02 November 2011 ~ 0 Comments

How to Feel at Home in Ontario after an Overseas Move

Perhaps you have recently moved to a city in Ontario – let us say Ottawa or Toronto – from overseas. Maybe you have already found somewhere to live and made progress on finding a job, enrolling the kids in school and sorting out healthcare for the family.

These are some of the really big tasks any immigrant faces but there are other important things to tackle before you can start to feel at home. For example, you may require help with languages. Ontario has many programs to help you learn English or French. Newcomers who do not speak these languages at all can take beginners’ classes. Those with a grounding in English and/or French can take more advanced classes (see More Information below).

Learning how to get around your new city will be top priority. Everyone, even drivers, should know how to use the public transportation system. Most Ontario cities have bus services. Some may also have street cars, subways or light rail systems. Ottawa, for example, has two rapid transit systems: the Transitway, a bus rapid transit (BRT) network, and the O-Train, a diesel powered light rail transit (LRT) service. Toronto has a subway and rapid transit system (RT), consisting of both underground and elevated railway lines, as well as public bus services.

If you are a driver, you will need to apply for a driver’s licence from the Ontario Ministry of  Transportation. Ontario uses a graduated licensing system which enables new drivers develop their driving experience and skills gradually. The process takes at least 20 months to complete.

These are all practical points that need addressing when you move into your new neighbourhood in Ottawa or Toronto, but it is equally important to develop a social life. To some extent, social links grow naturally as kids start to make friends with their peers, parents meet at the school gate and employees get to know their colleagues. However, there are also other ways you can get established in your community. For example you could volunteer. This is especially appropriate for those who are not working. Many communities have centers where you can find out about volunteering opportunities. A useful website is also listed under More Information below.

More Information

General

http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/newcomers/govt_services.shtml

http://www.settlement.org/site/FIRSTDAYS/home.asp

www.serviceontario.ca

 Languages

http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/keyinitiatives/language.shtml

Public transport and Driver’s Licence

www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/transit.htm

www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/

Volunteering

http://www.ovcn.ca/ovcn.aspx?ReturnUrl=/members/advisorycommittee.aspx

Image By: Molajen

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