Starting a life in a new country is never easy. You have a million and one things on your to-do list, personally and government wise.
I felt a little overwhelmed my first few days but as time wore on, I began utilizing a number of apps to make my life easier.
I mentioned a few of those apps in My First Few Days in Canada but decided to create a separate post with all the apps collated in one place.
These apps will go a long way in making your life easier when you’re a newcomer to Canada. Additionally, they will also save you money and time.
All the apps can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Android Play Store.
Best Time and Money Saving Apps for Newcomers to Canada
My first week in Canada, I knew I had to do something about my wardrobe quick. I had a few sweaters and 1 jacket but the rest of my wardrobe was mostly for a tropical – mildly cold country.
Canada is neither of those things. I needed thicker stuff to wear but I also needed to watch the wallet.
As a newcomer to Canada, you will quickly discover your money is great at performing disappearing acts.
It’s very easy to blow a significant amount of money in a short time if you’re not careful and shopping for new clothes is one way to blow money.
I needed an app that had everything to do with coupons, savings and cashback in one place and that’s where Rakuten came in.
You can shop for Canada appropriate clothing across most major retailers and get cash backs while you’re at it.
The video below explains exactly how Rakuten works. You can open a free account with Rakuten HERE.
I cannot say enough about how wonderful Google Maps was when it came to getting a bearing on my location.
I walked everywhere mostly and Google Maps provided step by step directional instructions. When I started working, I used it to track bus and train timings and to plot out journeys.
Google Maps is very detailed and provides more than enough information on how to get pretty much anywhere no matter where you care. You can also use it to find something you’re looking for.
For instance, if you’re trying to find a coffee shop near you, you can just push on the coffee button on the app and it will bring up all the coffee shops nearby including how far they are from where you are.
In this case, it showed me 10 coffee shops close by. You also have the option to show the shop locations as a list so you can scroll through and decide on what you like.
If you don’t have Google Maps yet, you should definitely download it as soon as you arrive in Canada. It requires data or Wi-Fi to work correctly.
Another variation of Google Maps is Transit App, which focuses exclusively on providing information about transit in your area.
I’m a bit of a stickler for keeping track of documents so not having an all in one printer on arrival didn’t make me happy.
Fortunately, I had CamScanner on my phone. You can scan single or multiple documents on the go and email them to yourself or someone else in different formats.
CamScanner also improves the quality of the image by offering different filter settings and you can crop out any undesired portions before you save your scanned documents.
If you need to print, you can buy a printing card at the local library and load it with money then print for a nominal fee. You can also print for free at your local resource centre for newcomers.
However, at my local centre, only printing related to settling and job searching was allowed so I used the library for other types of printing.
Learn more about how to sign up and download CamScanner for free HERE.
4. Weather Apps
So funny story. The week after I arrived in Canada, it was very sunny in the morning and a little warm so I figured I didn’t need a jacket.
I put on one of my light tops, paired it with jeans and proceeded on my merry way to the library.
Around 4 pm, I came out of the library and instantly regretted inhabiting on earth. I was hit by a menacing blast of cold that nearly knocked me over.
After weighing the pros and cons of walking to my Airbnb vs calling an Uber for a less than a 10-minute walk, I decided to brave the cold.
How? I sprinted like Usain Bolt all the way from the library to the Airbnb. I’m sure some people wondered if someone was pursuing me.
That was the last time I left the house without a jacket. It was also the evening I downloaded a weather app.
The weather app tells you how long it’s going to be warm for, what the general conditions will be, the temperature, etc.
This is a must and a lifesaver. Just because it’s sunny outside doesn’t mean it’s warm.
Some of the more popular weather apps include The Weather Channel, Google Weather, AccuWeather and RadarScope but really any weather app should work fine.
Another way to save money and make your money go further is with the Reebee App.
The Reebee app lets you browse and compare promotional flyers from across a wide range of retailers across Canada such as Walmart, Canadian Tire, Lowe’s, Staples, Food Basics, Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall and much more.
You can use this information to create a shopping list in the app or find a bargain on something you’ve been eyeing for some time. You can download Reebee HERE.
If you are going to be job hunting then LinkedIn is vital for networking and building connections.
A LinkedIn account is free to set up and you can populate your profile with your career history, achievements, etc.
It’s an online CV that is easily accessible to anyone real-time so there’s no reason not to have one. For more on using LinkedIn effectively, read How to Network in Canada – Advice for Newcomers.
7. World Clock
If you’re wondering why a world clock would matter to a newcomer, let me share another story. I have friends and relatives in 4 different countries.
Before I moved to Canada, I was only 3 – 7 hours behind or ahead of all of them so we were usually awake at the same time.
When I moved to Canada and became 9 hours behind most of them, my brain became muddled because I had so many things going on.
I would call my sister in the evening when I wasn’t busy. Of course, she wouldn’t answer and she would text me later on with, “Why on earth are you calling me at 3 am in the morning?”
Eventually, I just downloaded World Clock and put in the countries I call the most so I could check the time before calling or texting.
World Clock is also great for setting up meetings across different time zones. You can find similar apps to World Clock on the app store and play store.
Meetup is an app for finding and meeting up with people who share the same interests as you.
You can utilize MeetUp for social networking, professional networking and everything else in between. It’s free to join MeetUp. Set up an account and download the app HERE.
Job Bank is an app by the Govt of Canada where advertisers can upload available positions across Canada.
A lot of the advertisers are open to hiring newcomers, which is one of the great things about this site. The app isn’t just for searching for jobs though.
You can also explore careers, labour market trends all over Canada, subscribe for alerts, and create a profile for job matches.
You should be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident in order to use the app. If you already submitted a profile for express entry, you can use your ID to create a profile on Job Bank.
Find more about Canada Job Bank for newcomers HERE.
All the apps are free to download on Google Play or Apple Store. All the basic functions you need are free with a few ads shown here and there.
It’s optional to click the ads. For an ad-free experience, you will need to pay for the app but this is not necessary.
For more on best networking tips for newcomers, read the more in-depth articles:-
Networking isn’t always about getting a job. Sometimes you just need to establish new connections.