This is your official guide to a successful settlement in the province of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.).
Included in this landing guide you will find contact information for each government office and immigrant serving agency that you will require to begin your new life in P.E.I., whether you are moving to the city of Charlottetown or the surrounding areas.
Learn more about life in Prince Edward Island.
Included in this Landing Guide to P.E.I. you will find information on:
- General Information
- Health Care
- Schools and Education
- How to obtain a driver's licence
- What can I bring into Canada?
- Emergency Services
- Directory of Immigrant-Serving Agencies
General Information on Prince Edward Island
Official provincial immigration website:www.gov.pe.ca/immigration
The City of Charlottetown: www.city.charlottetown.pe.ca
The City of Summerside: www.city.summerside.pe.ca
Visit a local tourism office to obtain a free city map of Charlottetown at 6 Prince St., Charlottetown or at any of the visitor information centres indicated here: www.tourismpei.com/pei-visitor-information
Health Care in Prince Edward Island
Though there are clinics and emergency services where you can receive medical help, you will have to be put on a waiting list to gain a family doctor. Immediately after settling, call the PEI Health Department at 1-902-838-0916 and ask to be put on the waiting list for a family doctor.
Register for your PEI Health Insurance Card by calling the PEI Health Department at 368-6130, as you may be able to receive free healthcare. Or, you can pick up an application for PEI Health Insurance at local pharmacies, clinics and immigrant serving organizations.
PEI Health Insurance does not cover all medical related expenses. It is best to obtain a secondary health insurance from a private company. To do so, contact a local insurance company.
Employment in Prince Edward Island
Apply for your Social Insurance Number (SIN). For information, visit: www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/sc/sin
Or go directly to the Human Recourses Development Canada (HRSDC) and Service Canada office at the Sherwood Business Center, 161 St Peter's Street, Charlottetown.
Ensure your credentials are assessed with the Canadian Centre for International Credentials (www.cicic.ca) or at the International Credential Evaluation Service (Phone: 1-866-434-9197 or go to www.bcit.ca/ices) or with World Education Services (Canada, call 1-866-343-0070 or go to www.wes.org/ca).
For trade certification, begin by contacting Red Seal, a nation-wide trade certification organization. Visit their website at: www.red-seal.ca
Register with the appropriate provincial regulatory organization for your profession (where applicable). Register for language classes, if required, to improve English or French language skills.
Note: If your English language skills require improvement, the government may pay for lessons through the Language Instruction for New Canadians program (LINC).
You can gather more information and have your language skills assessed at the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada office. ESL courses for adults are also available at:
Holland College - Tel: 1-800-446-5265
Canadian Centre for Language Training - Tel: 628-1664, Address: 51 University Ave, Charlottetown
Linden English Tutoring Services - Tel: 393-4915
Finances in Prince Edward Island
As soon as possible after you arrive, open an account at a local bank or financial institution. Popular banks in Canada include HSBC, Scotia Bank, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Bank of Montreal (BMO), TD Canada Trust, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), National Bank of Canada, and Desjardins Bank
Canadian Money is made of cents and dollars. There are 100 cents in 1 Canadian dollar. Currency is found in coins of 1 cent ($0.01) called the "penny", which are no longer used in commercial transactions, 5 cents ($0.05) called the "nickel", 10 cents ($0.10) called the "dime" , 25c ents ($0.25) called the "quarter", 1 dollar ($1.00) called the "loonie" for the Canadian loon featured on the coin, and a two dollar ($2.00) coin called the "twoonie" as it is the equivalent of two loonies. Bills, or paper currency, are found in denominations 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 how much your home country's currency is worth against the Canadian dollar, you can ask a representative at your local financial institution or consult the popular website: www.xe.com
If you have children who are less than 18 years of age, you may be eligible to receive the Child Tax Benefit, or the Universal Child Care benefit. For complete details, visit: www.cra-arc.gc.ca
Schooling and Education in Prince Edward Island
Children under 16 must be registered for school. Schooling generally begins at age four or five. Most children stay in school until they finish high school, generally at 18 years of age.
The Canadian public school system is generally divided into three levels: Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary, either college or university. Some districts or private schools may organize their grade levels differently, though education standards are regulated by the provincial government. The academic year for all levels of education begins in September and runs through June for elementary and secondary students, and to April for college and university students. Standard holidays include Christmas and New Year's holidays in December and January, and a spring break in either March or April. Contact the local school board in your neighbourhood for information on registration.
The Prince Edward Island government will pay for up to 60 hours of language instruction to improve English or French language abilities in children under 18 years of age. Contact the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada office for more information.
For complete information on post-secondary education visit the Study in Canada Guide.
Obtaining a Driver's Licence in Prince Edward Island
If you are planning on renting, leasing, or buying a car, you must have an official Prince Edward Island driver's licence. Most foreign licences are not recognized, so the applicant will have to complete written, vision and driving tests to obtain a PEI Drivers Licence.
For complete information visit the Transportation and Public Works website at: www.gov.pe.ca/tpwpei
Note: Every vehicle and driver must have insurance. Contact a local insurance provider to become properly insured before you drive.
Housing in Prince Edward Island
There are multiple different housing options across Canada. If you have not visited your new city previously, it may be best 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 for you and your family.
Types of property
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.
Though average living costs vary given size of family, location and level of income, housing is generally more expensive in cities. As a result, many families choose to live in suburbs which are towns located just outside of the city limits, where housing is more affordable. Suburbs often 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.
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 make sure your pet can legally be kept as a house pet in your city or district.
It is important that you take your family, your place of work, neighbourhood, and finances into account before deciding on a place to live.
Weather in Prince Edward Island
Most Canadian cities enjoy very warm summers where temperatures can go above 30 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. It is very important to ensure that you are prepared for the cold weather. 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 will risk becoming ill or getting frost bite. Frost bite is severe damage to the skin caused by winter wind exposure.
Canadians keep candles and matches, warm blankets, flash lights, first aid kits, and snow shovels in their cars and homes in case of emergencies. In most parts of Canada your car must have specially designated winter tires in order to legally, and safely, drive in the winter.
What can I 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 animals and food, contact:
For automobiles, contact:
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5
Emergency Services in Prince Edward Island
In emergency situations, dial 911, which will connect you with an operator who will assist you and dispatch emergency services.
Charlottetown Police: (902) 629-4172
Summerside Police: (902) 432-1201
Directory of Immigrant-Serving Organizations in Prince Edward Island
Visit an immigrant-serving agency:
PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada - Tel: 628-6009, Website: www.peianc.com
Immigration Office - Tel: 1-888-242-2100, Address: 134 Kent Street (Charlottetown)
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.