Get your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. It is illegal to work in Canada without a SIN card.

Your unique SIN number applies only to you. It tells the government who is earning money, paying taxes, paying into pension plans, and using government services. Employers, government agencies and non-profit organizations will ask you for this number. It is also needed to open a bank account or to obtain a child tax credit.

You are responsible for protecting your SIN. Store any document containing your SIN and personal information in a safe place—do not keep your SIN with you.

New immigrants can receive their SIN upon their arrival. Service Canada has an office within Pearson Airport with limited working hours on weekdays. Immigrant arriving after office hours or on weekends will have to visit a local Service Canada office to get their SIN.

Visit newcomer services in Peel region

One of the first stops you can make when you arrive is to visit newcomer services in Peel region. These organizations can help you find information on health care, schools, housing, banking, employment and much more. These services are open to newcomers, including Canadian citizens and refugee claimants.

Apply for Health card (OHIP card)

People living in Ontario receive free health care through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Anyone older than 15½ years old must apply for their own health card and register in person.

OHIP covers:

  • Visits to a doctor
  • Diagnostic services
  • Treatment for injuries or illnesses
  • Hospital care

OHIP does not cover:

  • Prescription drugs for 25 years and older
  • Dental care
  • Eye care or eye glasses
  • Services that are not medically necessary (e.g. cosmetic surgery)

The Ontario Government's website includes a list detailing what is covered by OHIP.

Prescription Drugs

You can buy medication at a pharmacy (drugstore). You will need a prescription from a health care provider to be able to get your prescribed medications at the pharmacy. Supplemental health insurance plans may provide partial or full coverage for medications.

Pharmacists at the drugstore and can answer any questions you may have about your medications.

You do not need a prescription to get over-the-counter medications.


OHIP+ provides coverage for many prescription drugs for children and youth up to 24 years old who are not covered by private benefits, while those covered by private plans will bill those first and the government second. You can use the OHIP+ website search to find out which prescription drugs are covered.

Am I eligible for OHIP?

To be eligible for OHIP you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or have immigration status as set out in Ontario's Health Insurance Act
  • Have your permanent and main home in Ontario
  • Be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period

Getting your OHIP Card

Each family member must have their own OHIP card to receive health care services paid for by OHIP. Children older than 15½ years of age must apply for their own health card and register in person.

Apply for your health card as soon as you arrive in Canada.

To apply for an OHIP card as a newcomer to Ontario, visit the nearest Service Ontario Centre with your documents.

You must bring 3 original documents to prove your:

  • Citizenship/immigration status
  • Residency in Ontario
  • Identity

You may also be asked for additional documents. For example, if your name has changed, you may need to provide a marriage certificate or a change of name certificate.

More OHIP resources and information:

Apply for driver's licence


Using a car is the quickest and a convenient way to get around Peel. You are legally required to carry your driver's licence and car insurance to be able to drive in Canada.

Driver's licence 

Any new resident with a driver's licence from another province or country must apply to get an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days of moving to the province. has information about getting your driver's licence, out of country drivers, licence types, driving exams, and more.

Previous driving experience

Your previous driving experience will be considered when you apply for an Ontario licence. So, it is recommended that you get a copy of your driving history from your home country’s licencing authority and/or insurance provider. Having the appropriate documentation (including the actual licence itself) ready when you arrive will help when you are applying for a driver licence in Canada. Documentation should be in English or French. But if you cannot show acceptable proof of your driving experience, you will be considered a new driver and must start at licence Class G1.

Driving lessons

If you are a first-time driver or a new driver in Canada, you may want to take some driving lessons. Lessons will help you pass the test and lower your insurance rate if you show proof of taking driving lessons.

Car insurance

It is the law that all cars must be insured and registered with your provincial or territorial government. Car insurance can be expensive, but it protects you and other drivers in case of an accident.

You can get different types of car insurance plans, including coverage for either or both:

  • injuries to yourself and damage to your car or
  • the costs of damages and injury to others if you’re at fault in an accident

Your car insurance cost depends on the plan you choose and your:

  • age
  • driving record
  • driving experience
  • living location

The cost also varies among insurance companies. For this reason, you should:

  • Shop around and get details about the price of the insurance plans 
  • make sure you understand what each plan covers
  • Choose the insurance coverage that meets your needs

The Insurance Bureau of Canada can provide you with information about car insurance in Ontario.

Other Resources

  • Insurance Canada - provides information about different types of insurance and links to providers.
  • Understanding Automobile Insurance - provides information about automobile insurance policy, including all the components of the coverage. It can also help you find and purchase the insurance coverage that best meets your needs.
  • - provides information on how automobile insurance works

Apply for bank account

One of the first steps to managing your money effectively is to open a bank account.

Some major banks offer special services designed to meet the needs of recently arrived Canadians.

Banks, trust companies and credit unions will provide you with free information about their services and answer your questions. All you need to do is visit any bank in your area and inquire about their services. No appointment is necessary. There are 5 major banks in Canada

You may want to rent a safety deposit locker to store such valuables as jewellery and important documents. Most banks offer this service for a fee.

Opening a Personal Bank Account

To open an account, you may be asked to provide identification and information about your residence, employment and credit history; however, you do not have to be employed to open a bank account, and no minimum deposit is necessary.

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has information on how to open a personal bank account, including a list of identification you will need to open an account
  • The FCAC also provides information about Canadian financial products and services and your rights and responsibilities as a financial consumer
  • General information on banking services, including links to the major financial institutions, can be found at the Canadian Bankers Association website


The Consumers Protections branch of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has helpful information on topics such as:

Apply for child and family benefits

Child benefits

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) provides information on child and family benefits

Contact Us

Service Canada