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A few tips to help you settle into life in Canada

January 25, 2023

The working holiday visa, or WHV, is a great way to get the full Canadian experience, whether you're planning to travel from coast to coast or set down roots for a longer stay. As you prepare for this new adventure, there are a few things you can do to make sure your arrival in Canada goes smoothly. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Finances: Where to begin?

Hooray! You got your working holiday visa. Now what should you do? Rémy Paris summarizes his first tip in 3 words: "Prepare, prepare, prepare!"

Rémy Paris lived in Canada for 7 years before returning to France. As Consumer Market Manager at the Desjardins Representative Office (Europe), his professionalism and personal experience cover many aspects.

When it comes to money, he mentions differences in "banking culture." He points out that credit cards are very popular in Canada. They're used to make purchases, but they can also help you establish your credit score. Your credit score is critical if you want to sign a lease or borrow money, whether to buy a car or get a mortgage to buy a home. "That's just how things work in Canada. In any given day, you might use a credit card for one transaction and a debit card for another," says Rémy.

Open a bank account before you arrive in Canada

Opening an account online will make the financial transition go faster. It means you can transfer money to Canada before you arrive and then activate your account once you're there. You'll need to go in person with your ID to the address in your confirmation email to get your payment cards. You'll be glad to be able to focus on all the other things you need to think about!

The Desjardins offer for newcomers includes a bank account with a free unlimited transaction plan for 1 year*. And that's not all! Desjardins also offers advice and workshops to help you settle into life in Canada.

According to Rémy, anyone with a working holiday visa is required to have at least CAN$2,500 in their account, or the equivalent in euros. The money is meant to ensure you can cover your basic needs when you arrive in Canada.

Rémy Paris, Consumer Market Manager, Desjardins Representative Office (Europe)

Insurance: Take off with peace of mind

Before you leave for Canada, you'll need health insurance Lien externe au site. S'ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre. Desjardins. Your insurance needs to cover the entire duration of your working holiday visa. For example, if you plan to live in Canada for 2 years, your health insurance must cover the entire period. You can't decide to take out insurance for 12 months and then renew it for another 12 once you're in Canada. If you do, you may have your visa cancelled.

Tenant insurance or homeowner?

While it's mandatory in France, tenant insurance Lien externe au site. S'ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre. isn’t necessarily the case in Quebec. "I recommend it anyway because it's affordable and if something goes wrong, you could end up in debt," says Rémy.

However, if you buy a house, apartment (condominium) or secondary residence, you'll need home insurance, which is not the same as tenant insurance. You can rely on Desjardins General Insurance for competitive prices and other benefits.

Not sure if you'll rent or buy? Don't worry, take some time to learn about your options Lien externe au site. S'ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre..

Don’t forget your car insurance 

Great news! When you insure your vehicle with Desjardins General Insurance, your years of driving experience are recognized (depending on certain factors and your country of origin) and factored into the cost of your coverage. Are you only planning to rent a vehicle for weekends at a cottage or for day trips? Or maybe you're planning on buying a car while you're in Canada? Whichever option you choose, you must have car insurance.

Desjardins is here for you. We can answer your questions and help you get settled as you embark on an exciting life experience! Contact us Lien externe au site. S'ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre. for more information.

Rémy Paris rappelle que tout « pvtiste » doit disposer d’un minimum de 2 500 $ CA dans son compte bancaire, ou l’équivalent en euros. Cette somme garantit sa capacité à subvenir à certains besoins à son arrivée au Canada.

Rémy Paris

Directeur, Marché des particuliers au Bureau de représentation Desjardins Europe

*The fee waiver only applies to the Unlimited plan for a single member folio (individual or joint account).