Before You Arrive in Canada

This video will help you get ready for your new life in Canada. It will explain some of the things you should do before you leave your country of origin to make sure you are prepared when you arrive in Canada.

Before You Arrive in Canada

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Transcript for “Before You Arrive in Canada”

Video length: 10:58 minutes

Cheerful music is playing in the background.

The video opens with an image of a rotating globe with the title “Before you Arrive in Canada” near the bottom of the screen.

Video collage of people from various backgrounds and ages: at an airport, a woman hands several passports to an employee while her husband and son stand behind her; a woman helps a young girl who is writing something; a man and woman sit across a desk from a woman who is showing them a document; a young man chats with a woman in her office.

Announcer: “Moving to another country can be challenging. If you are immigrating to Canada, this video will help you make a checklist of the things you should do to be prepared for your move.”

Image of a sign that reads “Welcome to / Bienvenue au Canada.”

The text “Learn English or French” appears at the bottom of the screen.

Announcer: “To start off, English and French are Canada’s two official languages.”

Background music fades out.

The text disappears from screen and is replaced by a blue box that fills most of the middle of the screen. An icon of a person appears in the box with the text “English / Français” below it.

Announcer: “Being able to speak in one of these languages is absolutely essential for day-to-day living.”

Video footage from inside a language class: adult students speaking to each other around a table with reference materials at hand, a teacher speaks with a male student while a female student writes in an exercise book.

Announcer: “We know that it takes time, energy and commitment to improve your language skills, but communications skills may be the most important tool that will help you successfully settle in Canada and find a good job.”

Video changes to students working at computers. Camera moves from one side of the room to the other, and then various shots are shown of students working and a teacher helping students one-on-one.

Announcer: “If you have a limited ability in either English or French, you should consider improving your language skills before you come to Canada. So, which language should you learn? Well, this is up to you, but it will depend on where in Canada you intend to settle.”

Image of map of Canada appears on screen, rotating slightly. At one point, the province of Quebec appears to rise up from the rest of Canada. The rest of the map becomes darker grey in the background while Quebec remains highlighted in a lighter grey.

Announcer: “In short, English is the most common language in the majority of provinces and territories, while French is the main language spoken in Quebec.”

Quebec returns to its original position on the map with the rest of the Canadian provinces and territories. The entire map returns to the same light grey colour. As the announcer begins to list specific provinces, the map once again fades to dark grey while each province mentioned changes colour to light grey and rises up from the rest of the map as it is named.

Announcer: “But with Canada being a bilingual country, there are also well-established French-speaking communities in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and most other parts of Canada. And Quebec has a large minority of English-speaking residents.”

Video footage of a quiet local street with a car passing by and pedestrians crossing the street. The camera rotates to show French language street signs.

Video footage of a sign in a downtown area that reads “speak ENGLISH parlez FRANÇAIS.” The camera pans down to show two women sitting below the sign, looking at a cell phone and chatting, while pedestrians walk by.

Announcer: “So, do some research on the place where you’ll live to see which language is most widely spoken in the region.”

Background music returns.

Video changes to footage of a woman in an office, typing at a computer. A file folder with documents is open on the desk beside her.

The text “Gather Official Documents” appears near the bottom of the screen.

Announcer: “Next, be sure that you have all the proper documents that you and your family will need once you’re in Canada.”

Background music fades out.

Image switches to a dark blue background with the title “Important Documents” at the top of the screen. A list appears on screen one item at a time as the announcer lists the types of required documents.

Announcer: “Examples include birth certificates, passports, education diplomas and transcripts, medical and dental records, marriage or divorce certificates, driver’s licenses, adoption records for adopted children and other official documents.”

List fades away and images of official documents (a passport page, university transcript and driver’s license) appear.

Announcer: “A word of advice: it can be much more difficult to get these documents after you have left your country of origin, so take the time to gather them before leaving.”

Video footage of people riding an escalator and lining up at check-in counters at an airport with their luggage and travel documents in hand.

Announcer: “If any of your family members are immigrating at a later date, make sure to bring copies of their documents with you as well in case you need them for any reason prior to your family members’ arrival.”

Close-up shot of a university transcript from Mexico in a green folder, camera pulls away to show the same woman seen previously using a computer in an office.

Announcer: “Another thing to do before leaving for Canada is to translate your documents into either English or French.”

Close-up shot of the woman’s hands typing on the keyboard. The text “CERTIFIED Translation in English or French” appears near the top of the screen with a black background. The word “CERTIFIED” is designed to look like a rubber stamp that would be placed on a document.

Announcer: “Be sure to get a certified translation.”

Series of images of the university transcript being translated—close-up of the computer screen and images of the woman working at the computer with the original document beside her on the desk.

Announcer: “This means you need to choose a translation agency with a good reputation. The translator should also give you an affidavit. This is a document on which the translator has sworn that the translation is accurate.”

Switch to footage of a different woman, comparing two documents at a desk in a different office. A close-up image shows she is comparing the original university transcript with the translated version.

Announcer: “The affidavit must be sworn in front of a person authorized to administer oaths in the country where the translator lives. Record the name and contact information of the translation agency in case you need it once you’re in Canada. You must keep the original versions of your documents as well.”

Close-up of the woman placing an official stamp at the bottom of the translated document to certify the translation.

Background music returns.

Wide shot of an airport lobby area with people waiting, talking, walking around and moving luggage.

Announcer: “One of your first needs after arriving in Canada is, of course, finding a temporary place to stay until you find long-term accommodation.”

Background music fades out.

Video footage of a man and woman speaking in an airport waiting area.

Announcer: “If it’s convenient, you can arrange to stay with family or friends for your first days in Canada. Or if that’s not possible, search for a hotel or hostel in a central location.”

The man and woman turn and begin walking together toward the airport exit with the man pushing his luggage on a cart.

Switch to footage of the front entrance of a hotel, the camera turns to show the street as a taxi arrives in front of the hotel. A man gets out of the taxi, takes his luggage from the trunk and enters the hotel to check-in at the front desk.

Announcer: “Try to book your hotel or hostel at least several weeks before flying to Canada. By booking in advance, you will likely save money and have a better chance of finding available rooms. To help you choose, most hotels and hostels have websites with prices, photographs, a location map and a description of the services they offer.”

Grainy black and white video footage of a downtown street intersection with pedestrians and cars passing by.

Announcer: “A word of caution: beware of very cheap hotels or hostels. They may be located in unpleasant areas or be of very low standard.”

Background music returns.

Switch to footage of a downtown construction site with large building cranes and tall buildings surrounding the site. The text “Prepare to Find Work” appears at the bottom of the screen.

Announcer: “One of the most important tasks is preparing to find work in Canada.”

Images of construction workers shoveling and leveling some ground at the same site while a foreman supervises.

Background music fades out.

Announcer: “Providing for yourself and your family will depend mainly on being able to find a suitable job.”

Video collage of various jobs: a female employee wearing a red uniform vest is putting clothing back on a rack in a thrift store; a woman is working at a computer, speaking through a headset in a call centre.

Announcer: “For many people, the first job in Canada may not be the most satisfying. But, keep in mind it can take time to build your qualifications and gain Canadian experience before finding the job you really want.”

Switch to two men sitting across a desk from each other in an office. One man hands the other one a folder containing a document that they examine and discuss.

Announcer: “There are a few things you can do before you arrive in Canada:”

Images of various official documents in different languages appear one-by-one over a dark blue background, each rotating slightly.

Announcer: “Gather all your educational diplomas and certificates and get letters of reference from your past employers. As mentioned, be sure to get these documents translated into English or French.”

Switch to footage of a woman sitting at a kitchen table studying various reference books. Close-up shots of the woman and a medical textbook with portions of the text highlighted.

Announcer: “Learn how you can get your educational and professional qualifications officially recognized in Canada, and begin this process.”

Footage of adults of various backgrounds and ages sitting around a table in a small classroom setting and a man is speaking with them. He is wearing a suit and name tag.

Announcer: “Being accepted to immigrate to Canada doesn’t mean that your education, work experience and professional qualifications will automatically be recognized in Canada.”

Footage of adult students sitting around an L-shaped desk in a larger classroom. Various shots of the students listening and the instructor writing on a white board and pointing to a presentation on screen. The text “What is Professional Engineering?” can be seen as part of the presentation.

Announcer: “There are processes you have to follow to make sure the education, training and job experience you obtained in another country are equivalent to the standards applied to Canadian workers.”

More images from the same classroom: two students are listening and the teacher is handing out papers.

A black band appears at the bottom of the screen over which the following website address appears:

Announcer: “The Foreign Credentials Referral Office can provide you with valuable information on how this process works.”

An overhead shot of medical staff working and moving around in a dental care facility.

Footage of a dentist examining a patient and explaining to a dental student what he is doing.

Announcer: “As part of this, find out if your profession is “regulated” or “unregulated” in Canada.”

Switch to footage of a worker kneeled on the ground, wearing protective gear and welding metal.

Announcer: “Regulated occupations—in fields like health care, engineering, skilled trades and others—have set standards for how the profession is practised and require a certificate or license. Standards can be different across Canada.”

Video collage: Footage of a fast-food restaurant manager speaking with an employee behind the service counter. Two people sit at a table in a resource centre, filling out forms. A man sits at a computer in the same centre, completes a document and speaks with a woman sitting beside him.

Announcer: “Most jobs in Canada are non-regulated occupations, which don’t require a license or certificate. In these professions, requirements vary between employers, so always be ready to show you have the education or experience to do the job.”

Video collage of a training course: Two instructors speak to adult students in a room with a medical table, as one student sits on an exercise ball. A woman holds her arm out to her side while another student uses a tool to measure the angle of the woman’s arm.

Announcer: “Knowing which category your profession falls into will help you determine the requirements for your occupation in the province or territory where you’ll live.”

A man sits at a computer. A Service Canada employee comes over to help him search for a job online.

Announcer: “Lastly, take some time to learn about searching and applying for jobs in Canada.”

Various shots of the woman demonstrating the website and the man absorbing the information. A black band appears at the bottom of the screen over which the following website address appears:

Announcer: “There are many job search websites in Canada you can use, including the Working in Canada website.”

Background music returns.

Footage of the outside of a school. A man walks his young daughter toward the entrance. The text “Learn about the Education System” appears at the bottom of the screen.

Announcer: “If you need to return to school or have school-aged children, do some research on the education system before coming to Canada.”

Background music fades away.

Video collage of various scenes inside a school: a woman walks her young son into a school office and fills out a form while the boy speaks to a staff member over a counter; teenage students watch their science teacher demonstrate a lesson in a laboratory classroom.

Announcer: “Throughout Canada, education is the responsibility of each province or territory, and the various English and French language school boards are publicly funded. There are different schools for children of different ages, but all boys and girls must attend school between the ages of 5 or 6 and 16 or 18 depending on where you will live.”

Footage of a large group of teenage students talking and walking across the lawn of a private school.

Announcer: “There may also be private or religious schools in the area where you’ll settle, and the same rules apply, but these schools could be outside the public system.”

Video collage of various school scenes: teachers gather young students in a common area, older students walking outside of a school, teenage students walking through a high school hallway.

Announcer: “For the most part, the educational systems are similar across the country, but there are some differences between provinces and territories. For this reason, the ministries or departments of education in each province or territory are your main sources of information on anything related to education.”

Footage of students studying as a group in a school library.

Announcer: “They all have websites, which you can visit to learn about the system before you arrive in Canada.”

Footage of a large university lecture hall that is full of students listening and taking notes. The camera turns to show the professor in the front of the room and walking closer to the front row of students as he teaches the course.

Announcer: “At the very least, take note of the deadlines for applying and registering at schools, colleges and universities, so that you’re ready once you arrive. This will make sure you don’t miss important dates!”

Background music returns.

Footage of two men walking down a city street and entering a medical clinic. The text “Purchase Private Health Coverage” appears at the bottom of the screen.

Announcer: “Another step you can take to prepare for your arrival in Canada is to buy private health insurance.”

Background music fades out.

Footage inside a medical examination room. A man sits on the examination table while a female doctor retrieves a blood pressure cuff, puts it on the man’s arm and measures his blood pressure.

Announcer: “Canada has a universal health-care system. It is designed to provide citizens and residents of Canada with access to health care, which is paid for by money collected through taxes. But, you should be aware there is a waiting period before you’re eligible to benefit from it.”

Video collage of various medical scenes: an ambulance drives quickly down a city street with emergency lights flashing; a nurse places a sensor on the finger of a man sitting in a hospital bed; a woman adjusts the walking cast on the leg of a woman who is sitting on an examination table in a physiotherapy clinic.

Announcer: “For that reason, you should buy private insurance to cover your first three months in Canada. This will take care of any emergency medical costs, should they arise, until you have access to government health insurance. And if you’re unsure whether you’ll be eligible to apply for government health insurance once you arrive in Canada, check with the government of the province or territory where you plan to live.”

Video collages of various locations across Canada: two people walking past a historic looking building with a nice garden surrounding it; small boats docked at a marina; a city skyline in the distance with farm fields in the foreground; aerial shots of a city skyline at night, another aerial shot of another city skyline along a waterfront at dusk.

Announcer: “There are a few more things you can do before you leave for Canada to prepare yourself …”

Announcer: “Learn about the province or territory and the city or town where you will live. Many of these places have websites with information that will be practical for you to know prior to your arrival.”

Video collage of a ski hill: a snowboarder carving “s” shapes down a ski hill, skiers and snowboards moving through a treed ski trail.

Announcer: “At the same time, get ready for Canada’s weather! The climate varies across the country, so do a bit of research to find out what you could expect upon arrival.”

Footage of a woman in a store, dressing her male companion in winter clothing.

Announcer: “It’s a good idea to buy some warm clothes to keep you comfortable during the first few days if you’re arriving in Canada during the fall, winter or spring.”

Video collage: a Canadian flag waves in the wind with the image of a statue superimposed above it and a crowded city street in the background; slow motion shots of first a woman and then a man smiling and laughing; an older couple walks arm in arm through a park; two women walk beside a large group of tulips; crowds of people and families walking through and enjoying a park filled with tulips.

Announcer: “You should also take some time to learn about Canada’s laws and your rights as well as civic responsibilities. It’s important to know that in Canada every individual is equal under the law… without discrimination based on your race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical disability.”

Background music returns and continues until end of video.

Announcer: “Knowing what to expect before you arrive will help make your settlement and integration into Canadian society that much easier. Preparing to move to another country is no small task, and there is much more to know and consider before immigrating to Canada.”

Switch to an image of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website. The Web page being shown is titled “Start your life in Canada” and includes a list of steps to undertake after arriving in Canada.

Announcer: “The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website is a one-stop shop for information. It has a wealth of resources that are tailored to your needs to help you adjust to life in Canada. The site also includes our Welcome to Canada Guide.”

The website becomes blurred in the background as an image of the “Welcome to Canada” guide appears on top of the website, rotating slightly. The guide disappears after a few seconds and the website text becomes clear again. A black band appears at the bottom of the screen and the following website address appears on top of it:

Announcer: “For links to everything mentioned in this video and more, visit”

Video fades to black.

The following text appears in white at the bottom of the screen: “© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2013.”

Background music fades out as video again fades to black.

The Canada wordmark appears in the centre of the screen.

Video fades to black for a final time as the video ends.


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