Canada Journey and Landing Gist. From Nigeria to Saskatchewan
Read this to the end to have the full gist from a Nigerian who migrated to Saskatchewan through the SINP.
PS: A long Read
Generally, I did not like “abroad” but for some unexplainable reasons I felt quite at home each time I visited the US so I told my spouse, its either Nigeria or US and nothing else. More so because of my spouse’s occupation, we had a path to PR in the US from Nigeria loosely similar to Canada’s, so the idea of going to Canada was unacceptable to me, then, for several years my spouse kept persuading me about her intentions to relocate abroad and why Canada was the choice destination and why I should get on board and come along.
Receiving SINP ITA
It was finally in 2018 that we reached an agreement to pursue the Canada PR enabled partly by Buhari and Trump. We wrote the ielts in December 2018, completed WES evaluation in April 2019, entered the EE pool in July 2019 and after a few draws it was clearer the FSW route wasn’t realistic then we moved to SINP in October (but before then we wrote another ielts in August 2019 to be double assured our ielts results remained valid until EE ITA and eventual submission) and boom the SINP ITA came same October, fast forward to 4th December 2019 we submitted SINP application, 28th April 2020 SINP Nomination, 29th April 2020 EE ITA, 26th May 2020 EE submission and 10th November 2020 PPR.
And once MyCIC online account showed approved on 21st December 2020 we made a rough estimate that our passports would return on or before 11th January 2021 so we booked ET flight to Saskatoon for 20th January 2021, thankfully the passports came about 5 days earlier.
With passports in hand, tickets already bought, then came the new covid-19 testing requirement, and we had a new hurdle to surmount, so, on 17th January 2021 I paid online for Covid-19 testing at ZaineLab Ikeja, we presented ourselves at the testing facility for samples to be taken on 18th January 2021 and on 19th January 2021 we were all clear to fly.
Flight To Canada
Now to the actual flight to Canada on 20th January 2021. Once the ppr arrived, we started buying stuffs and paying attention to feedbacks and Canada groups’ gists and it paid off. About 2 days before the trip we got a weighing scale, checked and rearranged each of our 10 check-in bags and 5 carry-on bags, so when we got to the airport, check-in was less stressful and we had no over weight bag bill.
Note, two (2) copies of Covid-19 negative test result plus one (1) copy of passport bio data page are required of each passenger by Ethiopian Airlines (one copy of covid-19 test result for ET and the other for the passenger). Everything else in Nigeria went on smoothly except for car seat incident.
The guys at ET airlines check-in counter insisted we needed to weigh and pay for the car seat (after our 10 bags were cleared) since we had no infant (under 2 years) but after persuasion they accepted to check it in without extra charge but under the condition that they did manual tagging for the car seat. I accepted manual tagging for car seat, got all our bags checked-in, collected boarding pass, boarded and we arrived Ethiopia safely and very well.
We had a brief stop at Ethiopia but in that time we went through security scans twice at two different points which I considered too demanding and stressful. We made it to gate A16 in time anyway and boarded the flight to Toronto via Dublin. We had an hour ground stop at Dublin before continuing to Toronto, but, we were not required to leave the aircraft. Once we were cruising again towards Toronto, we got Canada declaration forms to complete from the cabin crew and the rest of the journey was smooth until we landed in Toronto.
Once the aircraft touched down Toronto and the doors opened, we were told to exit in 50s because of covid-19 protocols. Finally, we exited and joined the queue for immigration processing. It was without incident, mostly chat with the officer; she liked my spouse’s name and she apologized for not liking mine as much, I jokingly told her I don’t accept her apology, we all smiled and in a few minutes we were moved to new immigrants processing office.
There at the office our CoPR letters were signed, we were officially admitted into Canada and we became Permanent Residents. We continued to the baggage area, got our bags, picked a big trolley and a porter to help for CAD24 excluding tip for the porter. We were stopped by the customs afterwards and invited for a chat because we declared goods to follow and ticked fish, vegetables etc our in luggage.
The customs officer was nice, he didn’t want to waste our time searching through each of our food bags so he relied upon our assumed truthfulness and cleared us but by this time we already missed our connecting flight to Saskatoon. It wasn’t an issue rescheduling the Saskatoon flight except that we need to spend additional about 13 hours in the airport’s gate D5 area waiting to continue our journey to our new home town.
Thirteen hours wait is by every means very long, but we waited it out at Toronto airport gate D5, going once to buy burger and chips when we got hungry and several times to the vending machine at the corner to get water, carbonated drink. The wait was tiring but having complementary internet was a great relief, it made the wait a little interesting.
Then while we were waiting I decided to check my Airbnb inbox only to realize my host was actually at the airport to pick us up, sad he didn’t know we missed the earlier flight to Saskatoon, so I apologized for not informing him and surprisingly he was understanding. And a couple of hours later, about 2 hours before our scheduled departure I got a WhatsApp call from one Jamiu who informed me he was working to get a volunteer to pick us from the airport once we landed in Saskatoon which was interesting.
Apparently our Airbnb host couldn’t come back the second time to pick us so he completed a form and posted to a platform for any volunteer to pick us hence the call from Jamiu. I waited for Jamiu (the platform admin) to find a volunteer to pick us but that didn’t seem to have worked out and I was grateful nonetheless. I sent a message to Jamiu and later my host to thank them for their thoughtfulness and great efforts to be of help.
Back at Toronto, announcements were made about boarding about an hour before 9:25pm. We boarded and I assumed I would sort out whatever situation we met at arrival in Saskatoon. The flight departed on schedule at 9:25pm but before departure we had a hard time with our carry on bags, two couldn’t fit into the small overhead compartment of the Bombardier aircraft, so we resorted to putting the bags under the seat in front of us and the other under another seat towards the extreme end of aircraft.
We slept mostly throughout the 3+ hours and landed to a big surprise, we landed at 11:32pm which was a few minutes earlier than the 11:55pm expected arrival time. Once we disembarked from the aircraft and got the baggage claim area lo and behold our God sent super host Ugo and a friend of his were standing by, and we were excited.
They came in two SUVs and were very helpful with carrying our many bags to the vehicles and finally we got home about 20 minutes later to meet our first Canada address and quarantine location. And thanks to my spouse who did a great job shopping for winter clothes in Lagos, we didn’t have much issues facing the -5⁰C outside temperature in Saskatoon once we left the airport terminal building. We got home to a very welcoming accommodation in the Rosewood area, our super host was gracious enough to keep jollof rice, chicken and Ogbono soup, drinks in the fridge for us. So thoughtful Ugo, we couldn’t have asked for a better host. We were obviously worn out by this time so we refreshed and our 14 days quarantine and life in Canada started in earnest.
Thank you for seeing and reading this story. I hope it helps make your canada journey smoothier.