Resource Centre​

Immigrating to Canada​

As a newcomer to Canada, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start in terms of getting all your personal documentation setup, who to ask for guidance, establishing the appropriate bank accounts, and learning about the area and neighbourhoods you’ll be living in.

At Synergy Lab, we want you to succeed in whatever’s next in your journey. With that in mind, we’ve put together an ever-growing list of resources you might find helpful during your transition. Our hope is to make your to-do list a little less stressful!

For general information about living in Canada, scroll through our robust library of resources below. To access information more specific to your (new) local community, select the city you’ll be residing in below.

For general information about living in Canada, scroll through our robust library of resources below.

To access information more specific to your (new) local community, select the city you’ll be residing in below.

Toronto

Toronto

Kingston

Kingston

Durham

Durham

Ottawa

Ottawa

Simcoe County

Simcoe County

London

London

Peterborough

Peterborough

Port Hope

Port Hope

Canada

Federal Services Information & FAQ

Driving License

How do I get my Canadian driver’s license?

In order to legally drive a vehicle in Canada, you’re required to obtain a valid driver’s license issued by the government of your province or territory.

Language Skills

Where can I find resources to improve my English?

Learning English as a Second Language (ESL) can have its challenges, but there are many resources in place to help you improve.

Community

How do I connect with my community?

Living in a new place can be overwhelming. Meeting people in your community will help you feel more at home. Find more information on Settlement Services, local community centres, places of worship, your neighbourhood and more.

Obtaining a Social Insurance Number (SIN) in Canada

  • Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents require a SIN.
  • Children aged 12 or older can apply for their SIN. Parents, guardians, or representatives can apply for those under the age of majority or in their care.
  • SIN can be applied to as soon as you land – at the airport
  • Necessary for working in Canada or accessing government benefits and services.
  • Can be used as a form of ID to open a bank account, get a sim card
  • Keep your SIN record updated if it starts with a “9.”
  • If your SIN expires, you can continue working if your immigration status is maintained during processing.
  • Apply to Service Canada with your new immigration document to update your SIN expiry date.
  • Provide your SIN to your employer for work and accessing government benefits like Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
  • Apply for a SIN within 3 days of starting work.
  • Identify employees correctly and ensure they have a valid SIN.
  • SIN is crucial for administering government benefits under the Income Tax Act, Canada Pension Plan Act, and Employment Insurance Act.
  • In person: Fill out a service request form online.
  • By mail: mail your SIN application Service Canada Social Insurance Registration Office PO Box 7000 Bathurst NB E2A 4T1 Canada If you submit your application by mail, we will return your documents by mail once your application is complete. Service Canada is not responsible for documents lost in the mail.
  • Online: Submit digital copies of valid and clear documents in English/French.
  • Airport: Fill in form at the service Canada Booth at Pearson Airport.
  1. Primary identity document (choose one):
    • Work permit, study permit, or visitor record issued by IRCC or CIC.
    • Diplomatic identity card with work authorization from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
  1. Secondary document (choose one):
    • Passport (Canadian/foreign), Canadian ID card, driver’s license, or any Canadian government-issued ID.
  1. Supporting document (if name differs from SIN application):
    • Marriage/divorce certificates, legal change of name document, adoption orders, etc.
  1. Primary identity document for parent/guardian (same as above).
  2. Secondary document for parent/guardian (same as above).
  3. Legal guardianship document (for guardians only).
  4. Supporting document (if name differs from SIN application).
  5. Primary identity document for the child (same as above).
  6. Supporting document for the child (if name differs from SIN application).

Health Care

Do I need a Canadian health card? Stay healthy while living in Canada by ensuring you have the proper documentation and health insurance in place needed to access health care. 

  • Physically in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period.
  • Physically in Ontario for 153 days of the first 183 days after moving to Ontario.
  • Make Ontario your primary residence.

Additional Requirements (At Least 1):

  • Canadian citizen.
  • Indigenous person (registered under the federal Indian Act).
  • Permanent resident (formerly “landed immigrant”).
  • Applying for permanent residence in Canada and meet eligibility criteria.
  • Working full-time in Ontario on valid work permit for 6 months.
  • Live-in Caregiver Program work permit holder.
  • Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program work permit holder.
  • Convention refugee or protected person.
  • Hold Temporary Resident Permit (certain cases).
  • Clergy member ministering full-time in Ontario for 6 months.

In Ontario on a valid work permit and are working full-time in Ontario, for an Ontario employer, for at least 6 months

  • Health plans vary by province/territory
  • Appointments with your family doctor
  • Visits to walk-in clinics and some other health care providers
  • Visits to an emergency room
  • Medical tests and surgeries
  • Not for use as ID.
  • Services covered for all, with some restrictions based on immigration status.

You must apply for OHIP in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

You will need to bring these documents with you:

  1. A completed Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage form
  2. One original document that proves your Canadian citizenship or OHIP-eligible immigration status
    • For applicants for permanent residence
      • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) letter (IRCC used to be called Citizenship and Immigration Canada, or CIC). The letter must:
      • Be on IRCC letterhead, addressed to you as applicant
      • State IRCC has confirmed you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada and you have not yet been denied.
      • IRCC document (e.g. work permit, visitor record, temporary resident permit or study permit), with a note confirming all three of the following. You have:
      • Applied for permanent residence
      • Met the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residence
      • Have not been denied
  1. A second, different document needs to prove you live in Ontario – choose one from this list. You may show an original, printed version (no photocopies) or digital image:
    • Valid Ontario driver’s licence original documents
    • Temporary driver’s licence original documents
    • Only if accompanied by photo licence card with the same address original documents
    • Valid Ontario Photo Card original documents
    • Utility bill (e.g. cable TV, hydro, gas, water)
    • Monthly bank account statements
    • Employer record (e.g. pay stub, letter from employer on company letterhead)
    • Insurance policy (e.g. home, tenant, auto or life)
    • Mortgage, rental or lease agreement
    • Ontario motor vehicle permit (plate or vehicle portions)
    • Property tax bill
    • Phone bill (e.g. home phone, cell phone)
    • Credit card statement
  2. One original document that proves your identity. These documents must include your name and signature. Choose one from this list:
    • Credit card
    • Valid Ontario driver’s licence or temporary driver’s licence
    • Valid Ontario Photo Card
    • Canadian Immigration Identification Card
    • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (plastic card)
    • Certificate of Indian Status (paper or plastic card)
    • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292)
      • Only if signature is shown
    • Current employee ID card
    • Current professional association licence
    • Old Age Security Card
    • Ontario motor vehicle permit (plate portion only)
    • Passport (Canadian or foreign)
    • Permanent Resident Card
      • Only if signature is shown
    • Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
    • Student ID card union card

How to Obtain a Health Card in Ontario

  • Health plans vary by province/territory.
  • appointments with your family doctor
  • visits to walk-in clinics and some other healthcare providers
  • visits to an emergency room
  • medical tests and surgeries
  • Not for use as ID.
  • services covered for all, with some restrictions based on immigration status.

You must apply for OHIP in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

To meet the minimum qualifications:

  • With an open work permit (proof of full-time employment for an employer in Ontario is required – restrictions apply)
    • this must be an original or digital document (contract or letter) on employer company letterhead signed and dated by the employer and state:
      • that the employee is working full-time
      • the title/occupation of the position
      • the start date of employment, and
      • that the employer intends to employ the employee for a minimum of six (6) months (the letter can state the employee is permanent. However, this does not replace the criteria to confirm “Full Time”)
  • With a closed work permit, the only documents required are the work permit itself and the job offer indicating the job title and that it is a full-time role.

In addition to the above-mentioned document(s).

  1. Proof of residency in Ontario. A document needs to prove you live in Ontario – choose one from this list. You may show an original, printed version (no photocopies) or digital image:
  • Valid Ontario driver’s licence
  • Temporary driver’s licence
    • Only if accompanied by a photo licence card with the same address
  • Valid Ontario Photo Card
  • Utility bill (e.g. cable TV, hydro, gas, water)
  • Monthly bank account statements 
    • Does not include receipts, bank books, letters or automated teller receipts
  • Employer record (e.g. pay stub, letter from employer on company letterhead)
  • School, college or university report card or transcript
  • Child Tax Benefit statement
  • Most recent income tax Notice of Assessment
  • Insurance policy (e.g. home, tenant, auto or life)
  • Mortgage, rental or lease agreement
  • Ontario motor vehicle permit (plate or vehicle portions)
  • Property tax bill
  • Phone bill (e.g. home phone, cell phone)
  • Credit card statement
  • Statement of direct deposit for Ontario Works or for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Statement of Employment Insurance Benefits Paid (T4E)
  • Statement of Old Age Security (T4A) or statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits (T4A) (P)
  • Any of the following statements from a bank, trust company or credit union:
    • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)
    • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)
    • Registered Home Ownership Savings Plan (RHOSP)
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Statement of Benefits (T5007)
  • Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions

 

Only original documents will be accepted for:

  • Valid Ontario driver’s licence
  • Temporary driver’s licence 
    • Only if accompanied by a photo licence card with the same address
  • Valid Ontario Photo Card
  • Ontario motor vehicle permit (plate or vehicle portions)

 

  1. Proof of identity. A document needs to prove who you are. These documents must include your name and signature. Choose one from this list:
  • Credit card
  • Valid Ontario driver’s licence or temporary driver’s licence
  • Valid Ontario Photo Card
  • Canadian Immigration Identification Card
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (plastic card)
  • Certificate of Indian Status (paper or plastic card)
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292)
    • Only if a signature is shown
  • Current employee ID card
  • Current professional association licence
  • Old Age Security Card
  • Ontario motor vehicle permit (plate portion only)
  • Passport (Canadian or foreign)
  • Permanent Resident Card
    • Only if a signature is shown
  • Record of Landing (IMM 1000)
  • Student ID card
  • Union card

 

Once you have the required documents ready, you need to book an appointment with Service Ontario through their website as all their offices don’t provide OHIP services.

Here’s the link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/book-serviceontario-appointment

Upon providing all the required documents and if you are eligible, you will be issued a temporary card on the spot while the physical card will get delivered to your home address.

Newcomer’s Guide to Obtaining a Network Connection in Canada

Before you begin, it’s essential to understand a few key concepts related to obtaining a SIM card in Canada:

  • SIM Card: A Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card is a small chip that you insert into your mobile phone to connect to a cellular network.
  • Service Providers: There are several mobile service providers in Canada, offering various plans and packages for voice, text, and data services.
  • Prepaid vs. Postpaid: Prepaid plans require you to pay in advance for usage, while postpaid plans bill you at the end of the billing cycle.
  • Canada has several major service providers, each offering different plans, coverage areas, and features. Here’s a closer look at the service providers and their coverage:

    1. Rogers: Known for its widespread coverage and availability in urban and rural areas. Rogers offers strong network quality with a focus on high-speed data.
    2. Bell: Offers extensive coverage and fast data speeds. Bell’s network is known for reliability, making it suitable for both urban and suburban regions.
    3. Telus: Similar to Bell, Telus provides reliable coverage and high-speed data services. It’s recognized for its excellent customer service and network quality.
    4. Fido: Operates on the Rogers network, offering good coverage and affordable plans. Fido’s network is well-suited for urban areas.
    5. Koodo: Also operates on the Telus network, offering competitive plans with decent coverage. Koodo is a popular choice for budget-conscious users.
    6. Virgin Mobile: Uses the Bell network, providing reliable coverage and high-speed data services. Virgin Mobile offers various plans with additional perks.

Once you’ve selected a service provider, explore their available plans to find one that suits your needs. Consider factors such as data allowance, talk time, text messaging, international calling, and additional features.

  • You have two main options for getting a device:

    • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): If you already have a compatible unlocked phone, you can bring it to the service provider and simply get a SIM card. This option provides more flexibility and control over your device.
    • Buying a Device on Contract: If you need a new phone, you can choose to buy a device on contract. This means you’ll pay for the phone in installments along with your monthly plan. Contracts typically have a fixed term and may come with additional services or discounts.

You can obtain a SIM card or purchase a new device either by visiting a retail store or by ordering online through the service provider’s website. If you’re bringing your own device, let the provider know so they can assist you with the right SIM card.

As a newcomer, you will need to provide identification to purchase and activate a SIM card or a new device. Accepted forms of identification usually include a passport, driver’s license, or other government-issued ID. Additionally, since newcomers might not have a credit card right away, you might be asked to provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN) for identification purposes.-add proof of address.

If you’re bringing your own device, insert the SIM card, power on your phone, and follow the activation prompts. If you’re buying a new device on contract, the provider will activate the phone for you.

After activation, your phone should connect to the network. If not, you might need to adjust your phone’s settings. Your service provider’s website or customer service can guide you through this process.

Keep an eye on your usage through the service provider’s app or website. If you’re on a postpaid plan or device contract, pay your bills on time to avoid service interruption.

Used Car Buying Guide

  • Local dealerships and their websites
  • Online marketplace
  • Facebook marketplace – set location to where you can travel if need to pick
  • autotrader.ca
  • Kijiji autos
  • Auto123.com
  • Clutch.ca
  • Craigslist
  • What’s the condition of the car and the current mileage?
  • Has anything on the car been replaced or updated?
  • Information of previous owners
  • Did the car have regular oil changes and maintenance?
  • Do you have a CARFAX Canada report?
  • Can I see the VIN, the vehicle ownership, and your identification?
  • How long of a test drive can I take?
  • Can I take the car for an independent inspection?
  • Can we fix the small issues (if any) before purchase?
  • Account for Sales Tax: If buying privately factor in sales tax for vehicle registration.
  • Ask Detailed Questions: Inquire about past damage, repairs, and any issues discovered during the inspection.
  • When you buy a vehicle, ensure the seller gives you:
    • The vehicle portion of the owner’s permit with the completed portion on the back
    • Used Vehicle Information Package, including the Bill of Sale with the name of the seller and purchase price.
      • the Bill of Sale must be signed and dated by both the buyer and seller

Generate a Carfax report prior to purchasing a vehicle to gain vehicle history.

  • https://www.carfax.ca/
  • Pricing: $46.95 for just the vehicle history report. $64.95 for the vehicle history report and a lien check. $104.95 for three vehicle history reports and one lien check.
  • Carfax report will list the following:
  • Major accidents
  • Frame and structural damage
  • Hail damage
  • Flood damage
  • Airbag deployment
  • Money owed on the vehicle (lien)
  • Vehicle theft
  • Service records
  • Repair estimates and costs
  • Open safety recalls
  • Odometer readings
  • Where Can You Get an Inspection?
    1. Dealership: Onsite or independent mechanic.
    2. Private Seller: Independent mechanic, trusted service center, or recommended shops.
  • What Does the Inspection Cover?
    1. Safety check.
    2. Detailed inspection (recommended) including engine, mechanical systems, components, leaks, etc.
    3. Test drive to evaluate steering, braking, and sounds.
  • Handling Damage Discovery:
    1. Ensure damage history (if any) aligns with a CARFAX Canada report.
    2. If the seller conceals damage, reconsider the deal’s legitimacy.
  • Inspection Cost and Payment:
    1. Typically paid by the buyer ($100-$200 approx.)

Car insurance plans in Ontario are through private insurance companies. You cannot drive a car in Ontario without insurance.

There are 3 options when looking to purchase car insurance.

  1. Bank/Credit Union: Offers products from their institution.
  2. Insurance Company Direct: Offers products from one insurance company.
  3. Broker: Represents multiple insurance companies.

You can use online platforms like Sonnet or comparison sites like rates.ca to find the best rates for your budget.

You must register your car within 6 days of purchase at a Service Ontario.

  • Pricing: Vehicle permit (all vehicles): $32, Licence plate (new and replacement), with permit: $59

 

To find a location visit https://www.ontario.ca/locations/serviceontario

To register a vehicle and get a permit and licence plate, you need:

  • Your Ontario driver’s licence or your registrant identification number (RIN), if you do not have a driver’s licence
  • Proof of identity (legal name, date of birth and signature)
  • The completed used vehicle information package (only when registering a passenger vehicle, light commercial vehicle, self-propelled motor home or motorcycle)
  • Proof of purchase (for example, a receipt from the seller or portion of used vehicle information package that can be used as a bill of sale)
  • Proof of insurance from an insurance provider licensed in Ontario
  • The original vehicle permit from seller with completed transfer portion
  • The plate portion of the permit, if you already have a licence plate you would like to attach to the vehicle

 

To ensure your vehicle is fit for the road, you will need a:

Durham

  1. True North Automobiles- 184 King St W, Oshawa, ON L1J 2J2, +19055768111, http://www.truenorthautomobiles.ca/
  2. Auto Plus Car Sales- 437 Simcoe St S, Oshawa, ON L1H 4J5, +14166764941, http://www.autopluscarsales.ca/
  3. Davey Auto Sales- 99 Bloor St E, Oshawa, ON L1H 3M3, +19057202277, https://www.daveyautosales.com/

Toronto

  1. Autorama- 1205 Finch Ave W, Toronto, ON M3J 2E8, +18667817443, https://www.autorama.ca/
  2. Canadian Fine Motors- 1882 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1R 2Y5, +16473333222, http://www.canadianfinemotors.ca/
  3. Nexus Auto Sales- 1235 Finch Ave W, Toronto, ON M3J 2G4, +14166338188, https://www.nexcar.ca/

Kingston

  1. Taylor AutoMall- 2440 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7M 3G4, +16135491311, https://www.taylorautomall.com/
  2. Carloft Kingston- 811 Gardiners Rd, Kingston, ON K7M 7E6, +16133845638, https://www.carloft.ca/
  3. MyCar Kingston- 1390 Princess St, Kingston, ON K7M 3E5, +18888089984, http://www.mycar.ca/

Simcoe County

  1. D. Coates Used Car Superstore- 425 Dunlop St W, Barrie, ON L4N 1C3, +17057282422, https://www.gdcoatessuperstore.ca/
  2. AutoPark Barrie- 2496 Doral Dr, Innisfil, ON L9S 0A3, +17054316500, https://www.autoparkbarrie.ca/en
  3. Canada’s Motors Place- 572 Yonge St, Barrie, ON L4N 4E4, +17057282277, http://www.canadasmotors.ca/

Ottawa

  1. Janex Auto Sales & Services- 1470 Hunt Club Rd, Ottawa, ON K1T 1M6, +16132600373, http://www.janexauto.com/
  2. Canada Sagh Auto Sales- 1520 Michael St, Ottawa, ON K1B 3S1, +16132618145, http://canadasagh.com/
  3. Central City Auto Sales- 992 Merivale Rd, Ottawa, ON K1Z 6A4, +16137379696, https://www.centralcityautosales.com/

Government

ServiceOntario

ServiceOntario is a government agency that offers a wide range of online and in-person services to residents and businesses in Ontario, Canada, including driver’s license renewals, health card applications, and birth certificate requests.

ServiceCanada

Service Canada is a government agency that provides a variety of federal services and benefits to Canadian citizens, including employment insurance, social insurance numbers, and pension information.

EarlyON

EarlyON Centres across Ontario offer free, inclusive spaces providing activities, professional advice on child development, information on community family services, and opportunities to connect with other families, available on various days and times.

Housing

Kijiji

Finding the right rental apartment involves exploring various options, such as online resources like Kijiji or Home Base Housing Apartment Listings, as well as reaching out to landlords or real estate agents. Additionally, consider seeking advice from friends and family who might know of vacancies.

Transportation

VIA Rail

VIA Rail connections for national rail travel.

Uber & Lyft

Uber and Lyft are taxi services where individuals can hail a taxi in an app on their phone.

Banking

Royal Bank of Canada(RBC)

A leading Canadian bank offering a wide range of financial services, including banking, investments, and insurance, both domestically and internationally.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)

Known for its extensive branch network and digital banking services, TD Bank provides a diverse range of financial products and services to individuals and businesses.

Scotiabank(Bank of Nova Scotia)

A global bank with a significant presence in Canada, offering various banking solutions and international banking services, particularly in Latin America. 

Bank of Montreal(BMO)

One of Canada’s oldest banks, BMO provides a comprehensive suite of financial services, including personal banking, wealth management, and commercial banking.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce(CIBC)

Offering a variety of financial products and services, CIBC is known for its strong retail and business banking divisions and customer-focused approach.

National Bank of Canada

As one of Canada’s largest banks, National Bank provides a broad range of banking services and financial solutions, with a significant presence in

Canada welcomes you! Want to learn more about living and working here? View and download the “Welcome to Canada: What You Should Know” document for more information.