with “wa7ed meda2da2” (experienced person) from a driving school company. They know what to watch out for.
Another advice is (I know this will sound odd): ”Follow the signs NOT the cars”!
Yes, in countries where driving is hectic and chaotic, people (like myself back home) tend to keep an eye on other cars to avoid their mistakes (i.e. people in Cairo for example only stop at an intersection ONLY if they “see” another car, and they don’t think they can out run the other car through the intersection!).
On the other hand, in Canada (contrary to Egypt for example), if you are driving and there isn’t a STOP sign looking in your direction at the next intersection, you should keep on driving through the intersection (DO NOT HIT BRAKES TO CHECK OTHER CARS AT INTERSECTION like what we used to do in Egypt).
Following the signs will take some time getting used to. But, if you get this one right, you are good to go!
For Ontario, everything you need to do about the driver's license is here including the handbook you need to study from for the written test:
Search online for other provinces.
This is something you should do as soon as possible. Apply for your provinces medical care as soon as you have a temporary driver's license or a bank statement that has actually been mailed to your address (or any other form of proof of address).
NOTE: A printed copy WILL NOT work!
Keep in mind that medical cards take a few weeks or months to get delivered to you. During this duration if (God forbid) you or your family need medical care, you will have to pay for it. And I mena PAY ( a friend’s wife had to go to the hospital, he paid more than 700 dollars!).
To offset this, you could get private medical insurance for a couple of months till you get the Government (provincial) cards.
Health cards are obtained at Ministry of Health and Long-term care outlets.
Link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/programs/ohip/ . Check online for your provinces Medical care site.
… to be continued.
Mood: Numb :|