Canadavisa is pleased to provide you with a guide to successful settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador.
This guide will provide you with complete details on what you need to know in order to have a successful settlement in this province. Contact information for each service agency that you will require to begin your new life in Newfoundland and Labrador, whether you are moving to the city of Saint John's or the surrounding areas is included in each section.
Learn more about life in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Included in this Landing Guide to Newfoundland and Labrador is information on:
- General Information
- Health Care
- How to obtain a driver's licence
- What can I bring to Canada?
- Emergency Services
- Directory of Local Immigrant-Serving Organizations
General Information on Newfoundland and Labrador
Official provincial immigration website: www.nlimmigration.ca
Official city of Saint John's website: www.stjohns.ca
Health Care in Newfoundland and Labrador
As a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, you will qualify for the Newfoundland Medical Care Plan (MCP). The MCP is a healthcare insurance plan to cover all basic healthcare necessities for yourself and your family residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Eligibility is based on your status in the province. Temporary foreign workers, landed immigrants and Canadian citizens are eligible for the plan. Official documents indicating status are required. You must register with the MCP as soon as possible after you arrive. To do so, complete the appropriate application (found at your local clinic, doctors office or hospital, or downloadable here: www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/mcp/travelassistance) and mail or bring it to a MCP office, with all required documents.
Note: You must reside in Newfoundland and Labrador for a minimum of four months each year in order to qualify as a beneficiary of the plan.
For inquiries regarding MCP registration:
St. John's/Avalon Region, call: 1-866-449-4459
All other areas, including Labrador, call: 1-800-563-1557
By Mail or in Person:
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan
P.O. Box 5000
22 High Street
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
Neapean, Ontario K1A 0Y9
Office hours are between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. during the summer). You can also contact them by telephone at: (709) 292-4000
Employment in Newfoundland and Labrador
In order to legally work in Newfoundland and Labrador, you must have a Canadian Social Insurance number (SIN). This is an identification number that you are required by law to have in order to work in Canada. Apply for your SIN card as soon as possible after you arrive. Application forms may be given to you upon you arrival at a port of entry in Canada, but if you do not receive one at that time, you can apply at a Service Canada centre near you. For province-specific details on how to obtain your SIN, visit The Service Canada website at: www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/sc/sin or simply call: I-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232)
After you have obtained your SIN number, it is important to have your credentials assessed for Canadian or Newfoundland and Labrador equivalency. This way, Canadian employers will be able to understand your qualifications and experience in comparison to Canadian standards. Contact the Canadian Centre for International Credentials for information on having your credentials assessed: www.cicic.ca
For those who work in a trade, you must obtain Canadian trade certification to practice your trade in Newfoundland and Labrador. Begin by contacting Red Seal, a nation-wide trade certification organization. For complete details, visit: www.red-seal.ca
Trades people and professionals may be required to register with a provincial regulatory organization. You should be able to locate your profession or trade regulatory organization in the phonebook or by doing an online search. For example, dentists should search for Dental organization, Newfoundland and Labrador. The first search result is the Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association: www.nlda.net
Proficiency in English and/or French is necessary in order for you to succeed in your new life in Canada. If you need to improve your language skills in either English or French, register for a course as soon as possible. You can obtain information on language courses at the numbers below:
ESL Adult Training Centre/AXIS Career Services
10 Smithville Crescent
St. John's, NL
Call in advance to set up an appointment:
ESL Adult Training Centre
Tel: (709) 726-6848
Fax: (709) 726-6841
AXIS Career Services
Tel: (709) 579-1780
Fax: (709) 579-1894
Before you begin searching for a job in Canada, it is important that your resume is up to date and that you have carefully ensured that it is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Many immigrant-serving organizations offer resume writing and cover letter services to help you with this. Call an immigrant serving organization from the directory below to learn where these services are offered in your community.
Searching for a Job
There are multiple popular online search engines for browsing job postings and finding work in Canada. The most popular include Craigslist, Monster, and the Government of Canada's Job Bank. However, searching local newspaper ads, joining online social networks, and researching local companies are also good options.
Note: Finding work can take time, so be prepared to support yourself financially while you are looking for employment!
Tip: Having trouble finding work? Gain Canadian work experience by volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your new community, meet new people and gain work experience from Canadian organizations and help you obtain Canadian references for future Canadian employers. Volunteering opportunities are available through most community centres or in your local newspaper and can range from planting trees, to administrative work in schools, hospitals and offices.
Finances in Newfoundland and Labrador
Within the first days that you arrive in Newfoundland and Labrador, you should open an account at a local bank or financial institution, as you will mostly need to start using it right away. Some popular banks in Canada include HSBC, Scotia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), National Bank of Canada, Desjardins Bank. You can find contact information for these banks by searching on the internet, or you can simply walk into a local branch and ask for information.
It may be a good idea for you to make an appointment with a financial advisor at the banking institution who can help you organize your finances in Canada, provide you with information on financing home and automobile purchases, advise you about paying for further education for yourself or your family members, and helping you prepare for your retirement.
For general information on banking and financial matters in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada, visit the Canadian Bankers Association website at: www.cba.ca
Important to know: Canadian Money is made of cents and dollars. There are 100 cents in 1 Canadian dollar. Currency is found in denominations of coins and bills, or paper currency. Divisions are as below:
- Coins of 1 cent ($0.01) called the "penny" - Note: the penny is no longer used in commercial transactions
- Coins of 5 cents ($0.05) called the "nickel"
- Coins of 10 cents ($0.10) called the "dime"
- Coins of 25 cents ($0.25) called the "quarter"
- Coins of 1 dollar ($1.00) called the "loonie" for the Canadian loon featured on the coin
- Coins of two dollars ($2.00) called the "twoonie" as it is the equivalent of two loonies, and,
- Bills of five dollars ($5.00), ten dollars ($10.00), twenty dollars ($20.00), fifty dollars ($50.00) and one hundred dollars ($100.00).
To find out what your home currency is worth against Canadian currency, talk to a representative from your local bank, or visit a popular currency exchange website like this one: www.xe.com
Note: If you have children 18 years of age or younger, you may be eligible to receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit. For information, visit the website for the Canadian Revenue Agency at www.cra.gc.ca, or call toll-free 1-800-959-2221.
Schooling and Education in Newfoundland and Labrador
Children under the age of 16 must be registered for school. Schooling generally begins at age four or five, in a level called Kindergarten. Most children stay in school until they finish Secondary school, generally at 18 years of age. Subjects are taught primarily in English in Newfoundland and Labrador, though some areas are taught in French.
The Canadian public school system is most commonly divided into three levels: Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary, which generally consists of colleges and universities. Some districts or private school systems may organize their grade levels differently. No matter how the system is organized, education standards are regulated by the provincial government to ensure high quality education for all students. The academic year for all levels of education begins in September and runs through June for elementary and secondary students. College and university students generally complete their years of study in April or May.
Standard holidays include Christmas and New Year's holidays in December and January, and a spring break in either March or April. Students have the right to observe religious holidays. Additional vacation days are regulated by the local school board.
Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador are divided into five districts. Contact the local school board in your neighbourhood for information on registration: www.schoolboardsnl.ca
Burin Regional Office
P.O. Box 4000
Nova Central - District Headquarters
203 Elizabeth Dr
Gander, NL, A1V 1H6
Regional Education Office - Stephenville
P. O. Box 5600
Regional Education Office- Lower Cove
P. O. Box 82
Lower Cove, NL, A0K 2V0
Western Regional Office
P.O. Box 500
Bay Roberts, NL
Vista Regional Office
356 Memorial Drive
Central Office - Corner Brook
P. O. Box 368
10 Wellington Street
Corner Brook, NL
(709) 637- 4000
District Office (Lab. East )
P.O. Box 1810, Stn. "B"
Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL
Eastern Regional Office - Headquarters
Suite 601, Atlantic Place
215 Water Street
St. John's, NL
Regional Office (Lab. West)
669 Tamarack Drive
Labrador City, NL
Conseil scolaire francophone provincial de Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador
65, Chemin Ridge, suite 212
Sans frais : 1-888-794-6324
Tel: (709) 722-6324
Fax : (709) 722-6325
For complete information on post-secondary education visit the Study in Canada Guide.
Obtaining a Driver's Licence in Newfoundland and Labrador
If you are planning on renting, leasing, or buying a car, you must have an official Newfoundland and Labrador driver's licence.
If you already have a driver's licence, you must exchange this for a Newfoundland and Labrador driver's licence within three months of arriving. If your licence is from the United States, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you can exchange your licence for a Newfoundland and Labrador Driver's License without taking a written, vision or road test, if:
- You are 17 years of age or older
- Your existing licence is valid (not suspended, cancelled or revoked)
- Your licence is expired for no more than five years
If you are not from one of the countries listed above, you must apply for a licence as a new driver. For complete details on this process visit: www.servicenl.gov.nl.ca/drivers/driversandvehicles/driverlicensing
You must visit a Driver Examination office to exchange your license or to apply as a new driver.
There are local offices around the province:
St. John's/Avalon Region
Mount Pearl: 729-2519
Harbour Grace: 945-3014
Grand Falls-Windsor: 292-4353
Labrador City: 944-5859
Goose Bay: 896-5437
Port Hope Simpson: 960-0383
Black Tickle: 471-8898
Note: Every vehicle and driver must be registered and have insurance. Contact a local insurance provider to become properly insured before you drive.
Housing in Newfoundland and Labrador
There are multiple different housing options in Newfoundland and Labrador. If you have not visited your new city or town before arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador, it may be advisable to rent a temporary apartment when you first arrive, and/or hire a real estate agent to guide you through the housing process and provide you with knowledgeable advice on the best areas to live for you and your family.
Typical housing options in Newfoundland and Labrador
Apartment buildings are large, multi-unit buildings owned by one person or company where each inhabitant rents a unit. Studio or bachelor apartments are generally one room with a kitchen area and bathroom and are suited only for a single individual. Larger apartments can accommodate families as they have bedrooms and additional living space.
A large multi-unit building where each unit is owned by the inhabitant is called a condominium, and each unit is called a condo.
Often apartments and condos are found in homes that have been divided into separate living spaces.
Houses can be connected in a row, called townhouses or row houses, or detached, as separate, individual dwellings.
Find a neighbourhood
Looking for the right neighbourhood in Canada? Want to see properties listed for sale and for rent? Our comprehensive tool allows you to review neighbourhoods and properties.
Housing is generally more expensive in cities, though average living costs vary given size of family, location and level of income. Many families choose to live in suburbs which are towns located just outside of the city limits, where housing is more affordable. Suburbs also provide good neighbourhoods, schools, shopping and healthcare, all within close proximity to the amenities of the city. Housing in the country can be even less expensive and is desirable for many families, but you will require a vehicle in order to travel for your basic needs including groceries, work, school and healthcare.
Much of Newfoundland and Labrador is more rural, therefore you should be prepared to own a car for convenience.
Pets: If you are renting your home or live in a condominium, it is important that you ensure pets are legally allowed on the premises before you move in with your family pet, or purchase a family pet. It is also important to check with city bylaws to ensure that your animal is legal to own as a house pet in Newfoundland and Labrador.
It is important that you take your family, your place of work, neighbourhood and finances into account before deciding on a place to live. Working with a certified realtor can be a big help to newcomers.
What can you bring into Canada?
Canada has strict rules concerning what can and cannot be brought into the country. There are regulations regarding food, alcohol, nicotine products, plants, animals, cars and other products. To avoid problems, be sure to check in advance what is and what is not allowed to come to Canada, as well as what procedures must be followed to bring certain items into the country.
For automobiles, contact:
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5
Weather in Newfoundland and Labrador
Most Canadian cities enjoy very warm summers, including cities in Newfoundland and Labrador, where temperatures can go above 25 degrees Celsius. However, it can get very cold in almost all parts of Canada in the winter, when temperatures can go below -20, even -30 degrees Celsius. You must ensure that you are prepared for the cold weather. You should invest in warm winter clothing, including sweaters, winter jackets, boots, hats, scarves and gloves or mittens. If you do not dress warmly in the winter, you can risk becoming ill or getting frost bite, which is severe damage to the skin caused by winter wind exposure. Newfoundland and Labrador, located on the northern Atlantic, receive a lot of snow and ice in the winter.
In case of emergency, Canadians keep candles and matches, warm blankets, flash lights, first aid kits, and snow shovels in their cars and homes. In order to legally, and safely, drive in the winter in most parts of Canada your car must have designated winter tires.
It will be important for you to know what the weather will be like in Newfoundland and Labrador when you arrive. Make a point of checking the weather online at the Canadian Government's official weather website: www.weather.gc.ca/canada_e
Emergency Services in Newfoundland and Labrador
In emergency situations dial 911. When you dial 911, you get connected with an operator who will assist you and dispatch emergency services if they are required.
Saint John's Police: 729-8000
Hearing & speech impaired: 1-800-363-4334
Directory of Local Immigrant-Serving Organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador
It is important to visit an immigrant-serving agency that can answer your questions and provide you with guidance in the future.
Newfoundland & Labrador
Department of Education: Apprenticeship and Certification
PO Box 8700
St. John's, NL A1B 4J6
CPA Newfoundland and Labrador
P.O. Box 28090, RPO Avalon Mall
St. John's, NL A1B 4J8
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association for New Canadians (ANC)
144 Military Rd
St. John's, NL
Tel: (709) 722-9680
Fax: (709) 754-4407
Disclaimer: This guide is a compilation of information from multiple sources. Though the information is maintained and updated regularly, the law firm of Campbell, Cohen is not responsible for information that may have changed. This is not a government document. Neither the federal nor the provincial governments were involved in the making of this guide.