How immigrants can build their credit history in Canada

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Have you heard other newcomers talking about how difficult it can be to get a credit score in Canada? A credit score is like a financial report card. Creditors (creditors provide short-term loans and mortgages to purchase a home) use this report when calculating your credit-worthiness. If you have a positive credit rating you will be able to obtain a loan, mortgage and other financial products.



How can you build and protect your credit score?

Get familiar with your credit score

Know your credit history and your credit score.

Credit Score

According to Fresh Loan, a credit score is a calculation of your reliability with credit. If you use credit responsibly and pay your bills on time then you should have a good credit score. The companies that send you monthly bills will record how promptly you pay your bills. This will affect your credit score. You can also increase your credit score by getting a small loan, line of credit or credit card, even if you don’t require one. Many immigrants do not borrow because they do not want to have debt, but it can be helpful to have one credit card and to use it for small purchases. Just remember to pay the full balance of the credit card bill on time each month.

There are some banks in Canada that provide a service which transfers your credit score from your home country to the bank in Canada. Check with banks in your area to see if they provide this convenient service.

Review your credit report regularly

Your credit report in Canada is available to look at when you want to.  It is also a good idea to read your bank statements carefully. This can help ensure that there isn’t any incorrect information and that no one else is (fraudulently) using your credit. You can check your credit report for free at Your credit history matters, someday you may need money to buy a car, a home or start a business, so starting to build a good credit score when you arrive to Canada is a helpful idea.

Top tips for healthy credit habits

  • Apply for a credit card. Credit cards can be helpful if you decide
  • credit-history excellent

    to stay at a hotel in Canada,  shop online (some purchases may be protected using your credit card) or rent a car.

  • Keep only one or two credit cards. It will be easier to keep track of spending and also remove some of the risk by fraudulent users. Be aware that different credit cards have different interest rates. If you pay your credit card bill late, you could incur interest which will be added to your monthly bill.
  • Be careful of cash advances or cheques the credit card companies may provide to you, these can be costly and the credit card company can start charging you interest from the moment you withdraw or advance the cash from your credit card.
  • Pay your credit card, household bills and loans by the due date stated on the monthly bill. This will help improve your credit score and help you with future banking in Canada.

Remember to be aware and cautious of who you give your credit card numbers to and who has access to your credit card. Credit card companies may provide some protection if your card is lost or stolen, but you are responsible for who has access to your credit.

Speak with a bank or credit union in Canada and they can provide you with more information about credit cards and your credit score in Canada.

Written by Sacha DeVoretz, blog contributor to Bell Alliance Global Immigration Services Inc.

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Your first 30 days in Canada as a Permanent Resident and what to do

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When you first arrive to Canada as a permanent resident,  it can be hard to know where to start. Take your time getting settled and starting your new life in Canada.

You may have friends who have are already settled in Canada and can help you with some of the important tasks and provide useful information.

In your first few weeks in Canada, you will have several tasks to get done to start your life here in Canada. You will need to complete several government forms. With these forms you will receive important cards and services. These cards and services will provide you with access to things like medical care, a number which allows you to work in Canada and other important items for your daily life.

It is important to note, that you should not have to pay anyone to help you complete these forms. A government official can help you complete the forms and there may even be a person in the office that speaks your language.

The cards and services are in different departments of the government and you will need to apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN), MSP for B.C. Residents, and the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). You do not have to pay for these forms and can download them from the internet.

Here is a checklist of things to do in your first few weeks in Canada:


Welcome to Canada Checklist


Written by Sacha DeVoretz, blog contributor to Bell Alliance Global Immigration Services Inc. and author of Canada is Hiring.



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Common Concerns facing newly arrived immigrants to Canada and Helpful Tips

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Common Concerns facing newly arrived immigrants to Canada and Helpful Tips

Once you have arrived to Canada you may have many questions about how to find a new home or how to enroll your children in school. These are common tasks that all new immigrants must face to start their new life in Canada.

Begin your new life in Canada

Starting your new life in Canada can be both exciting and filled with challenges. The first few weeks you will need to know what documents to have with you, what to expect in the first few days and weeks, how to find a new home and other tasks to set up your new life in Canada.

Get to know Canada

After arriving to Canada, you may be surprised how different Canada is from your home country. Over time you will learn more about Canada, the laws here, the weather and other day to day information which may help make your settlement to Canada that much easier learn about and explore here.

Get a Job in Canada

Landing your first job in Canada can be equally challenging and rewarding. You are not alone with this. Many new immigrants will find the tasks of getting their first job in Canada the most difficult part of their settlement. But it can be done!

First, prepare a Canadian style resume. A resume in Canada, may be very different from the CV or resume you had in your home country. In Canada, we do not include birthdate, religion, photo or race in a resume.

Samples use can use to create your own Canadian style resume are included in this free download “Canada Is Hiring” PDF e-book.

Learn more job tips and how you can land a job.

Household expenses

Costs can vary greatly from your home country to Canada. Prepare a budget that will suit your needs. Learn more about information that can prepare you for common household expenses.

Health care

Every Canadian citizen and permanent resident is eligible for health insurance in Canada. The health coverage will include visits to the doctor and hospital care. However, visiting the dentist and other elective medical appointments may not be covered by the health insurance.

Find a new home

Whether you are looking for a place to rent or to buy, a house or apartment, the costs of housing will vary greatly depending on where you live in Canada. In the big cities, housing can be very expensive (Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in the world). You can learn more at finding a place to live.

Plan your Budget

The taxes and banking may be very different in Canada than in your home country. Plan your finances and learn more about sales tax in different provinces, income tax, banking, budgeting and much more.

Register your children in school

Every child in Canada is entitled to an education free of charge. Education is paid for through the taxes which are deducted from your pay cheque and sales tax when you make a purchase on a service or good.

You can learn Canada’s official languages

If you can speak either English or French this can help you in your new life in Canada and make it much easier for you to get a job and make new Canadian friends. Training is provided at immigrant service centres and other learning centres free of charge.



Written by Sacha DeVoretz, blog contributor to Bell Alliance Global Immigration Services Inc. and author of Canada is Hiring.

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Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot

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Great news for skilled newcomers arriving in Canada! On February 22nd, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada introduced the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, a 3- year initiative to help have trained and skilled professionals have their qualifications recognized in Canada. “Our government’s top priority is job creation and economic growth,” said Minister Finley. “In the Economic Action Plan, we made a commitment to help internationally trained professionals cover the costs of having their credentials recognized. Today we are delivering on that commitment.”

This relieves a huge gap for skills newcomers to Canada, who receive permanent residency based on their qualifications, yet cannot find jobs that are related to the very skills that approved them for PR and are needed in the country.

Here are some figures. The Longitudinal Survey of immigrants to Canada (LSIC) data, published in 2005 by the Minister of Industry, provides information specific to skilled immigrants and their intended occupations. Of the 57,600 immigrants entering as skilled principal applicants under the economic class, 22,000 intended to find skilled work in natural and applied sciences. However, after six months, only 12,900 were employed. 38% were in their intended occupation, while 62% were in lower skilled occupations, such as clerical and technical positions in natural and applied sciences; in sales and service positions, or in manufacturing (Minister of Industry, 2005).

Although there are many reasons why newcomers may not find themselves in a position that is not relevant or lower than their previous experience, providing recognition support is critical and will only aid in their individual success and our society as a whole.

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