As a new Canadian, you may experience many emotions in the first few days such as stress, confusion, and even excitement. It is hoped this guide will make your settlement in your new country less stressful.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit identification number given to residents of Canada for the purpose of income tax, employment insurance, old age pension, and other income security benefits. You must have a SIN to work in Canada. Most newcomers receive an application form for a SIN card when they first arrive to Canada. If you didn’t get one, you can apply at Human Resources and Social Development Canada (101 22nd Street East). HRSDC encourages you to apply for your SIN card in person at their office, as you will be requested to provide an original or certified copy of a primary document that proves your identity and status in Canada. You will need to show your birth certificate, Canada Immigration visa (Record of Landing) and passport. No fee is charged for a first-time application for a SIN card. The card will be mailed to you and the members of your family within three weeks from applying for it. Never give your SIN over the phone unless you initiated the phone call. Keep this card in a safe place and if possible memorize your number.
Saskatchewan Health Services Card
Medical services in Saskatchewan are available throughout the province from hospitals, doctors and other health care providers. Persons without health insurance coverage are charged directly for the services. Each person carries a personal health card, which must be shown at the reception desk of the doctor or hospital.
If you are married, you may register yourself, your spouse and all dependants under 18 years of age who are in Saskatchewan. If you are single and 18 years of age or over, you must register separately.
For identification Saskatchewan Health requires a photocopy (or original) of TWO of the documents listed below from non-Canadian citizens. Health Registration will return all original documents.
• Canada Immigration papers for newcomers to Canada (Record of Landing, Work Permit, Study Permit, etc.)
• Birth Certificate
• Photographic Identification Card
You will be requested to fill in the application forms to obtain the cards. Make sure you have someone with you if you think your English language skills are not sufficient. With permanent residence status and with a work permit, you are eligible to apply immediately. Don’t wait! You should apply for your card during your first week in Saskatchewan in order to avoid complications of being uninsured for medical services.
Application forms to register for a Saskatchewan Health Services card are available online (http://www.health.gov.sk.ca/how-to-register) and from the offices of administrators of towns, villages, rural municipalities and Saskatchewan Health Registration. New residents to Saskatchewan can complete this application form and mail it together with the appropriate identification to Health Registration, 100 - 1942 Hamilton Street, Regina, SK S4P4W2
Your Saskatchewan Health Services card is very important in ensuring confidentiality by applying your personal health number to all of your health documents. All of your personal history is safeguarded by your personal health number. In addition, the personal health number helps to correctly identify you when receiving medical treatment and thus maintain patient safety. There are often many people who have the same or nearly the same name. The provincial health card helps to supply correct information on each patient.
Most Canadians keep their money in the bank. A bank account is a safe place to keep your money. Banks provide you with a debit card, let you write cheques, earn interest, apply for credit, and pay your bills. These financial services are also offered by credit unions and trust companies. Most banks have many types of accounts, and you can discuss with them which type best suits your needs. To open an account, you should be prepared to provide certain kinds of personal information, such as your passport, or your SIN card. The same information will be requested at any bank.
There is a great deal of free information available to you from your bank, including financial advice. It will range from how to open an account, how to manage your money, how to use bank machines, and how to save for your children’s education. You can call the Canadian Bankers Association to obtain free copies of their publications using a toll-free number 1‑800-263-0231 or you can visit their website at www.cba.ca.
Along with credit unions, in Saskatchewan exist branches of Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, TD Canada Trust, Royal Bank of Canada, as well as others
Additiona information on Banking can be found by clicking here
Utilities: Telephone, Power, Water and Gas
Whether you rent or buy, you will need to sign up for various basic services, telephone service, gas, electricity, and water supply. In cities, most homes are heated by natural gas and apartments are heated by hot-water radiators. You will need to contact the following companies to arrange for service hook-up:
You will want to get a telephone installed quickly. SaskTel operates locally in Saskatchewan, and normally has phone centres in all shopping centres (malls). You can visit them to have your telephone service connected. There is a $35 charge to connect a home telephone. The cost of making local calls is covered by the monthly service fee, which is currently about $22.00 per month plus taxes.
Long distance and overseas calls are not covered by this monthly fee, and can be costly. Many telephone companies offer special plans, which can reduce the costs of long-distance calls. Phone cards, which can be used to call anywhere from any phone including public phones, are a cost-effective way to reduce long-distance charges. Canada is a very large country, so even if you are calling within the same province, long-distance charges may apply. Word of mouth and asking other recent immigrants about their service is usually your best source of information.
SaskPower (Electrical Utility)............................ 1-888-757-6937
SaskPower is the provincial power company, which provides electricity to most homes in Saskatchewan. However, this service is shared in Saskatoon with the City of Saskatoon-owned Saskatoon Light and Power.
Saskatoon Light & Power.............................................. 1-306-975-2414
222 3rd Avenue North
The City of Saskatoon operates an electric utility providing electrical service to the area of Saskatoon which lies generally within the 1958 City boundary. To find out if your electricity will be provided by Saskatoon Light & Power or SaskPower, contact the City of Saskatoon at 975-2414.
Also, the City of Saskatoon Utility Services provides water and sewer services to city residents. To arrange for water connections call 975-2400.
SaskEnergy (Gas Utility) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1-800-567-8899
If your property has an existing natural gas service, call 1‑800‑567‑8899 to apply for service in your name. Once you submit your application for service, you may be requested to provide information necessary to confirm identity.
SaskEnergy generally requires two pieces of identification. You may choose to provide two of the following: date of birth, driver’s license number, health services number, or mother’s maiden name. By supplying these identifiers, it will be less likely that you will be confused with other individuals claiming to be you. Providing your health services number is optional and it is your decision as to whether you provide it as one of your two chosen identifiers.
Water and Sewer
If you rent an appartment, water and sewer services are included in the rent and you are not required to hook-up service. Upon purchasing a dwelling, you must contact city hall or the town office to obtain instruction on how to connect water and sewage services.
Saskatchewan Driver's Licence
To drive in Saskatchewan you must hold a valid driver’s licence.
If you had a driver's licence in your country of origin, you will have the right to operate a motor vehicle for your first 90 days in Canada. During this period it is recommended that you obtain a Saskatchewan driver's licence. In order to get a driver’s licence, you must be able to operate a vehicle safely and properly, understand all traffic signs and know the rules of the road. To prepare for driving in Saskatchewan, refer to the Saskatchewan Driver’s Handbook.
A Ukrainian translation of the driver's handbook is also available (Ukrainian Language Driver's Handbook. pdf)
English language classes
School registration for children
Professional qualifications assessment