So you have just been accepted for your Canadian Working Holiday visa, purchased your one way ticket and are preparing for your 2 year working holiday in Canada.. Be prepared before you go, we have put together a list of some helpful tips to kick start you on your trip of a lifetime!
What to know…
You need to have health insurance for your entire time in Canada. Most insurance companies only provide insurance for up to 1 year, so after one year you will need to renew it.
Getting a bank account… You need to have an address for your cards to get sent to (this takes about 7 days), bring your Visa and Passport. You have the options of getting a debit card / visa debit and credit cards. As there is quite a lot of places that do not take debit, so a credit card is necessary, but if you are on a working holiday visa you will need to put the amount of the credit card as a bond.
SIN – you need to get a Social Insurance Number if you are going to be working in Canada. This can be done at any Service Canada Office. Find out more about what is required when you apply here: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/sin.html
Invest in a good umbrella, waterproof rain jacket and a quality warm winter jacket to have for the duration of your trip. Vancouver it rains ALOT and Toronto is bloody cold in the winter.
Getting a job
The minimum wage is quite low in Canada compared to down under, so finding a good paying job as a temporary resident can be hard. You also do not get as much holiday leave if you are in a long term role. So that makes it hard to find a good paying job on a short term basis.
Pay is low for temp roles and casual type work. ($12 – $16ph)
Pay is even lower for hospitality, but servers, cooks and bar tenders get tips, so you can do quite well if you get good tips.
If you want to buy a car you need to pay tax EVERY time (even if it is a private sale).
Your foreign drivers licence is only valid for a few months (depending on what state you are in) Get this changed over at ICBC. Be prepared to hand over your foreign drivers licence.
There are so many different ways to get around if you don’t have a car. The main cities have car share services such as car2go and Evo Car Share (best thing ever!!). Most cities have Uber, which is cheaper than a taxi. There are rental bikes, busses and trains. Also, if you are going long distance, you can rent a camper for cheap. See our blog on “return campers”
House sitting is our main source of accommodation, it involves staying in someones home while they are on holiday and looking after their home and pets. Interested in house sitting? find out how here – Start house sitting and travel on a budget!
Staying in AirBnB and hostels is your cheapest short term accommodation option, if you are looking for something a little more permanent, craigslist is good for finding a flat. Some of the hotels/hostels are cheap in the off season, but all prices go up in summer quite drastically.
Shopping / Dining out
Tipping – it is customary to tip for any service you receive, it is recommended to tip between 10-20%
Any price stated in any shop, restaurant or hotel etc does not include tax. So if you are at a restaurant, and a pizza is $15, you will need to take into account the tax and tip will be extra, so it will be more like a $20 pizza. Tax is different in every state. For example it is 13% in BC and 7% in Alberta.
Buying a car
The place where you do the change of ownership is also the place where you pay tax, registration and insurance. If you are buying a car from a different state, it will need to have a check done as well. Be aware of previous accidents, always pay for a CarProof check before purchasing as your car!
These are all things we have discovered while we are over here and are from our experiences, have any more questions, let us know!