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Sadiya Farzeen urges immigrants to make the best use of the pre-arrival support available. “What pleasantly surprised me, was that it [Planning for Canada] is free of cost for immigrants. Planning for Canada’s services were so streamlined and useful. There’s no reason why one shouldn’t sign up. We benefited a lot,” says Sadiya.

Country of origin: India
Immigrated to Canada in: April 2019
Currently lives in: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Occupation: Early Childhood Educator


Why did you decide to immigrate to Canada?

What attracted me to Canada was the benefits that the country offers to permanent residents and not just citizens. It values immigrants and the standard of living is good. The main reason to move here was for a better future for us, my husband and me, and our daughter.

What do you like about Canada? Is there also something you dislike?

Like:

I appreciate how there are constant efforts by the government to help its people. Take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. Canada stepped forward to support people with all kinds of benefits. I also like how every neighbourhood/community has its own unique place and lots of activities for everyone. You feel involved and can enjoy your surroundings.

Dislike:

I wish the weather were more pleasant. Despite being hardly five miles away from the lake ­– and that’s something I treasure as a person who loves water – I can’t fully enjoy it because the water is just so cold most of the year.

Did you face any specific challenges after you landed in Canada?

Most of my challenges were during the immigration application process when the consultancy we had enrolled with failed to provide us the most accurate and updated information. That delayed everything. After two years with them, we then applied on our own and it all worked out quickly. Once we landed in Canada, house hunting was quite something! We just booked 15 days of initial accommodation here because we wanted to visit rental options to see the place before finalizing anything. I didn’t realize that this process could take much longer… even months! It’s not easy to take public transport every other day to look around for houses with a toddler. Eventually, we found a place that we’re so happy with. It overlooks the lake, and the beautiful view can be enjoyed from almost every window in the house.

When did you avail of Planning for Canada’s pre-arrival services? Was the time that you had enough to absorb all the information?

When we contacted Planning for Canada (PfC) – about a month before leaving India – they told us that we would be attending sessions for two days. What pleasantly surprised us was that these services are free of cost for immigrants. We were glad that we got to attend these sessions in person and meet other immigrants to-be. I remember we had formed a WhatsApp group to stay in touch.

What was Planning for Canada’s role in your immigration preparation?

The sessions were so streamlined; they shared almost everything one would want to know about moving to Canada. In our group session, many who attended were either moving to Toronto or Vancouver, so we didn’t learn much about Halifax. But in the next steps, PfC connected us with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) and that was a huge help. I wasted no time after landing in Halifax and within the first few days, I had an appointment scheduled with ISANS and was soon assigned an employment specialist.

How did these services assist you in your settlement and integration journey in Canada?

Planning for Canada helped me so much in preparing a checklist of everything that I had to do and how to plan for this big move, even things like which documents to carry in the handbag vs other baggage. Also, they were the ones to connect us with ISANS for our specific questions about life, jobs and housing in Halifax.

Please tell us about your employment journey in Canada.

When I got in touch with ISANS, it was encouraging to hear that they saw me as a good candidate for a job at ISANS itself because of my background in community development and early childhood education. With their help, I worked on my resume, applied for the role, got an interview, and was offered the position of an early childhood educator. Now, I’ve also completed my CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certification.

Any tips or learnings that you’d like to share with future immigrants?

Well, I would say that after you receive your visa to immigrate to Canada, do take some time to relax and enjoy. But this is also the time to start planning your checklist. It is here that organizations like Planning for Canada can support you by connecting you to the best resources in order to help your settlement journey become easy and more fruitful. Once you land in Canada, the initial days are crucial. So, make sure you invest your time in building an effective network.