This is your official guide to a successful settlement in the province of Manitoba.
In this landing guide, you will find contact information for each service agency that you will require to begin your new life in Manitoba, whether you are moving to the city of Winnipeg or the surrounding areas.
Learn more about life in Manitoba.
Included in this Landing Guide to Manitoba:
- General Information
- Health Care
- How to obtain a driver's licence
- What can I bring to Canada?
- Additional Service Providers
- Emergency Services
- Directory of Local Immigrant-Serving Organizations
General Information on Manitoba
Official provincial immigration website: www.immigratemanitoba.com
City of Winnipeg website: www.winnipeg.ca/interhom
City of Brandon website: www.brandon.ca
Health Care in Manitoba
Permanent residents are eligible for health insurance as soon as they arrive. You must register with Manitoba healthcare in order to receive a Manitoba Health Card. If you need health care before you receive your card, you must provide proof of your permanent resident status. Register for your Manitoba Health Card by contacting Manitoba Health at:
300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3M9
Tel: 786-7101 or toll-free: 1-800-392-1207
If you are unable to travel to a doctor's office, but require non-emergency medical aid you can contact physicians and nurses by telephone with the Manitoba HealthLinks. Call 788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 outside Winnipeg.
Employment in Manitoba
In order to work legally in Manitoba, you must have a Canadian Social Insurance number (SIN). Apply for your SIN card as soon as possible after you arrive. Sometimes, SIN card application forms are given to immigrants upon landing, but if not, you can apply at your nearest Service Canada centre. For complete details on obtaining your SIN, visit: www.servicecanada.gc.ca/en/sc/sin
After you have obtained your SIN number, it is important to have your credentials assessed. 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
If you work in a trade, you must obtain Canadian trade certification to practice your trade in Manitoba. 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 Dentist Organization, Manitoba. The first search result is the Manitoba Dental Association (www.manitobadentist.ca)
If you need to improve your language skills in either English or French, register for a course. Being able to speak, understand and write fluently in English and/or French is a necessity in the Canadian workforce.
English as an Additional Language (EAL) Courses are offered at:
- The Winnipeg School Division, call: 775-0416 or visit: https://www.winnipegsd.ca/ourschools/Pages/default.aspx
- The English Skills Centre, visit: www.eese.ca/about-us/about
- Multiple community courses are offered for those who cannot attend classes at formal academic institutions. For information, contact the Winnipeg English Language Assessment and Referral Centre (WELARC) at 943-5387. Note: These programs may have child care, so you can bring your children with you.
Note: This list is not exhaustive. Most local community centres and education institutions offers language classes as well.
Before you begin searching for a job in Canada, ensure that your resume is up to date and that you have carefully checked it and your cover letters for spelling and grammatical errors. Many immigrant-serving organizations offer resume writing and cover letter services to help you with this. See the Directory, below.
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 (www.winnipeg.craigslist.ca for Winnipeg), Monster (www.monster.ca), and the Government of Canada's Job Bank (www.jobbank.gc.ca).
It is important to note that finding work can take time, so be prepared to support yourself financially while you are looking for employment.
Having trouble finding work? Gain Canadian work experience by volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your new community, and gain work experience from Canadian organizations. Volunteering opportunities are available through most community centres, or in your local newspaper.
Finances in Manitoba
Within the first few days after you arrive in Manitoba, you should 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, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), National Bank of Canada, and Desjardins Bank. You can find contact information for these banks by searching on the internet, or simply walk into a local branch and ask for information.
It is to your advantage 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 giving you advice about preparing for your retirement.
For general information on banking and financial matters in Manitoba 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 loonie's, 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 a local bank, or visit this popular currency exchange website: www.xe.com
If you have children under 18 years of age, you may be eligible to receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit. For information, visit the website for the Canadian Revenue Agency at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/, or call toll-free 1-800-959-2221.
Schooling and Education in Manitoba
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 government-funded, meaning that there are no tuition charges for students. It is generally divided into two levels, Elementary and Secondary. Post-Secondary education, such as college or university, are only partially funded by the government, requiring tuition from students. 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. In addition, students have the right to observe religious holidays. Contact the local school board in your neighbourhood for information on registration.
Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth is an online school search where you can learn about schooling options in your community: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/schools/gts
To obtain complete information schools, program, registration, holiday schedules, transportation and more, visit: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/schools/index
For complete information on post-secondary education visit the Study in Canada Guide.
Obtaining a Driver's Licence in Manitoba
If you are planning on renting, leasing, or buying a car, you must have an official Manitoba driver's licence.
To obtain an official Manitoba driver's licence and insurance, called Autopac, you must contact the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). Visit their website: www.mpi.mb.ca
Note: Every vehicle and driver must have insurance. Contact a local insurance provider to become properly insured before you drive.
Housing in Manitoba
There are multiple different housing options across Canada. If you have not visited to 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 to live for you and your family.
Typical types of housing in Manitoba
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.
Apartments and condos can often be found in larger houses that have been divided into separate living spaces.
Houses can be connected in a row, for example townhouses or row houses, or detached, as separate, individual dwellings.
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 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 check with city bylaws to ensure that your animal is legal in Manitoba.
It is important that you take your family, your place of work, neighbourhood and finances into account before deciding on a place to live.
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 Manitoba
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, especially in Manitoba, where temperatures can go below -20, even -30 degrees Celsius. You should ensure that you are prepared for the cold weather by investing in warm winter clothing such as 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.
It will be important for you to know what the weather will be like in Manitoba when you arrive. Make a point of checking the weather online at the Canadian Governments official weather website: www.weather.gc.ca/canada
Note: Most Canadians keep candles and matches, warm blankets, flash lights, first aid kits, and small snow shovels in their cars and homes in case of emergencies. In many parts of Canada your car must have specially designated winter tires in order to legally, and safely, drive in the winter and "all-season" tires may not be permitted year-round.
Additional Resources/Service Providers in Manitoba
Your first six months in Manitoba can be challenging. If you begin feeling anxious or overly stressed, there are multiple organizations that provide counselling services to help you during your adjustment to your new life in Manitoba.
In Winnipeg, contact:
Mount Carmel Clinic: 204-589-9420
Welcome Place: 204-977-1000
International Centre: 204-943-9158
Needs Centre for War Affected Families: 204-940-1260
Jewish Child and Family Services: 204-477-7430
Accueil francophone: 204-975-4250
Outside Winnipeg, contact:
Portage la Prairie International Agency: 204-239-8326
South Central Settlement & Employment Services: 204-325-4059 (Winkler)
Eastman Immigrant Services: 204-346-6609
Westman Immigrant Services: 204-727-6031 (Brandon)
Emergency Services in Manitoba
In emergency situations dial 911. By dialling 911, you become connected with an operator who will be able to assist you and dispatch emergency services to your location, if required.
In non-emergency situations, if you only require the police, you can find contact numbers for major cities below.
Winnipeg Police: 204-986-6222
Brandon Police: 204-729-2345
Directory of Local Immigrant-Serving Organizations in Manitoba
It is important to visit an immigrant-serving agency that can answer your questions and provide you with guidance in the future.
Elmwood Community Resource Centre
200 Levis Street
c/o Nor' West Health Clinic
Room 103 - 61 Tyndall Avenue
William Whyte Residents Association
295 Pritchard Avenue
Tel: 582 -0988, ext. 2
Audrey Owens and Iftu Ibrahim
511 St. Anne's Road
Fort Garry/Fort Richmond
c/o Dalhousie School
262 Dalhousie Drive
St. James - Assiniboia
c/o Heritage Park Children's Program
1 Braintree Crescent
c/o A.E. Wright Community School
1520 Jefferson Avenue
Tel: 632-6314 ext. 238
Westman Immigrant Services
729 Princess Street
Brandon, Manitoba, R7A 0P4
Portage la Prairie International Agency
97 Saskatchewan Avenue East
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, R1N 2G2
Eastman Immigrant Services
10 Chrysler Gate
Post Office Box 1795
Steinbach, Man. R0A 2A0
South Central Settlement & Employment Services
2 - 295 Perry Street
Winkler, Manitoba, R6W 4A6
Arborg & Riverton Immigrant Settlement Services
Post Office Box 582, 337 River Road
Arborg, Manitoba, R0C 2A0
Contact: Koby Wiebe
Asessippi Parkland Settlement Services
178 Main Street, Box 1359
Russell, Manitoba ROJ 1W0
Contact: Melanie Shuya
Community Immigration and Settlement Services
Dauphin Economic Development & Tourism
City Hall - 100 Main Street South Dauphin, Manitoba, R7N 1K3
Tel: 204-622 3223
Fax: 204-622 3290
Contact: Martijn van Luijn
Swan Valley Enterprise Centre
Post Office Box 370, 120 - 6th Avenue North
Swan River, Manitoba, R0L 1Z0
Contact: Shirley Mullett
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.