Before you arrive

The Government of Canada provides free in-person and online services to help you better prepare and adjust to life in Canada. These services can help you with living and working in Canada, getting your education, work experience and professional licenses/certificates recognized, and connecting with employers and with free support services when you arrive.

Learn more about pre-arrival services.

Do a free online test to get an idea of your English or French skills and find out if you need language training.

Find a settlement agency

Settlement agencies help newcomers and refugees find the services they need to settle in Ontario.

They can help you:

  • get settled in your community
  • find housing, a job or childcare
  • register your children in school
  • access programs (such as English or French classes, employment services, skills training and foreign credential assessment)
  • get information about healthcare and social services
  • find an interpreter or translator

These services are free and are available in multiple languages in communities across Ontario. Many agencies also deliver programs for newcomer and refugee youth.

Type in the name of your city or town to find a settlement agency near you:


Learn more about:

After you arrive

For help getting connected to community, social, health-related and government services in your community, call 2-1-1 or visit The 211 phone line is free, answered 24 hours a day all year round. You can talk to people in more than 150 languages.

Find housing

You can choose to rent, buy a home or find temporary housing until you can find a more permanent place to live.

Temporary housing

If you need help finding emergency housing, contact either:


There are many places to look for rental housing in Ontario. You can:

  • search on the internet and classified sections of rental housing publications
  • speak with a real estate agent
  • look at bulletin boards in grocery stores, libraries, laundromats, health clinics, thrift stores, community centres, service clubs or real estate offices
  • talk to relatives or coworkers

If you choose to rent, you must:

  1. Fill out a rental application form and submit it to the landlord
  2. Sign a lease agreement (a legal agreement between you and your landlord that includes how much your rent will be and your rights and responsibilities
  3. Give a deposit, usually in the form of a cheque or money order, which covers the cost of the first and last month’s rent
  4. Pay your monthly rent on time to the landlord (usually in the form of a cheque)
Rent deposits

Your landlord can collect a rent deposit only if they ask for it on or before the day that you enter into a lease agreement. It cannot be more than one month’s rent or the rent for one rental period, whichever is less.

For example, if rent payments are made weekly, the deposit cannot be more than one week's rent; if rent payments are made monthly, the deposit cannot be more than one month's rent.

The rent deposit must be used for the rent for the last month before the tenancy ends. It cannot be used for anything else, such as to pay for damages.

Learn more about:


In Canada, homebuying is controlled by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

If you choose to buy a home, you must either:

  • pay the full cost of the home, including all fees and taxes
  • get a loan from the bank to pay for the home and have enough money to cover:
    • the down payment on the home
    • all fees and taxes

Learn more about:

Enrol your children in school

In Ontario all children between the ages of 6-18 must attend school (either a publicly-funded, private or home school).

Most children can attend a publicly-funded school for free regardless of their immigration status or the status of their parents. Contact your local school board for more specific information.

Private schools charge a fee or tuition to attend. Contact private schools directly to learn more.

Public schools

The publicly-funded education system is broken down into three stages:

Elementary school

  • choice of English, French and/or Catholic education
  • typically begins in kindergarten and ends in Grade 8
  • students will:
    • learn and understand the foundations of reading, writing and math

Secondary school

  • choice of English, French and/or Catholic education
  • typically begins in Grade 9 and ends in Grade 12
  • students will:
    • focus on their interests and prepare for graduation and beyond

Post-secondary school

Learn more about:

Private schools

The government does not pay for private schooling. You must pay for that on your own.

Learn more about private:

Some private career colleges are approved for OSAP (help with paying for school). Find out if your school is approved.

Learn English and French

There are a number of programs available to help you test or improve your English and French language skills, before and after you move to Ontario.
Classes are available:

  • during the day, at night or on weekends
  • for people with beginner to advanced skill levels

You don’t have to pay for classes. School boards may charge a small fee for registration or supplies. Find out if you are eligible for this free program.

Services for French-speaking Immigrants

French-speaking newcomers are eligible for all provincial settlement services, including English and French language training, the newcomer settlement program, as well as programs to help you continue your career in Ontario.

Find information in French to help you get settled in Ontario.

Learn more about federal services to help you build your life in French in Canada.

Find a job

There are many government-funded programs, community centres and settlement agencies that can help you:

  • find work
  • improve your resume and interviewing skills
  • gain the Canadian experience and skills you need to succeed

Learn more about jobs and employment in Ontario.

Continue your career in Ontario

Learn about the services available in Ontario to help you continue working in your profession or trade if you’ve been trained in another country.

In Ontario, the government sets rules and laws for over 100 professions and trades in the province. This helps to protect the health and safety of workers and the public.

Ontario has programs to help you get started, including

Open a bank account

A bank account makes it easier to manage your money and keep it safe.

You can open a bank account even if you don’t have an address, a job or money to put in the account right away.

To open an account:

  1. find at least two pieces of acceptable, original identification (the bank will not accept photocopies)
  2. select the bank
  3. go to the bank in person
  4. tell them you’d like to open a new account

Once the account is opened, make sure to request a cheque book. You may need them later to put a deposit on a home or pay rent.
Learn more about:

Learn about tax credits and benefits

Learn about taxes in Ontario and what they support, including tax credits you can get to help you with living and business costs.

The Ministry of Finance hosts free webinars to help you learn about Ontario taxes, tax credits and benefits.

If you would like to invite a ministry representative to speak at your upcoming in-person community event, please contact us at

Get health care

If this is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital.

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) pays for many medically necessary health care services and is available to eligible residents of Ontario at no cost.

Apply for OHIP and get a health card

Learn more about:

Health services

To get fast, free, health advice or find health services visit Health811 online or call 811 (Toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007). Health Connect Ontario is a free, secure and confidential service to get health advice from a registered nurse or find health services or information — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Help is available in English and French, with translation support available in many languages.

You may also get health services by contacting:

The Refugee HealthLine is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-286-4770. This toll-free, multilingual service offers support for refugees and people arriving through other exceptional humanitarian authorizations (such as the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel).

This service can help you find a health care provider near you that can provide interim health care and services, such as:

  • initial medical assessments (excluding the Federal Immigration Medical Exam)
  • medical care
  • referrals to other health services

Read the Newcomer health care guide for Ukrainians who have come to Ontario under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET).

Find child care

In Ontario, there are 2 types of child care available to you:

  • licensed – regulated by the government
  • unlicensed – not regulated by the government

There may be waitlists for licensed child care spaces, so start searching as soon as possible.

Find licensed childcare in your community

Learn more about:

Get a driver’s licence

If you already have a valid driver’s licence from another province, state or country, you can use that licence for 60 days. After 60 days, you need to switch to an Ontario driver’s licence.

Apply to exchange an out-of-province licence

If you do not have a valid driver’s licence but want to drive in the province you must be at least 16 years old and have an Ontario driver’s licence.

Once you pass an eye test and a written test about the rules of the road, you can apply for:

  • a G class licence, if you want to drive a car, van and/or small truck
  • an M class licence, if you want to ride a motorcycle, motor scooter and/or moped

Get a G driver’s licence for new drivers

Learn more about:


Public transportation

Public transportation is available in most cities and regions across the province. You can choose from:

  • local or regional buses
  • transportation services for people with disabilities
  • trains
  • private coach buses
  • streetcars or subways (in Toronto)

You have to pay for most public transportation in the province. The price of the fare can be different depending on your age, location and destination.

Learn more about:

School transportation

Contact your local school board if you need to arrange transportation, to and from school, for your children.

Who to call during an emergency

If this is an emergency, call 911.

Ontario has an emergency preparedness system in place to alert people about:

  • winter storms
  • thunderstorms
  • forest fires
  • tornadoes
  • floods
  • extreme heat
  • nuclear emergencies
  • health outbreaks
  • earthquakes

Learn more about how to prepare for an emergency.

Buy products and services

Before you make a purchase, learn your rights and find the information you need to know to protect yourself. You should know that you have rights related to:

Learn more about consumer protection in Ontario.

Contact us

If you have questions about your rights as a consumer please call Consumer Protection Ontario at: