Finally, we have all the necessary documents (work permit, to be specific) to proceed with further bureaucracy.
Here is how the process usually works. A person lands in Canada with a work visa (let’s say during the COVID pandemic). After the arrival, they get a Work Permit at the airport and take a two-week quarantine, which I mentioned earlier. While they in quarantine, they can apply online for a SIN (social insurance number0, contact a bank to get an account, and get employed remotely with their Work Permit.
In general, the minimum required documents before you can start looking for an apartment are: SIN, a bank account, employment confirmation.
Since we spent a month and a half in Canada in the “waiting” status and only got Work Permits a few days ago, we couldn’t apply anywhere. Therefore, as soon as we received the Work Permit on January 11, we immediately started to work on further steps. And we started with a SIN.
Our relocation package also included a local consultant, so we have been assigned with a consultant named M. who would help us with local affairs upon our arrival. M. advised us to apply for a SIN online. For some reason, to apply online, one needs either an employment letter (and the company will only hire D. on January 20) or a confirmation address (and we don’t have a permanent address yet). Also, some people who applied online bragged about their SIN being lost in the mail. And it takes them a month to issue a SIN for those who apply online.
We decided that M.’s advice to apply online was, of course, a good one, and we would use it if necessary. But we decided to try to go to the Service Canada office first (offline). We checked the addresses for open offices here and decided to try our fortune (I already forgot what does this word even mean..fortune). I find it funny that they say on the website that the shortest waiting time is from 8:30 till 10:00 am. We went there at 8:30, and we were the only ones. How does it work? If people read that there are no lines during these hours, why don’t they go there exactly from 8:30 - 10:00 am? :) It’s a rhetorical question.
Here is a cool story
If you read a previous post, you probably know that our passports got stamped only on January 11 (the same as Work Permit). Here we are at Service Canada; I start talking with the representative and giving her my passport and Work Permit.
The representative: [shocked]. Omg, did you arrive in Canada the day before yesterday?!
Me: [also shocked for a sec] Oh, no, no, no, no! We arrived on December 3.
She: But your passport was stamped on January 11! You should quarantine at home!
Me: No, no, no, no, no! We arrived on December 3, we quarantined, but they only issued our Work Permits and stamped our passports on January 11.
She: ..but where did you get your Work Permit and a stamp?!
Me: At the airport, we got back there after the quarantine because we had an appointment.
She listened and immediately asked about some confirmation to make sure that we arrived on December 3. Of course, we didn’t have any proof: the Officer took our appointment paper; the ArriveCan app doesn’t store history (wtf?!); nobody signed the declaration form that we filled out at the plane, and we didn’t have our tickets on us. But then we remembered that we do have a copy of the appointment paper in the email, so we showed it. The representatives at Office Canada believed us but couldn’t issue a SIN. The system said that we should stay at home for two weeks and shouldn’t walk around to get our documents. But then a miracle happened, we finally met friendly people. Those women told us not to worry, that they really wanted to help us and would do their best to do so. And, after half an hour and a talk with their manager, they issued us our SINs.
So if you need to get a SIN, I strongly recommend going directly to the Service Canada office. One of the perks is that they do not require any proof of address; Work Permit and a passport should be enough.
P.S. After my previous experience, I didn’t expect to meet friendly people at the Government office (I even left a nice review on Google Maps). On the way home, some construction worker said “good morning” and smiled. Later on the same day, we opened bank accounts, but without a credit card yet (you need an employment letter to get one). I even managed to finally get a sim card (e sim) at Fido and used one of their promos on time (12 G.B. for $55 which is still a lot but it’s cheaper than the usual $75 for 12 G.B.).
It turned out to be a productive and enjoyable day. Isn’t that wonderful?