New to Canada

You have prepared the proper immigration forms and received your entry visas to live in Canada, but how do you prepare for what you will face when you arrive?

Our Settle section aims to provide you with the tools, resources, and information needed to ensure your successful integration into Canadian society and the Canadian workforce.

This information will help you make key decisions and address some of the following questions:

  • Where will you live?
  • How do you apply for health care coverage?
  • How do you find work?
  • How do you manage finances?
  • How do you enter the housing market?
  • What sort of weather can be expected?
  • How do you get a drivers license?
  • Where will your children go to school?
  • What do you do in the event of an emergency?

We have designed our content to allow you to easily take advantage of the experience that we’ve gained over the years by working closely with individuals and families coming to Canada for the first time. We have also developed partnerships with a number of public and private sector institutions and organisations with many years of experience in assisting newcomers to Canada.

If you are still working on applying for the proper visas or permits to come to Canada, please fill out a free assessment to learn more about your options for immigration to Canada

Do you want to learn more about Canada?

Coming to Canada as a permanent or temporary resident might seem intimidating. If you have never been to Canada before, you might expect to face some new situations when you arrive. Fortunately, we have compiled a number of guides to assist you with this process.

Get started by checking out our list of landing guides for individual provinces and territories.

Canadian Provinces and Territories
Canadian Geography

It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north and the United States of America (USA) to the South. It spans a total area that covers almost ten million square kilometers (9,984,670 sq km). To put it into clear perspective, Canada could contain 18 countries the size of France, or 40 United Kingdoms. Canada has six time zones, as well as the longest coastline of any country.

About Canadian Politics

Responsibilities and powers are divided between the federal branch and its provincial executives. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is a department of the government of Canada.

The government of Canada and the Canadian political system are quite complex, and based loosely on the British Westminster system. The system Canada follows today was initially drafted by the “Fathers of Confederation” in 1864, and became law in 1867 when the Constitution Act was passed. The Act gave executive authority to the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland (as was the official title for the Monarch at the time), which made Canada a sovereign constitutional monarchy.

About the Canadian Economy

Canada ranks among the 10 leading manufacturing nations. Most of Canada’s manufacturing industry is located in the provinces of Ontario and Québec. Other important manufacturing sectors in Canada include food and beverages, paper and allied products, primary metals, fabricated metals, petrochemicals and chemicals. Western Canada, in particular the province of Alberta, has a booming economy driven by the oil and gas sectors. 

About the Canadian Education System

Canada has a strong and well-funded system of public education, largely managed provincially. Consequently, some aspects of the education system can vary between provinces. However, as education is overseen by the federal government, the standard of education remains consistently high throughout the country.

There is both a public and private education system in Canada. The Canadian government heavily subsidizes education from kindergarten through to the post-secondary level, spending on average almost six percent of its GDP on education. This means Canada spends proportionately more on education than the average among OECD countries.

About Canadian Health Care

Although the health care systems are run by Provincial ministries of health, the Federal Government sets the standards for health care across the country.

There are three provinces that charge health care premiums (BC, Alberta and Ontario). In the remaining provinces and territories, health care is paid for through taxes. Provincial governments are responsible for the actual administration and delivery of health care in their jurisdictions.

About Canadian Culture

There are over 200 distinct cultures in Canada. The nation is often defined as a “cultural mosaic” with a greater mix of people from diverse backgrounds than almost anywhere else on Earth. Canada encourages its people to hold closely to their traditions and culture. Around two-fifths of the country’s population comes from an origin other than British or French.

The Canadian government, through the Multiculturalism Act, aims to preserve and enhance multiculturalism through official policy. Among other aims, Canada strives to “promote the understanding and creativity that arise from the interaction between individuals and communities of different origins.”

In order to help you determine where you would like to live in Canada, we have put together a number of pages about each province and territory in Canada. These pages will introduce you to economy, geography, culture, politics, health care systems, and education systems of each province and territory.

If you have already been approved for permanent residence, or if you are simply interested in coming to Canada on a temporary basis, our site has a number of resources to help you line up a job before coming here. Finding work in Canada ahead of time can fast-track your Canadian immigration application process, as well as prepare you for a quick transition into the Canadian workforce once you arrive. Securing a job can also allow you the freedom to plan for your new life in Canada while having the peace of mind that you are already employed. 

Are you concerned about finding meaningful work in Canada?

For almost everyone, the Canada immigration process is about establishing yourself and your career once you arrive in Canada. We understand that you want to find work in Canada related to your education, training, and experience.

Beyond preparing for your arrival in Canada, finding work in Canada may entitle you to other benefits, such as:

  • Becoming qualified for and/or gaining more points under the Skilled Worker/Professional Category of Canada immigration;
  • Speeding up your Canada immigration application process; and/or
  • Qualifying under a Provincial Nominee Program.
1. Which Canadian employers are hiring?

There are plenty of good Canadian employment opportunities. Each and every day more than 50,000 Canadian job postings go unfilled.

2. How do I have my educational and training credentials recognized?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is committed to working with the provinces to develop, in consultation with Canadian professional and trade associations, criteria for obtaining equivalent Canadian professional status and transition programs for the integration of new arrivals into the Canadian workplace.

3. What can I learn about the Canadian Labour Market?

Like most industrialized nations, Canada has legislated Labour Standards that establish minimum requirements that must be followed by Canadian employers in their relations with employees. The purpose of the standards is to ensure that employees work in an environment that is safe and responds to their needs.

4. How do I write a resume for a Canadian employer?

Canadian employers will expect your resume to conform to specific industry standards.

Canadian permanent residence comes with certain rights and obligations. We have compiled some helpful information about your Permanent Resident Card and what to do in the event that you find yourself outside Canada without it and need a Temporary Travel Document.

Canadian permanent residents have the right to enter and live in Canada.

Canadian permanent residents must meet certain residency obligations or they may lose their permanent resident status. Two years of “residency days” must be accumulated in every five-year period. Residency days need not be consecutive and may be accumulated inside or even outside Canada in the following ways:

Inside Canada:
  • By physical presence
Outside Canada:
  • By accompanying a spouse/common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen, or
  • As a child accompanying a parent, or
  • By employment on a full-time basis with a Canadian enterprise or the Public Service of Canada, or
  • By accompanying a Canadian permanent resident who is outside Canada and who is employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian enterprise or the Public Service of Canada as the employee’s spouse/common-law partner or child.

The calculation of residency days for a person who has been a Canadian permanent resident for more than five years will be limited to the five years immediately preceding the examination. Persons who have been Canadian permanent residents for less than five years must demonstrate that they will be able to meet the residency requirement during the five-year period immediately following their becoming a Canadian permanent resident.

Canadian permanent residents who plan to re-enter Canada by common carrier (plane, train, bus, boat) will have to show their Canadian Permanent Resident Card or Temporary Travel Document before boarding.

Canadian citizenship is voluntary and may be applied for after three (soon to be four) years of residence in Canada.

Canada recognizes multiple citizenship.
Canadian permanent residents may apply for a Canadian Permanent Resident Card at any time after landing in Canada. This card confirms their status as a permanent resident of Canada.

The Canadian Permanent Resident Card is a wallet-sized plastic card containing pertinent information (height, eye colour, gender, etc.) on the cardholder as well as a laser-engraved photograph and signature. Other personal data are encoded on the card and are accessible only by authorized Canadian Immigration Officials.

Canadian permanent residents planning to re-enter Canada on commercial carriers (plane, train, bus and boat) will be required to show their Permanent Resident Card to confirm their permanent resident status before boarding. Canadian Permanent Residents not in possession of a Permanent Resident Card, will have to apply for a Temporary Travel Document from the nearest Canadian Immigration Visa Office in order to travel to Canada on a commercial carrier.

Canadian permanent residents may now receive renewed cards through the mail.

A Travel Document, issued by a Canadian Immigration Visa Office, may, in certain circumstances, serve the same purpose as a Canadian Permanent Resident Card.

As a general rule for travel to Canada, all commercial carriers require Canadian Permanent Residents to show their Permanent Resident Card before boarding.

Canadian Permanent Residents, who are outside of Canada, and not in possession of a Canadian Permanent Resident Card, may apply at a Canadian Immigration Visa Office for a Travel Document that will enable them to be transported back to Canada by a commercial carrier.

Before issuing a Travel Document, the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer must be able to confirm, from the documents submitted, the identity of the applicant and that the applicant was once a Canadian Permanent Resident. In addition, the Canadian Immigration Visa Officer must be satisfied that the applicant has complied with the residency obligations of Canadian Permanent Residents.

After four years of living in Canada as a permanent resident, you may qualify to become a Canadian citizen. Learn more about the various aspects of Canadian Citizenship, and to see how we can assist with your citizenship application.

Canadians are proud of their citizenship and the status, rights, and freedoms that it provides.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the federal department that manages Canadian citizenship, both for those applying for citizenship and for current Canadian citizens.

Since 2010, Canada has welcomed an average of more than 260,000 permanent residents each year. Many of these newcomers are in the process of becoming Canadian citizens, and many more will apply for Canadian citizenship in the future. When that process is complete, they take loyalty oaths pledging their commitment to the responsibilities and privileges of Canadian citizenship.

Whether you plan on studying in Canada, or have dependents who may be attending school in Canada, getting to know how the Canadian and provincial education systems operate will be an import aspect of settling into Canadian life.

Canada is home to some of the best schools in the world.

The number of international students studying in Canada is over 300,000, a figure that is constantly growing. Many of these students are choosing Canada over other developed countries because of certain advantages that studying in Canada can bring.

Individuals who study in Canada receive a top-quality and internationally-respected education, preparing them for professional pursuits in Canada or abroad.

Yet, the cost of tuition and living fees in Canada are generally lower than in other developed countries.

Education in Canada is available to children the year they turn five (except in Ontario and Quebec, where children may start a year earlier). Depending on the province, kindergarten may be optional. The table below shows, generally speaking, the ages between which children are required to attend school (note that requirements may differ for homeschooling, which is legal across Canada).

ProvinceAge of compulsory education
AlbertaSix to 16
British ColumbiaSix to 16
ManitobaSeven to 18
New BrunswickFive to 18
NewfoundlandSix to 16
Northwest TerritoriesFive to 18
Nova ScotiaFive to 16
OntarioSix to 18
Prince Edward IslandFive to 16
QuebecSix to 16
SaskatchewanSeven to 16
YukonSix to 16
Education in English and French

International students may choose to study in either one of Canada’s two official languages. Some institutions may offer instruction in both languages, although students do not need to be fluent in both languages to attend school at any level in Canada.

Across most of Canada, the main language of school-level education is English. However, French-language education is widely available throughout the country. Regardless of the main language of instruction, French or English as a second language is generally taught from an early age.

In Quebec, students are generally required to attend school in French until the end of high school. There are some exceptions under which a child may obtain a certificate of eligibility to receive instruction in English:

  • If a child’s mother or father pursued elementary studies in English in Canada;
  • If a child, or a child’s sibling/s, has received the major part of their elementary or secondary school instruction in English in Canada (if the child’s mother or father is a Canadian citizen);
  • If a child’s mother or father attended school in Québec after August 26, 1977, and could have been declared eligible for instruction in English at that time (if the child’s mother or father is a Canadian citizen).

In addition, children whose parents are in Quebec temporarily (for example, on a work or study permit), may attend school in English.

However, generally speaking, when newcomers to Canada settles in Quebec, their children are required to attend public school in French. However, private schooling options in English may be available.