If you dream of living in Canada or you already made it, make sure to acquaint yourself with the Canadian government agencies and departments. I shouldn’t have waited too long. I should have been like a diligent student making sure of not missing any important information.
That was my regret and shouldn’t be yours either. I have chosen the following websites among the list of Canadian government agencies and departments. This isn’t probably the first time you’ve been encouraged (and maybe still didn’t heed the advice), but this time, I’ll give reasons why you must start learning and acting now.
Canadian Government Agencies and Departments
Canada Revenue Agency
The CRA is my primer in learning income tax return. Although, its popularity incredibly heightens at the start of the season of filing of income tax return, I make sure to stay informed with the latest news throughout the year. You should do the same but first focus on the following tasks then feel free to wonder around the website:
- Create an account. The My Account for individuals allows you to determine RRSP and TFSA limit, make a direct deposit and change an entry into your income tax return (new). You can either choose sign-in partner or CRA log-in. With the latter, once you create an account you’ll receive a letter with the code before you can access your account. Once encoded you can access your account any time. Remember you have to be patient in accessing your account.
- Do not miss the Newcomers to Canada (immigrants) section. You can find answers to most of your questions which you might not think of having to deal with but must.
- Download Forms and Publications. I suggest you to read the General Income Tax and Benefit Package and check the rates such as Federal and Provincial Tax Rates for individuals, CPP, EI, and GST.
How to Stay Updated
Choose as many as you want. I have subscribed in individuals – tax information newsletter and newsroom. I prefer reading right through my inbox. It’s impossible to miss any because I regularly open my e-mail .
Because I was vigilant for any changes and tips, I submitted my income tax return online. The reward was yet to come: I received the CRA tax refund in less than two weeks. In spite of such feat (only referring to my standard), I’m still amazed till this day of how little my understanding was that I’m also reading books about tax. It is a subject I have never thought of reading for hours but now I’m enjoying it with my cup of tea.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
The CIC should be on your top list among the Canadian government agencies and departments. Spend a great deal of time reading it especially if you are planning to move to Canada. Learn all the procedures, requirements, and everything relevant to your goal. Chances are, you have to frequent the website often as the years go by.
The following online process and resources are your allies, so have that extra energy in doing things right and with eagerness.
- Download forms. Pay attention to the date at the bottom of the documents. Make sure you submitted the latest forms. Often the format changes a bit but only few additions are made.
- Check application status.
- Pay online.
- Apply online (work and study permit, visitor visa, and extending stay as a visitor).
How to Stay Updated
- Read the publications and manuals for new immigrants
- Subscribe through RSS feeds
- Subscribe through e-mail
- Watch video on YouTube
In submitting an application form, you should pay attention to details. Submit the latest forms. Facilitate the process by submitting your application online. Uploading the forms and photos require some basic computer skills. Ask a friend for help or you can do it on your own just make sure you have enough time. Whatever you do, don’t miss the deadline.
Canadian Public Library
Newcomers are fortunate to have access to Canadian Public Libraries. It is not included in the list of Canadian government agencies and departments but I added it in my list for reasons you’ll discover later. With a low annual membership fee, you can borrow books, CDs, DVDs, access to free Wifi and attend programs. If you don’t have the habit of going to library in your homeland, you will, at some point, start developing the habit (there are more to library than books).
Canadian Public Libraries have newcomers in mind. For example, the Calgary Public Library website has invaluable resources for newcomers in Canada. I’m glad that they make it easier for newcomers to navigate the website. Furthermore you can attend a library tour with the guide speaking your own native language.
If you happen to live in Alberta or intend to, I have previously written the following helpful and relevant post for you:
Getting the Calgary Public Library card probably is as essential as getting personal health care card and Social Insurance Number. At least that’s how I see it. Ironically, I always carry the library card and stash the others on a safe place.
What to Do Next?
I’ve only mentioned the three websites which you should start familiarizing yourself immediately. Afterwards, you can browse the long list of Canadian government agencies and departments providing priceless information both for newcomers and citizens.
These branches of the government can only do as much if you are willing to participate. First, instill the desire to develop awareness then move on to other ideal qualities of a newcomer.
Learning leads to sharing. Pass on the knowledge to your fellow newcomers or others who until now are unaware of these government agencies.
Which one of these three agencies is your favorite which you spent hours scouring for information?