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After you Reach British Columbia


After reaching British Columbia, there are several important things you should do to help you get settled and start your new life. Here are some key tasks to consider:


  1. Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN): This is a unique nine-digit number that you will need to work in Canada, open a bank account, and access government programs and services.

  2. Apply for a Medical Services Plan (MSP): MSP is the provincial health insurance plan that covers the cost of medical services in BC. You will need to apply for MSP as soon as possible to ensure that you are covered for any necessary medical expenses.

  3. Set up a bank account: Setting up a bank account is important for managing your finances, receiving your paycheck (if you have found employment), and making necessary transactions. There are several major banks in BC to choose from.

  4. Find a place to live: Finding a place to live is one of the most important tasks after arriving in BC. You may want to consider factors such as location, transportation, cost, and the size of the apartment or house you need.

  5. Find a job: If you haven't found a job yet, you can start by researching job opportunities in your field and preparing your resume and cover letter. There are several job search websites and resources available to help you.

  6. Register your children for school: If you have children, you will need to register them for school. Public education in BC is free for children up to the age of 18, and there are several public and private schools to choose from.

  7. Get a driver's license: If you plan to drive in BC, you will need to obtain a BC driver's license. You can exchange your foreign license for a BC license or take a driving test if necessary.

  8. Get familiar with the public transportation system: Public transportation is widely available in BC, including buses, trains, and ferries. You can purchase tickets or passes at stations, online, or using mobile apps.

  9. Join local social groups or organizations: Joining local social groups or organizations can be a great way to meet new people, make friends, and get involved in your community. There are many options available, including sports teams, community groups, and cultural associations.

  10. Take time to explore your new surroundings: British Columbia is known for its natural beauty, and there are many parks, beaches, and other attractions to explore. Take time to get to know your new surroundings and enjoy all that BC has to offer.

Some Useful Links 

For new immigrants


Health Insurance / Medical


How soon will I be covered?

Before MSP coverage begins, there is a 3-month waiting period: the month in which you arrive in British Columbia, plus two full calendar months. For example, if you arrive in BC on August 25, you are eligible for MSP coverage starting November 1.

For the waiting period time, its better to take a travel / medical  insurance for that period. 

You must apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. You cannot apply for MSP before you arrive.

You can now apply for the Fair PharmaCare plan to enhance your coverage at the same time you apply for MSP. BC PharmaCare section below for details.

3. Social insurance number

4. Canadian bank account

5. Connect with your community

6. Commute

  1. Public Transportation: BC has an extensive public transportation system that includes buses, trains, ferries, and rapid transit. The public transportation system is operated by various companies such as Translink, BC Transit, and West Coast Express.

  2. Personal Vehicle: Many people in BC choose to commute in their own personal vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles.

  3. Carpooling: Carpooling is a popular option in BC, particularly in rural areas where public transportation may not be available.

  4. Taxi: One or more operators are in each city. 

  5. Walking: For short distances, walking can be an easy and convenient option. Many cities in BC have pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with sidewalks and crosswalks.

  6. Ride-sharing Services: Popular ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are available in some parts of BC. 


7. Tax filing

8. Child Care

Employment and Social Development Canada

FOREIGN WORKER RIGHTS To obtain information on the rights of people temporarily working in Canada, see ‘Understand Your Rights – Foreign Workers’ at


REPORTING ABUSE OR MISUSE To report abuse or misuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, see the ‘Online Fraud Reporting Tool’ at or call the Service Canada Confidential Tip Line at 1-866-602-9448. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

Before moving to British Columbia


If you are planning to move to British Columbia, there are several important things you should do before you arrive to help you prepare for your move. Here are some key tasks to consider:


  1. Find a place to live: Start your search for a place to live before you arrive. Research neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and rental properties in your price range, and start communicating with landlords or property managers to set up viewings.

  2. Research schools and childcare options: If you have children, research schools and childcare options in the area you plan to live. This will give you an idea of what options are available and help you plan accordingly.

  3. Arrange for transportation: If you plan to drive in BC, you will need to obtain a BC driver's license, and you may want to consider arranging for car insurance before you arrive. If you plan to use public transportation, research transportation options and purchase tickets or passes in advance.

  4. Obtain necessary documentation: Make sure you have all the necessary documentation you will need to enter Canada, such as a valid passport, visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA), and any required permits or certifications.

  5. Set up banking and financial accounts: If you plan to open a bank account or need to transfer money to Canada, start this process before you arrive. This will help you avoid any unnecessary delays or fees.

  6. Research employment opportunities: If you plan to work in BC, research employment opportunities in your field and start applying for jobs before you arrive. This will give you a head start on the job search process and help you secure employment sooner.

  7. Learn about healthcare and insurance: BC has a public healthcare system, but you may want to consider purchasing additional health insurance or travel insurance before you arrive to ensure that you have adequate coverage.

  8. Learn about the culture and customs: British Columbia has a unique culture and customs, and it's important to learn about these before you arrive. This will help you adjust to your new surroundings and make the transition smoother.

  9. Connect with local resources: Research local resources and organizations that can help you settle into BC, such as immigrant services, community centers, and cultural associations. These resources can provide valuable information and support as you adjust to your new home.

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