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Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Old Apr 17th 2013, 6:34 pm
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Default Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Well... not sure where the time went, but here are a few things that I have picked up on during landing and a few experiences on setting up after landing.
I'm sure there are a few errors but hopefully my experience will help other fill in a few gaps by way of some useful tips before they land.

Not in any particular order.....
  • All provinces - Postal address in Canada before arrival.
    If at all possible try to land armed with a functional postal address in Canada. Relative, Friend etc. If you are coming to Vancouver Island, BC, use my address for PR cards if you want. PM me.
    On leaving Portugal we had already committed to buying a house here, so used that address even though we had not bought the place yet. The (then) owners agreed to accept any mail prior to us taking the place over. It helped us a lot as we used the same address for everything, including (on landing) where to send our PR cards. I appreciate that not all immigrants may have the luxury of being able to do it this way.
    You can do it with a hotel address or B&B or rental but, after you move on, you need to make sure that you'll be able to collect mail that could take weeks to arrive such as the PR card. Canada post will put a redirect on mail if you move from rented accommodation to another address - of course it's not a free service!
    .
  • Federal - On Landing check COPR and passport entry matches!
    If you come in as a couple/family check that the COPR numbers match the hand written entry in each passport on entry into Canada. The first CBSA agent you meet will stamp you in and hand write your COPR number over the stamp. As you head to the new immigrant processing centre, stop and check them as it can be corrected by the CBSA agent at the processing centre. Ours were incorrect.
    The numbers must match to be able to get Social insurance numbers.
    We only found out later (on Vancouver Island at a services Canada office) that our COPR numbers only differed by one number (the last digit) and on landing the CBSA officer (Vancouver Airport) wrote my COPR number in both mine and my OH's passports by mistake. The following new immigrant CBSA processing officer also did not notice the error. We had to go to CBSA at Victoria Airport to get it sorted.
    .
  • All Provinces - Social Insurance Numbers (SIN's).
    Soon after landing go to the nearest Service Canada office and register for SIN's.
    As far as I have been led to believe you are not supposed to disclose your SIN to anyone/organisation, other than employers, banks (when opening an account) and government organisations.
    Applying for your SIN in person - They need your passport, COPR (you only get to keep the back page on landing) and a postal address to mail your SIN card to.
    This is where they will check the COPR entry in your passport with that printed on your COPR - If they do not match - No SIN will be issued. If all is good, they issue the number on the spot, give you a printout with your SIN number on it. A card follows in the post.
    .
  • BC - After landing register for Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as you possibly can. Especially if you land near the end of a month.
    We landed on 26th Feb and submitted our MSP registration on the last day of Feb. MSP cover starts only after you have waited for the remaining days of the first month you register, plus 2 months.
    In our case Feb 28 was the remaining day of the first month + 2 months means our cover will start on 1st May. Had we delayed registering by just a day (say 1st March) we would have to waited for the remainder of March, plus 2 months. (In effect three months) for cover to start i.e. until 1st June.
    .
  • All provinces - PR Card photos.
    We had our taken in Portugal, at the same shop in the same setting and measured them to make sure they met with the new (ish) CIC PR Card criteria. My PR card came through. OH received a letter saying that her photos did not meet with CIC required PR card photo dimensions! Go figure!
    Where is my OH? Not in Canada! She's in the North Sea on a ship!
    Luckily they were alongside in Scotland when the letter came through here at home. I emailed her to get more photos ASAP. The best shot she had (alongside in sunny Montrose) was a Tescos photo booth, which luckily had the correct external photo dimensions, but she had to take two lots as the first batch didn't meet with the chin to crown dimension required by CIC. Then OH posted by tracked mail to me here. On receipt I added them to the paperwork required and re-posted to Sydney via Canada Post tracked. They have them now.
    What I find funny (almost) is British Columbia Services had no problem at all with the photos we supplied and added them to our MSP ID card (same credit card size as PR card) no problem! They were not all quirky about photo dimensions either.
    ICBC took their own photos in the office. Slick!

    CIC must waste a huge amount of time in admin hours rejecting photos and having to send letters out requesting more photos and subsequently reprocessing PR card applications.

    What I would wish for, on landing, as part of the landing/immigration process would be to have your PR card photo taken on site by a CIC approved digital machine (same as ICBC do for driving licences). Job done! Probably a bit too sensible for CIC I guess.
    .
  • All provinces - UK DVLA Driving History
    Before you leave the UK get a copy of your DVLA driving history/entitlement and bring it with you. In the UK it costs about GBP5.00 to obtain through DVLA.
    Here in BC, when we swapped driving licences, ICBC wanted the original DVLA printout (and kept it) as proof of full driving history.
    I would not rely solely on the paper counterpart as proof of driving history.
    .
  • BC - 'No at fault accidents' proof.
    Make sure your no at fault accident paperwork is on letter headed paper with full company contact information on it. Here in BC private insurance companies seem not too bothered about this, but ICBC appear to be an extension of CIC when it comes to bureaucracy for crossing the t's and dotting the i's!
    Check that the 'No at fault accidents' statement shows 'from and to' insurance dates and that your cover (between different policies) is contiguous. They do not like gaps in cover. A couple months gap (over different vehicles) is OK it seems, but much over that and they may not count some periods.
    In BC you are looking for 8 years of no claims contiguous proof to get maximum discount. If you can't prove 8 years you will be credited with whatever you can prove on a sliding scale. See below.

    -1=5%
    -2=10%
    -3=15%
    -4=20%
    -5=25%
    -6=30%
    -7=35%
    -7=40%

    The certificate(s) you present should not simply be a 'No claims' cert.
    If it is it will be thrown out by ICBC as not acceptable proof of 'no at fault accidents'.
    No claims discount can be insured against in the UK and ICBC know that.
    Your no at fault accidents/claims cert/letter must say… 'No at fault accidents' 'No accidents' (or wording to that effect).
    Ours (translated from Portuguese by an ICBC approved translator at $40.00 a page I might add!) met with what was required, but they went over it with a fine tooth comb seemingly looking for possible errors by way of our documents not meeting with strict ICBC proof of 'Safe Driving Discount' requirements. So, I can see potential problems for others following in our footsteps which is why I have written so much detail on it.

    .
  • BC - Vehicle Insurance costs.
    ICBC run a provincial insurance scheme and you are required by BC law to carry vehicle insurance to a minimum level through ICBC (A bit like Third part insurance in the UK as being a legal minimum). This can be done through a local ICBC approved insurance agent. These agents also offer other vehicle insurance cover.
    You do not need to carry all your insurance through ICBC. You can take out the legal minimum ICBC cover and save a good bit by using private insurance cover to beef up liability, personal and passenger injury etc. A bit like taking Third party only in the UK (through one company) and then going to another company to cover you and your vehicle in a comprehensive fashion.
    This will generally save you quite a bit, over going with ICBC for everything.
    Take your DVLA driver history/entitlement printout with you when you go to insure your car. They may take a copy. They did with ours.
    As a side note: When we bought our Jeep we did it through a well known local (large) used car dealer in the area. They had an 'in house' insurance agent (from a local insurance firm) that handled the ICBC vehicle registration, ICBC insurance and additional private insurance all in one hit. It was he that advised they could save us a few hundred dollars over equivalent ICBC insurance rates. We test drove the Jeep the day before, haggled on the price, struck a deal. Next day we bought it, registered it, insured it and drove it out all in a couple of hours. Job done!
    The Jeep is a 2008 Wrangler Unlimited (4 door). 3.8Ltr V6 engine. Automatic box. Insurance was about $1500 for the year. Cover was split between ICBC and a private insurance firm. In effect the cover is about the same as UK fully comp cover.
    Some might bitch about the price of insurance here (it is what it is, so try not to compare to what you are used to in another country, it's a pointless exercise in my mind) but then again don't hold back telling your friends and family that fuel is about half the price of UK rates at the pumps! That more than makes up (many times over( for the supposed insurance hike!
    .
  • BC - BC Hydro - (aka Electricity Company).
    No problem signing up but, as we didn't have previous BC Hydro history, they wanted a deposit to be held on account for 12 months (with interest paid). At the end of the 12 month period the deposit (with interest) will be credited to our BC Hydro account (I was advised). They required a deposit of $630.00 (based on previous property usage). Our first BC Hydro Bill was $130.00. I think they are getting the reading off the supposed 'Smart Meter' that was already installed when we took the place over. So, for the first month of BC Hydro we had to fork out $760.00
    Note: We have a wood burner, so not all our heating is via BC Hydro.
    It's not that cold here anyway... on average it's been warmer than south UK for the last couple of months. That's south Island living for you

All the best
James

Last edited by james.mc; Apr 17th 2013 at 7:58 pm.
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Old Apr 17th 2013, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Well I haven't been on that much lately... but I am SOOOOO glad to see that you finally made it Seems like you have all the stops covered, and I think that you're in the right part of Canada.. because we're still under 2 foot of snow Best of luck and keep us updated...
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Old Apr 17th 2013, 8:08 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Excellent - really useful info James - will be passing on to OH the car insurance details, and the rest will be more mine to deal with!
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Old Apr 17th 2013, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by witchileiz View Post
Excellent - really useful info James - will be passing on to OH the car insurance details, and the rest will be more mine to deal with!
I read your username as witchless, which seemed appropriate today.
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Old Apr 17th 2013, 8:35 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by Novocastrian View Post
I read your username as witchless, which seemed appropriate today.
Ding dong!
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Old Apr 17th 2013, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

I think that should go in the wiki as well.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 3:30 am
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by missieleah View Post
Well I haven't been on that much lately... but I am SOOOOO glad to see that you finally made it Seems like you have all the stops covered, and I think that you're in the right part of Canada.. because we're still under 2 foot of snow Best of luck and keep us updated...
Cheers! It was a long slog to get here. Then again there are people having to wait longer than I did, so I feel a bit lucky in a sense.

Originally Posted by witchileiz View Post
Excellent - really useful info James - will be passing on to OH the car insurance details, and the rest will be more mine to deal with!
Thanks for the response If the info helps a few people then I feel I'll have added a little back into the forum in return. Considering all the help I've received from other BE members over the last three years it's the least I could do.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 3:59 am
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by james.mc View Post
... If the info helps a few people then I feel I'll have added a little back into the forum in return. Considering all the help I've received from other BE members over the last three years it's the least I could do.
With apologies for quoting myself.

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
I think that should go in the wiki as well.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
I think that should go in the wiki as well.
Originally Posted by JonboyE View Post
With apologies for quoting myself.
OK... I'll add what's needed.
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Old Apr 18th 2013, 4:57 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Really good post J, and glad to see it's working out for you ok!

Definitely one for the wiki!
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Old Apr 19th 2013, 10:05 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by siouxie View Post
Really good post J, and glad to see it's working out for you ok!

Definitely one for the wiki!
Cheers siouxie

I'll get around to it.... honest!
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Old Apr 20th 2013, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Now added a link to Post #1 in the wiki at: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Real_L...da#Forum_Posts

Under: British Columbia - Handy tips on what to check during landing and a few experiences on setting up after landing.
Added 'British Columbia -' before the link as a good chunk of the posts content applies to BC.

Real_Life_Accounts-Canada seemed to be the correct section in the Wiki, although no other links to posts in that section

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Old Apr 20th 2013, 9:29 am
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Fantastic post

We are moving to Vancouver in September and all the advice helps.

Can I ask how much your 2008 jeep wrangler cost you to buy? This is the make of car we have our eye on to buy shortly after arriving
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Old Apr 20th 2013, 12:36 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Great post James Where on the Island are you? I have an Aunt in Naniamo, it was visiting her as a kid that first gave me the Canadian dream bug! Stunning place.
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Old Apr 24th 2013, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: Almost 2 months - Vancouver Island.

Originally Posted by jobop View Post
Fantastic post

We are moving to Vancouver in September and all the advice helps.

Can I ask how much your 2008 jeep wrangler cost you to buy? This is the make of car we have our eye on to buy shortly after arriving
Hi jobop

I have a 1989 YJ Wrangler which is one of my many pet projects so I do know my Jeeps a bit as I do all the maintenance/reapirs myself. However, for setting up here we needed wheels (our wrangler was in the shipping container on it's way from Portugal when we landed and wasn't due for a while) and we needed a utility vehicle that would lug stuff around in the back. Your standard Jeep Wrangler dies not have much storage space in the back.

We have a steep (part track part paved) driveway up to our place and it has been known to snow sometimes in this part of the island, so covering all bases with a 4WD was the way forward.

So, for us a 2008 Jeep Wrangler (Unlimited) 3.8 Ltr V6 Automatic was just the ticket.

We found a nice one... no accidents (dealers supply a vehicle accident history here), very clean, 68,000km, so barely run in
Drives as tight as anyhting.. no rattles (Its a Jeep wrangler remember).
We bought it from a dealer at: $25,000 Cash. They wanted 27,500.00 - I set to bargaining.. they did a deal.
We also bought extra insurance from the dealer to cover costly breakdowns (Engine/Transmission/Final drives etc.) should they ever happen.
You can get cheaper higher mileage (Kilometreage ??) units that are still a good buy. Jeep are solid bits of kit and parts are readily available.
Insurance was about $1500.00

A 3.8 Ltr V6 sounds like a big engine for Europeans. Take it from me... it's not in North America. Bear, in mind fuel here is about half the price of fuel in Europe. The engine is not a gas guzzler anyway.
The 3.8 pulls the Jeep along at a pretty brisk pace when you need it to, but it's no dragster as it has a lot of body/engine weight to lug along the road. The automatic box does all it should do. I've used it in 2WD Hi (road driving), 4WD hi and low (off road). There is no diff lock, but your average everyday driver would rarely need diff lock (if they even know what it is). We both like the Auto box. Not quite as refined as the Auto unit we had in our 1999 230CLK Merc Cabriolet in Portugal, but it does it's job. The Jeep also has cruise control which I use a bit.

The 'Unlimited' model of the Wrangler, in this case is the 4 door model. It's longer than a standard wrangler (by about - wait for it - a doors length ). It seats five with plenty of legroom for all passengers.
With the rear seat backs folded forward (flat) to you can quite a bit of gear in the back all the way to the back of the front seats.

The Jeep will become OH's daily driver once I get my Ford F350 for the business.

The only thing I'll eventually retro fit to the Jeep is a reversing camera... it's bit blind at the rear when reversing, but the camera is a nice thing to have not an essential requirement. You could fit reversing sensors instead but I'm a gadget freak LOL! Not backed into anything yet and the side mirrors are good.

One last tip... look out for one with a built in towing bracket. Many have them fitted as an option from new. It may, or may not, come with the hook (which is a separate unit and slots into a 2" square receiver) but that is no problem as the hooks are available off the shelf at most motor factors. When you are settling in..if need be you can hire a U-Haul trailer.
Later, it could come in handy if you get your own trailer.

Oh! This was going to be a quick answer.,.. we paid $xx,xxx.xx but I could't help give you a lowdown on the vehicle as you have your eye on one.

regards
James

Last edited by james.mc; Apr 24th 2013 at 7:04 pm.
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