When you get to Vancouver, there are a couple of things that you will need to get done right away. I have described these over here and have also briefly mentioned a society that could provide some assistance.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Your SIN Card is one of the most important documents in Canada. Unless you've applied for it, an employer will not allow you to start working. You can apply for your SIN Card at Canada's Human Resources Development office in downtown Vancouver. The address is:
Suite 415, 757 West Hastings Street,
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 1A1
If you are not close to downtown Vancouver, you can call (604) 682-5400 to find out locations of other offices.
When you "Land", the Immigration Officer will give you a SIN application form. Application forms are also available at the Human Resources offices. While applying you will need to show your Passport and Landing Document. On the application form you will need to provide a mailing address to which Human Resources will mail your SIN card. Your mailing address must not be a mail box. If you do not have a permanent mailing address in Canada, you can provide the address of the hotel you are staying in. This is acceptable to Human Resources.
It will take 3 - 5 weeks for you to get your card in the mail. However, about 10 days after you apply, you can call (604) 682-5400 to find out the SIN assigned to you. Also, when you apply, you will get a receipt which is an acknowledgement of your application.
You can find out more information about the SIN at the HRDC web site.
Care Card (Health Insurance)
If you live in BC, you are required by law to enroll yourself and your dependants with BC's Medical Services Plan which provides medical insurance. You can get more information and also download application forms from the Medical Services Plan Web-Site. For additional information look at BC's Ministry of Health Web-Site.
The Immigrant Services Society of BC (Welcome House)
Several weeks after I came here and had settled down, I went to Welcome House. If you are coming from an entirely different culture, it would be worthwhile dropping in. At Welcome House, the society assigns a counsellor to you who might very well be from your own country. The counsellor can provide information on various issues that could help you in the settling down process. You can also pick up information booklets and MSP application forms. Welcome House is located in downtown Vancouver at:
530 Drake Street,
Tel #: (604) 684-7498
If any of you know of other such institutions, let me know and I will add that information here.
Opening a Bank Account
Obtaining a Credit Card