Some transition tips for grads

As we near the end of June, many students from across the region are preparing to celebrate their graduation.
This is a very special time for grads and their families as we celebrate not only the years of hard work that went into this accomplishment, but also the graduation to a new stage of life—that being adulthood and the opportunity to carve your own path forward.
I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to all those who will be celebrating this very important occasion.
The road ahead may not always be easy, but this accomplishment shows that if you set goals and work hard, you successfully can achieve what you set out to do.
Things will be different from this point forward. Some graduates will choose to move into a new phase of education while others will make the decision to enter the workforce, or travel and experience what life is like outside of their home communities.
You have earned this opportunity and, no matter which direction you head in, life will be full of unexpected events, challenges, and the joy that makes life exciting.
While this new-found freedom may seem daunting at times, it is important to remember there are resources out there to assist you as you move forward, regardless of which direction you choose to pursue.
My community offices can offer assistance with many programs or documents you may need as you move forward. Whether it’s obtaining birth certificates or information on OHIP coverage as you travel abroad, OHIP applications, information about available jobs and skills programs, drivers’ licences, or information on grants and programs aimed at helping young people achieve their goals, I can help.
While not all programs are administered provincially, my office can help you to find who to contact for the assistance you need.
One thing to keep in mind if you’re travelling out of province or out of country, even if only for a short while, is that you should ensure all vital documents, such as your driver’s licence and OHIP cards, are up-to-date.
Generally, most services allow you to continue to receive the benefits of being an Ontario resident as long as your permanent residence remains here.
But it is best to be aware of the regulations—both for your home and destination—before you travel, especially if there is a chance you will seek employment at your new location.
Additionally, while many health-care services may be covered by OHIP, other costs such as ambulance rides in another province can lead to an expensive bill (up to $1,000 or more) that you are required to cover.
It is best to ensure you are aware of coverage limitations and consider additional health insurance to protect yourself.
Graduation is an exciting and rewarding time for everyone, and I would like to again congratulate you on this very important accomplishment. You have earned the right to enjoy new experiences and move forward on your own.
Planning ahead can help ensure there are more joys and fewer frustrations that you encounter along your journey.