Immediately after arriving in Canada, you should apply for important Canadian documents such as a Social Insurance Number, a Permanent Resident card, a Health Insurance card, and a Driver’s License.
In this section, you will find the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about these documents.
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Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- What is a SIN?
A SIN is a unique, nine-digit number issued to only one person in the form of a wallet-sized plastic card.
- Why do I need a SIN?
A SIN card enables you to work in Canada and receive government services. For example, the SIN is used for income tax purposes by the Canada Revenue Agency.
- Where can I obtain a SIN?
The fastest way to get your SIN is to submit your application at a local Service Canada Centre. To find the nearest office, visit Service Canada or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232).
- What should I do if I lose my SIN?
If you lose your SIN card or it’s stolen, you should contact Service Canada immediately. With their guidance, you will be able to apply for a new SIN card based on your individual circumstances.
- Can I have information about SIN in languages other than English and French?
Yes, Service Canada offers information on select programs and services in several languages besides English and French.
- Where can I find more information about my SIN?
Everything you need to know about your SIN is here.
Permanent Resident Card (PR Card)
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- What is a PR Card?
The PR Card is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada.
- Why do I need a PR Card?
All permanent residents of Canada need this card to re-enter Canada by airplane, boat, train, or bus.
- Where can I obtain a PR card?
The PR card is available through Citizenship and Immigration Canada:. If you’re a new permanent resident, you will automatically receive your new card as part of the immigration process and you do not need to apply separately for the PR card.
- How will my card be delivered to me?
If you’re a new permanent resident, you will receive your Permanent Resident Card by mail.
- Does the PR Card have an expiration date?
Yes, the PR Card expires every five years. Check the expiry date and apply for a new one well before you plan to travel outside of Canada.
- My PR card was lost/stolen. How do I apply for a new PR card?
You should follow the instructions on this page
- Where do I get more information about the PR card?
For more information about the PR card, please visit this site.
Health Insurance Card
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- Do I need to pay for my Health Insurance?
Most of the public healthcare services in Canada are paid for through your taxes. You can use Canada’s public health care system, known as Medicare, by simply presenting your Health Insurance Card. In some provinces, you will have to pay a small monthly fee for this insurance. For the services not covered under the government health insurance plans, such as dental costs or private hospital rooms, the cost of prescription drugs, dental care, ambulance services, and prescription eyeglasses, you should have private health insurance. Note that some employers may offer additional health insurance for a monthly deduction from your paycheque.
- Where do I apply for a Health Insurance Card (HIC)?
Health insurance is a national service, but the healthcare programs are run by the provincial ministries of health. You will get your health card from the province in which you live.
- How do I get an Ontario Health Card?
You can either go in person to your nearest Health Card Services – OHIP office or call ServiceOntario INFOline at 1-800-664-8988 and ask for information about Outreach Registration sites. You can check out the eligibility criteria and find out more about Ontario health card.
- Where do I get my application form?
You can get an application form at a doctor’s office, a hospital, a pharmacy, or an immigrant-serving organization. You can also get forms from the provincial ministry responsible for health listed in the blue pages of your telephone book.
- What documents do I need to show when applying?
You will need to show some identification, such as your birth certificate or passport, or your Confirmation of Permanent Residence. The permanent resident (PR) card may also be presented.
- How long will I have to wait for my HIC?
If you live in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, oe New Brunswick, you will have a three-month eligibility waiting period, which begins on the day your application is received. You’re advised to apply for a HIC as soon as you arrive in Canada and get temporary private health insurance coverage for the three-month waiting period. You will easily find private insurance companies in the yellow pages of the telephone book in the section of “Insurance”. Some private insurance companies, like Blue Cross, ETFS and TIC, offer individual health insurance for new immigrants and people who don’t have OHIP. You can also browse CLHIA’s membership to find other companies.
- Can I use my HIC for all the members of my family?
No. Each member of your family needs his or her own health insurance card.
- Can I use my HIC in other provinces/territories?
Your HIC can be used in the province where you live. If you move to another province, you will need to apply for a new card. However, you can use your card if you’re visiting another province in case of a medical emergency.
- During the medical examination before becoming a Canadian resident, I was told I needed a follow-up medical examination. What does this mean?
This means that once you get to Canada, you must report, by telephone, to the public health authority of the province or territory where you live (you will find this number in the blue pages of your telephone book) within 30 days of entering Canada. This is known as medical surveillance for those who have an inactive infectious disease.
- Which number do I call for emergency help?
If you need urgent medical help, dial the emergency number 911 or 0.
- Where can I find assistance if I have a complaint about a health insurance service?
You can turn to OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance, a national independent complaint resolution and information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance products and services.
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- Where do I apply for a Driver’s Licence?
Each Canadian province and territory has its own driver’s licence. To obtain one, you will have to contact the Provincial or Territorial government where you are settling. Here are the links for the official sites of the Provinces and Territories: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut.
- I am planning to settle in Ontario, so how do I apply for a Driver’s License?
To apply for an Ontario Driver’s Licence, you will be required to show proof of your legal name, date of birth (day, month, and year of birth), and signature. Documents must be original and valid. Copies, including certified copies, are not acceptable. For more information, please visit the official page
- Am I permitted to drive in Ontario with a Driver’s License from another country?
You are legally allowed to drive in Ontario for 60 days after arrival, at which time you are required to apply for an Ontario Driver’s license to drive legally in Ontario.