to find information
Government of Canada has designed this guide for you -- the new
permanent resident of Canada. It includes some basic information
about living in Canada. The guide also contains many telephone
numbers and addresses which should be helpful in the next few days,
and during the next few years. It can refer you to the help you
need, or tell you how to find it.
may have already received general information about your new
country. But what you'll need to know now is more specific. Where
can you take language classes? What about housing? How do you go
about finding a job in Canada? Whom do you call to find out about
schools for your children?
Welcome to Canada guidebook and pamphlets can help you find
the answers to these questions. Canada is a huge country, and every
province is different. While we can't provide you with all the
information you need, we may be able to refer you to the
departments, agencies, and organizations which can help you. Some
may be able to help you directly; others may refer you to another
source of information.
organizations can help you to settle into Canadian society, and many
of their services are free. Contact an immigrant-serving
organization to find what services are provided. You may find the
addresses and telephone numbers of some of these organizations in
the pamphlet called Finding
Help in Your Community, which is in the back pocket of this
guide. Many of these organizations represent a number of different
immigrant services and groups, so they are a great place to start.
three levels of government -- federal, provincial and municipal --
also offer a variety of helpful programs and services for newcomers.
Who offers these programs and services may vary across Canada, since
different provinces have different immigration agreements with the
federal government. You will find commonly used government telephone
numbers listed in the pamphlet called Key
Information Sources, which is in the back pocket of this
guide. To find out about free language training in your area, please
refer to the pamphlet called Language
Training, also in the back pocket of this guide.
the province of Quebec looks after many important aspects of its
immigration program, this guide does not attempt to cover services
in this province. If you are planning to move to Quebec, you may
wish to pick up their guide for newcomers, entitled: Vivre au
QUÉBEC! You can obtain this booklet from the ministère des
Relations avec les citoyens et de l'Immigration (MRCI). You will
find the MRCI telephone numbers for your area listed in the
pamphlets called Key
Information Sources and Finding
Help in Your Community, which are in the back pocket of this
institutions, community groups, ethnic associations and newcomer
clubs which can give you a hand are probably located right in your
neighbourhood. Their telephone numbers can be found in the local
the information and services provided may vary from one place to
another. To get the most out of this guide and the pamphlets that go
with it, we suggest that you:
a map of your community;
a copy of the local telephone book; and
the immigrant-serving organizations in your community.
guide, along with an immigrant-serving organization, can help you
through the steps you need to take to settle. It can help you sort
out the information you are missing and what services you need. The Welcome
to Canada guide also includes a checklist to help you with the
things you need to do first.
is useful to have a map of the area where you will be living. It
will help you to get around and find the services you need. Most
book stores, gas stations and convenience stores sell maps at a
reasonable price. You may also be able to get a map of your
community free through your local Chamber of Commerce or municipal
office. You can also look at maps in the library, at no cost.
However, you can't take maps out of the library.
like to use the telephone for communicating. They talk on the
telephone everywhere -- at home, in their cars, on the street, in
telephone booths. You will find that telephone books are great
sources of information. Most of the important telephone numbers you
need can be found in alphabetical order in the telephone book. You
will receive one from the company which installs a telephone in your
home. You may also be able to pick one up from a phonecentre.
Phonecentres are often located in large shopping malls. There are
also telephone books at the library, and where you find pay phones.
home: You pay a basic rate each month for telephone service.
This pays for all local calls. You will be charged extra for each
long distance call you make. Long distance calls are made to
telephone numbers outside your local area.
from home: Pay phones in most provinces cost 25 cents per
local call, and you can find them in most public places. If you do
not know a telephone number, dial 411 and ask the operator. There is
a charge for using this number. You may also purchase telephone
cards, which can be used to call anywhere from any telephone,
including public telephones.
books in Canada include white, blue, and yellow pages. The white
pages list home telephone numbers in and around your area, as well
as some businesses. The blue pages list government numbers. The
yellow pages list business numbers -- restaurants, services, stores,
and so on. These are listed by subject or product.
the front part of the telephone book you will find emergency numbers
like fire departments and ambulance services. The most important
number listed here is an emergency number, 911 in many provinces,
which you can call for help in life-threatening emergencies.
white pages of the telephone book list home and business numbers in
alphabetical order, from A to Z, using the last name of the person
listed. So look up John Smith under S, for Smith.
blue pages of the telephone book list telephone numbers for Canadian
government departments, including the federal, provincial, municipal
and regional governments. For frequently used government telephone
numbers, see the pamphlet called Key
Information Sources, in the back pocket of this guide.
yellow pages are found in a separate telephone book in some of the
larger cities in Canada.
centres and touch-tone telephones
businesses and government departments receive so many calls that
they have set up "call centres" to help them answer the
most commonly asked questions. Call centres use a series of messages
which have already been recorded to answer your questions. You find
these messages by using the numbers, letters and symbols on the keys
of your touch-tone telephone. The call centre message will tell you
which keys on your telephone to press for the information you need.
If you miss it the first time around, the message will usually tell
you which key to press to hear it again. The list of messages is
usually called a "menu." You choose and order the
information you want.
can also enter information into some call centres, using the keys on
the "pound" key is the one that looks like this [#]. The
"star" key looks like this [*].
you fear for your safety, or the safety of someone in your family,
you should call your local emergency number for help. In many
Canadian cities this number is 911. This connects you immediately to
ambulances, fire departments, the police, and other emergency
services. In other communities not equipped with 911 services, dial
0 and ask the operator for help. Other medical emergency numbers are
listed in the first few white pages of the telephone book. These may
include a poison information number, a distress or sexual assault
help line, and a number to call if you or someone in your family is
Canadians, and most Canadian businesses and departments, have some
form of answering machine or service to take messages for them when
they are away from their phones. The telephone may ring several
times, and then a recorded message will ask you to leave your name
and number and a short message. You will usually hear a beeping
sound followed by a silence. At this point leave your spoken message
and remember to speak clearly and slowly. You may want to repeat
your telephone number twice.
may want to use a public telephone when you are out, or before you
get your telephone installed. There are many pay telephone booths
set up on city streets, in shopping malls, in airports -- anywhere
there are lots of people. You pay for these telephone calls as you
use the telephone. For local calls, you put in 25 cents (this
charge may vary in some provinces) and make your call. You should
have the right number of coins to put in the slot. If the call is
long distance, you will need to put in more money (coins) as you go
along, and an operator, or the message across the screen on the pay
telephone, will tell you how much. Make sure you have lots of coins
with you! Eventually, you may want to get a calling card from a
telephone company. This card allows you to dial in a special code
and make calls on public phones without putting in any money. These
calls are then billed on your regular telephone bill at home.
you need help finding a telephone number, you may call for
assistance. Call 411 for local numbers, and 0 for overseas numbers.
All telephone numbers have an area code, which refers to the
location of the number. You can look up these codes in your local
telephone book. If the call you wish to make is outside the local
area code, it is probably going to be long distance. Call 1+AREA
CODE+555-1212 if you need help to find the number. Remember, there
is a charge for using this service.
is a very large country, and it can be expensive to make calls from
one city to another. Many businesses and government departments use
telephone numbers that start with 1-800, 1-888, or 1-877. This lets
you call them for free, within a province, or within Canada. These
are known as toll-free numbers. Simply dial the 1-800, 1-888, or
1-877 number exactly as listed.
services for people with special needs
telephone companies in Canada can provide special telephone
equipment for people with a hearing, speech, visual or physical
disability. Contact your local telephone company to get more
information on these kinds of services and equipment. You can find
the name of the telephone company in your area by looking at a
telephone book in a pay telephone. The Customer Service number
should be in the first few pages of the book. In areas served by
Bell Canada, you can also visit a Bell Phonecentre. These are
usually found in large shopping malls.
great deal of helpful information is now available through the
Internet, a world-wide resource and information system. You don't
need to own a computer or have Internet access at home to use it.
You can often use the Internet (or "surf the web," as
Canadians like to say), free of charge at your local public library
(you must reserve a time slot), community centre, school,
immigrant-serving organization or Human Resources Development Canada
office. Useful information can be found on various "web
sites," which are like codes or addresses on the Internet.
most communities across Canada, there are public libraries which can
be used free of charge. Libraries are a resource which many
newcomers make use of to read the daily newspapers, use the internet
and borrow books.