Table of Contents


– Neighborhoods

– Recreation and Leisure

– Waterloo

– Recreation

– Kitchener

Government Guide

Arriving at Pearson Airport

Transporting Pets


– Private Health Insurance

– OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan)

– Family Doctor


– Short Term Accommodation

– Long Term Accommodation

Cost of Living

Public Transportation

Important Documents and Banks

Transferring Money Overseas



Other Info


Considered the ‘Twin Cities’, Kitchener and Waterloo are in the province of Ontario. Both cities emerge as national leaders in technology, education, commerce and community living. Although, they have separate municipal governments.

Government Guide

The following link gives you access to the government guide on how to settle life in Ontario.

Newcomer’s Guide – Waterloo Region

Newcomer’s Guide – Ontario

Find information in your language

Arriving at Waterloo Region

Most international travelers arrive at Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto. The airport is 1.5 hour away from Waterloo Region by car. You can take Uber Black, book a seat with Airways Transit or another shuttle service, taxi, limousine companies.

Ground Transportation Pearson International Airport (YYZ)

Transporting Pets

Cats and dogs will need a rabies vaccination and you have to bring them with the vaccination certificate. How the certificate should look like is under the following links, as well as container guidelines. Dogs Cats Other Animals


After arrival, when you have your permit handy, you will be able to apply for the government health card (OHIP). However, your coverage may start three months after your arrival date in Ontario. You should get private health care insurance while you wait.

Private Health Insurance

Option 1 – You can find an insurance company in your country and ask its representatives to quote the coverage for you.

Option 2 – You can get a quote from a company operating in Canada:

CAA.        Blue Cross.       Allianz

OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan)

The application can be done online. You will have to upload documents according to your status in Canada.

Family Doctor

In Canada, there are walk-in clinics and hospitals in case of emergency. However, you and/or your family need to find a family doctor to be responsible for your care.

How to find a family doctor in Ontario


In Canada, apartments for rent are usually available to move in on the 1st day of the month. My suggestion is to start looking for advertisement based on the date you will arrive. If you arrive past the 15th of the month, book visits to see places upon arrival.

Short Term Accommodation

  • airbnb
  • vrbo
  • canada stays
  • homeaway
  • premier suits

Long Term Accommodation

Popular websites to find places to rent (Always book visits to check the place in person – Attention to scams):

kijiji        padmapper        rent faster

Cost of Living

The following links give access to simulation of cost of living by city:

numbeo         expatistan         government of canada

Important Documents and Banks

1) SIN (Social Insurance Number) – The link SIN will help you to find the closest Service Canada Office. Required documents: passport and permit (original) + inform your address.

2) The Ontario Photo Card (wallet photo card for those who do not have local driver’s licence. It is easier to open a bank account if you have it). Required documents: passport and permit (original) + inform your address + pay fee.

3) The 5 biggest Banks are TD, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Bank of Montreal (BMO), Scotiabank, and CIBC. They do offer packages for newcomers. (You can check the links below). Just keep in mind that you need to build a credit score in Canada if you want to buy a house or apply for a mortgage in the future, for example. The credit card is one way of building the score and the banks’ representatives will be able to explain it in detail.

Scotiabank      TD      RBC      CIBC       BMO

4) Driver’s Licence. “New residents to Ontario with a valid driver’s licence from another province, state or country can use it for 60 days after you move to Ontario.” Find out more about it.

Transferring Money Overseas

Tips: Transferwise WesternUnion


Settlement – Education Ontario

The Newcomer’s Guide to Elementary School in Ontario

The Newcomer’s Guide to Secondary School in Ontario

The price of the rent will be higher depending on the school of the neighborhood. If it is a good school, the probability is that the rents will be more expensive in the area.

In Ontario, children who are 6-18 years old must attend school, and at age 4 children can begin full day kindergarten program.

Waterloo Region District School Board (take google reviews based on the neighborhood you choose and go in person to visit them).

*Registrations in the Waterloo Region are done online by creating an account as a first step.

Waterloo Region District School Board

Schools will request the following documents’ copies for parent with Work Permit:

● Your Work Permit (and passport)

● Child’s passport

● Proof of residence in Waterloo Region ( a rental agreement or utility bill)

● Proof of baptism may be required at catholic schools

Tip: Collect copies of the documents and ask for authentication at any notary’s office in your country. You do not need to translate the documents.

If both parents are working, there is a service called ‘Before & After School’ available. Programs are offered from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday (except March Break and the non-statutory week at Christmas).

The province of Ontario also has EarlyON centres with drop-in programs for children from birth to 6 years old. It is a place to engage in activities, find information and connect with other families.

Tip: Public libraries have many activities for kids. You can use it as a weekend leisure activity for them.


Please, refer to the links below:

Tax Guide

Tax Calculator

Other Info

Renting a home in Canada? Who is involved?

The following link explains general terms, how to find a place, moving in and signing a lease, paying the rent, rent increases and moving out.

Renting a home in Canada

My partner has work permit. Can he or she study english?

According to the CIC website, she can study without a study permit if the program of study is 6 months or less – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/answer.asp?qnum=484&top=15

English Programs

Are there places where I can find my country’s food?

Yes, there are. The following links give you access to a list of grocery stores and how to find restaurants in the Waterloo Region.

Ethnic Foods and Groceries

Restaurants in Waterloo by TripAdvisor

Restaurants in Kitchener by TripAdvisor

My partner will look for jobs. Is there any support?

Your partner can find help at your local public library and on the immigration website (attention to services restricted to permanent residents and refugees). There are also employment agencies in the region, events or meetups to build networking, and the option of interacting with local people through volunteering (check Link 1 and Link 2).

What are the emergency numbers in the region?

Waterloo Regional Police

Emergency and Crisis Support

What are the biggest cell phone and internet providers in Canada?

National Internet Providers – Telus, Bell and Rogers

VOIP Phones & Internet Service Providers

Mobile companies – Rogers, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin, Mobilicity/Chatr, Wind, Koodo and PC Mobile. The best, cheapest cell phone plans in Canada in Canada in 2018, according to Global News.

What are the Car Sharing Services in Canada?

In many canadian cities it is possible to find an alternative means of transportation, besides public transportation, bikes and taxis. They are the car sharing services, which require subscription fees and offer automobiles of different brands and sizes. Region of Waterloo – Community Car Share

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