Navigating your way as a newcomer amid this global pandemic

June 18, 2020

By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

Moving to a new country comes with many amazing opportunities and of course, obstacles. And for any newcomer who has recently arrived in Canada – your experience is completely unique as you try to find your way in a new country amid a global pandemic and widespread economic downturn.

But if I have learned anything from my time here in Canada as a newcomer, it’s how resilient and creative newcomers truly are.

Canada welcomes you with open arms, but the onus is on you to be informed and take informed decisions. As you interact, you will soon realize this country has been built by newcomers like yourself.

Here are a few tips, from my experience, to help you on your journey during these unprecedented times:

  1. Looking for work? Do your research: If you arrived in Canada without a job lined up or recently lost your job from the fallout of COVID-19 – I can empathize with how difficult this situation is. However remember, you are here for the long run and as the economy picks up again, opportunities will present themselves. In the meantime, be sure to do your research on the industries that you hope to work in in Canada to find out more about job opportunities and the skill sets required. If you are unsure of what field you want to work in, doing some research based on your interests may help narrow down industries that you gravitate towards.
  1. Update your credentials: If you have a particular educational or professional background from your country of origin, find out if you are required to get re-accredited in Canada to work in the same field. You could also take this time as an opportunity to gain some new skills through online courses or webinars.
  1. Network…virtually: Building a professional network is a big piece of landing a job here in Canada. Look for ways to network virtually until in-person events start happening again. Organizations like ACCES Employment hosts monthly webinars on everything from resume building to career advice; Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (along with national chapters) offers mentor/mentee opportunities on an ongoing basis, among many others. These resources are a great place to get started on your networking journey. You can also brush up your LinkedIn profile – another great way of expanding your network and searching for careers.
  1. Build your community…virtually: A big part of acclimating to life in Canada is having a sense of community. You likely left behind friends and family and at times, it may feel a bit lonely. And in the middle of a global pandemic while social interaction is restricted, the loneliness may feel even greater. My advice is to find online communities that you can join – whether they are interest or career focused; meeting new people with similar interests is a great way to ease into life here in Canada.
  1. Keep your mental and physical health in check: During these trying times, it’s easy to let your mental and physical health take a back seat. If I have learned anything, it’s just how important it is to stay active and find ways to focus on mental health – whether it’s through meditating, reading or talking to someone.
  1. Get your finances in order: Lastly, while you get settled into your new life and establish a career, it’s important to keep your finances in order. Having a clear budget and understanding of your monthly expenses will certainly help set you up for success. Speaking with a financial advisor is a great first step in having a deeper understanding of your finances here in Canada.

In making the decision to come to Canada, you’ve already taken the first step. As you get settled and find your footing, remember it will take time for Canada to feel like home.

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