So way back in January (can you believe we are already nearing the end of April 2019? 😮 Wow.), once we had received our PPR email, I had registered Z and myself to attend the Planning for Canada / CIIP (Canadian Immigrant Integration Program) Group Orientation session in April, followed by our individual MAP (My Action Plan) sessions.
I strongly recommend that everyone who has received their PPR emails register for this – whether you attend a face-to-face Group orientation and MAP session (in some countries) or an online one (like ours) – because it is really helpful in terms of providing information and suggestions regarding your move to and settlement in Canada.
The Group Orientation (GO) seminar we registered for was held over 2 days (April 16th and April 17th), and the sessions were about 3.5 hours and 4.5 hours each. So plan your day accordingly. Because there is a LOT of necessary information that is shared during these sessions and you need to make sure you are able to remain focused on the session (you do get about 2 or 3 10-minute breaks in-between, but believe me, you will be busy in that time).
Please Note 1: the GO and MAP sessions are all copyrighted by the Federal Laws of Canada, and we are not allowed to take any pictures or make any recordings of what was discussed in the sessions (so there will be none of that in this post. 🙂 Sorry!). But, we are allowed to make our own notes based on what is discussed, so I’ll be sharing some of that.
Once again, I would like to emphasize that attending a Planning for Canada GO and MAP session is VERY HIGHLY recommended and extremely beneficial (especially for those who have never travelled outside their own countries before), so PLEASE register yourself (and your spouse) as soon as you have received your PPR mail.
Please Note 2: You have to register yourself and your spouse individually. This is so you can each receive your own PFC ID number – this is needed to ensure attendance and also for your MAP session later on. Important!!!: you have to attend the entire GO session – whether it’s over 1 or 2 days – to be able to attend your MAP session. However, you both can attend the GO session together. In our case, we logged on to the GO online session from my laptop.
I was lucky enough to have my MAP session scheduled for April 18, the day after the GO session. Z’s MAP session will be next week. The MAP session lasts about an hour/hour and half, and is your tailor-made one-to-one session with a PFC facilitator.
I’m going to talk about each of the 3 days separately.
Day 1: Group Orientation – 16 April 2019:
Day 1 was mainly an introduction to what PFC does and an introduction to the provinces and territories in Canada, and about preparing for working in Canada (the main aim for most of us 😀 haha). There were about 40-50 of us who attended the online session, from all over the world, including Brazil, Nigeria, UAE, and Lebanon.
If you are a PNP nominee (like us), you should already have done research into the province that has nominated you e.g. what is the cost of living, what are the job opportunities there, etc. If you are a FSW applicant, then you have a wider scope and more research to do, so you can make the best choice for yourself and your family. 🙂
One of the main issues with having job readiness and doing a job search in Canada, is that Canadian employers want you to have ‘Canadian experience’ first. So how can we do that if we are newcomers to Canada?
Well, there are quite a few ways, and we should be prepared to try as many of them as possible so that we can add those experiences to our resumes, and make ourselves more appealing to employers.
- Volunteering. This is highly thought of in Canada and almost expected without saying. So make sure you do volunteer as this will not only help you gain Canadian experience but also help you build a network.
- Internships and temporary/contract work. Similar to above, and chances are you may at least get paid.
- Finding a mentor. Again, this can help you gain experience as well as build a network.
- Getting a Canadian certification to up-skill yourself or specialise in a specific area. For example, if you are an accountant, you can do a short course that specialises in auditing. A lot of Canadian colleges offer bursaries or scholarships for those who want to study further, so that’s something to think about.
- Self-employment. The Canadian government as well as a lot of Canadian businesses that may offer financial assistance and/or loans for you to start up your own business.
The thing that was emphasised was that we should NOT look for “Survival Jobs”. Most of us who are immigrating to Canada as PRs already have good credentials that have been verified for Canadian equivalency, and also work experience with skills that are transferable to the Canadian job market. So we just need to be a little patient, and ensure we conduct our job search properly. And while we search, we can work on getting the necessary ‘Canadian experience’ and also improving our language skills (French, English or both).
Day 2: Group Orientation Continued – 17 April 2019:
Day 2 spoke more about the job search and what to do to ensure you have the best chance for yourself to get a job as soon as possible. Some of the things discussed may come as a complete surprise to some people, as Canadians do have a different way of doing things.
Unfortunately, I cannot give more details about what was discussed, since, as I said before, all the information is copyrighted. But this is why I once again absolutely suggest that you sign up for a PFC session as soon as you receive your PPR. The PFC facilitators are specifically there to help you make your move to Canada as easy and as stress-free as possible.
Other things discussed on Day 2 dealt mainly with landing and settling in Canada. For example, the things you should do before landing, and what you should do after landing, including your healthcare, accommodation, schools for your kids, etc.
One key point that was discussed, and I guess I can mention here, is budgeting. It is essential that you have a good budget plan in place so that (to go back to the point made on Day 1) you don’t find yourself having to look for survival jobs. Be active and proactive so that your Canadian life gets off to a good start and remains that way.
Day 3: Individual MAP session – 18 April 2019:
The MAP session is your chance to talk in-depth with a PFC facilitator regarding your specific concerns about moving and settling in Canada, and also be provided with useful resources to ensure you are prepared as possible for Canada, including linking you to PFC partners in your chosen provincial destination (in our case, New Brunswick).
MAP = My Action Plan. and that’s exactly what it is. A list of all the things YOU can and should do while you are still outside Canada, and also things you should do once you are in Canada, customised to YOUR job and settlement requirements.
Of course, I asked more regarding job opportunities and some other issues/concerns I had about housing and healthcare.
Everything you discuss in the MAP session will be emailed to you. You will also be linked to your Focal Point Partners (FPPs), who will contact you with more information, and also answer any queries you may have.
So that’s the Planning for Canada sessions done (at least for me :)).
Now comes lots and lots and lots of reading and researching, and following the guidelines on my MAP, while we prepare for our journey to Maple Leaf Country within a couple of months.