416.283.5492 ec@cig.ca

New Immigrant Resources

The Council of Islamic Guidance Inc. welcomes all new immigrants to Canada, your new home. Please feel free to contact us for guidance in any settlement issues that you might have. Before you read the content below, download the latest “First Day’s Guide” from the Settlement website made specially for new immigrants in mind. Information at the settlement website is available in many languages including urdu, farsi, arabic, dari, hindi, etc.

Following resources might be of some help:

Place to Live | Transportation | Banks | Getting a SIN | Health Card | Driver’s License

Finding a Place to Live

24/7 Apartments Apartment Corner Furnished Apartments
Multiple Listing Service View-it Toronto Rentals
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Toronto Star Newspaper Different Areas in Toronto

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Toronto is a very large city. We strongly recommend that you buy a good map of Metro Toronto and vicinity (in a book format with street index e.g. Perly’s Map) from one of the retail stores (e.g. Canadian Tire). If the map is not the most recent one the prices are usually lower, but the map doesn’t include newer streets.You will need the map in the future, when you will be searching for a job, and in your everyday life. Don’t buy twice, buy one and a good one!

The main street, YONGE Street is the longest street in the World. It is longer then 100km. The streets in Toronto run horizontally (East-West) and vertically (North-South), mostly two way (there are some exceptions in the Downtown area). The South border of the City is Lake Ontario. Downtown (the centre of town) has the CN Tower (the tallest free standing structure in the world).

Whenever you want to find an address, ask for the main intersections. Large boulevards are located every 2 km, so you can have a pretty good idea of how far your destination is from where you are.

There are several free highways in the city, Hwy. 401 (here you can see live pictures every few minutes from every exit from the highway), Hwy. 400, Hwy. 427, Hwy. 407 (the first toll (paid) highway in Ontario), DVP (Don Valley Parkway), Gardiner Express Way, QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way).

Downtown has a Pathway that is a web of walk around path with shops and business. This is specially a blessing during the cold winter days.

Toronto Transit Commission – TTC provides ways and means To get to a specific location. You can use the Public Transit System (Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) – which operates busses, streetcars and subways, the Harbourfront Light Rapid Transit (LRT) and the Scarborough Rapid Transit (RT).

To utilize this service you can use cash, tickets, tokens or daily/monthly passes. You have to have exact fare, because the driver doesn’t give change. Tickets can be bought at the subway station or from local convenience stores.

Subway tranfer box, a ticket and a transfer ticket that you are going to use while commuting and changing busses and subway, streetcarsClick on the picture to see a larger one.

Within Metropolitan Toronto you have to pay only one fare per trip. If, in order to get to your destination, you have to use more than one transit vehicle, you must obtain a “transfer” at subway stations or from bus driver at the beginning your first ride (this will prove that you already paid for your ride). If you make more then three different trips per day you are better off if you buy a Day Pass. A Monthly Pass allows you to travel on the TTC system as many times as you want in a month. You need a special photo identification card. The photo has to be taken at Sherbourne Subway Station (intersection of Sherbourne and Bloor East Streets).

WHEEL-TRANS is another transit service. This is aspecial transit service provided in the Metropolitan Toronto area for people with physical disabilities. Tickets prices are the same as regular TTC tickets. For more information youcan contact: Toronto Transit Commission, Wheel-Trans Department, 1900 Yonge Street,Toronto, ON, M4S 1Z2,Tel. (416) 393-3030.

GO Transit is another bus and train service that operates in the Province of Ontario. This service is mainlyused by commuters (i.e. people who live in Toronto and work outside the city andviceversa). For Toronto area that includes Brampton / Markham / Mississauga you can call(416) 665-0022, for Newmarket call (905) 773-5377 etc

The Toronto Island Ferry offers frequent public service to the Toronto Islands, landing at Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island and Ward’s Island ferry docks except during thewinter season when a limited service schedule is in effect.

Other Transit systems in Metro Toronto:

Markham Transit (905) 475-4888 Brampton Transit (905) 874-2999
Mississauga Transit (905) 615-4636 Richmond Hill Transit (905) 884-4636
Vaughan Transit (905) 832-8527 York Region Transit (866) 744-1119

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Canadian currency is Canadian dollar. Some coins have special names:

$1 100¢ (cents)
5¢ Coin Nickel
10¢ Coin Dime
25¢ Coin Quarter
$1 Coin Loonie
$2 Coin Toonie

The bills[notes] are in a denomination of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 and $1000.

Banks and trust companies offer a wide financial services: chequing and saving accounts, loans, mortgages, money order etc. Credit unions offer financial services to their members.

You need to have an account to be able to cash a cheque made out to you or to make it easier and safer to pay your bills. People in Canada don’t keep a lot of cash in their pocket. To open an account you need two pieces of identification, immigration papers and your SIN card or referral. Try to find a the financial institution that best suite your financial requests. Look for a bank, trust company or credit union that is close to your place or residence and which has low maintenance and service fees. They should also have many Instant Teller Machines (a convenient electronic device placed on the street, stores etc. that use a magnetic card and a password to directly access your accounts make payments, withdraw cash etc. ). Check the operating hours of that particular branch. Some operation have to be done during regular bank hours. You can open multiple accounts in different institutions. You can switch to another financial institution if you are not happy with the service that you are getting. You will get a cheque book that allows you to transfer money, to pay rent etc. based on a hand signed cheque and a convenience magnetic card (use a password that you easy for you to remember).

Try this site if you want to convert currency online (current rates).

Here are the web sites of Major Banks, Trusts and Credit Unions in Ontario:

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Getting a SIN

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs. You will require a SIN to work in Canada or to receive government benefits.

Click here for Service Canada site with latest information.

We encourage you to apply for your Social Insurance Number in person at a HRDC office. This process is faster and more convenient, as it does not require you to part with your valuable identity documents. You may also apply by mail to the following address.

    Social Insurance Registration
    P.O. Box 7000
    Bathurst, New Brunswick
    Canada E2A 4T1

Your card should be received by mail within three weeks from the date you submit your application, providing it meets all criteria.

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Health Card

Health Canada has put up a website with a wealth of information which you can access by clicking here.

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Driver’s Licence

An Ontario driver’s licence is your proof of your privilege to drive. You must carry it with you whenever you drive. Ontario has a one-piece plastic driver’s licence. The licence has a digitized photograph and signature of the driver and a magnetic information strip.

A driver’s licence includes your name, address, signature, date of birth, gender, height, date licence issued and expiry dates, and codes showing what class of vehicles you may drive and under what conditions (for example, an “X” condition means you need to wear glasses/contacts for driving). If you have a red bar with four white dots under your photograph, it indicates that you qualify to be an accompanying driver under the graduated licensing program.

If you live in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid Ontario driver’s licence to drive in the province. A newcomer to Ontario is required to apply for an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days of taking up residence in the province. Visit Ministry of Transportation for details

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