LANDING & SETTLEMENT IN
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Following this step-by-step guide to settlement in Prince Edward Island will ease your transition into your new life in PEI.
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 PEI.
In this Landing Guide to Prince Edward Island you'll find information on:
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
The University of Prince Edward Island - Tel: 628-4353, Address: 550 University Ave, Charlottetown
Canadian Centre for Language Training - Tel: 628-1664, Address: 51 University Ave, Charlottetown
Finances in Prince Edward Island
Within the first days that you arrive in Prince Edward Island, 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 Port Edward Island and the rest of Canada, visit the Canadian Bankers Association website at: www.cba.ca
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’ , 25 cents ($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 Loonie's. 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 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
The most used forms of transactions are made with cash currency, cheques, debit banking cards, and credit cards.
If you have children who are 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 (www.cra-arc.gc.ca) or call toll-free 1-800-959-2221.
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.
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 in Prince Edward Island. If you have not visited your new city or town before arriving in PEI, 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 Prince Edward Island
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.
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 PEI is more coastal, therefore you should be prepared to own a car or boat 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 PEI.
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 animals and food, contact:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Animal Health, Agriculture Canada
59 Camelot Drive
Neapean, Ontario K1A 0Y9
For automobiles, contact:
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5
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.
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.
In non-emergency situations, if you only require the police, you can find contact numbers for major cities below.
Charlottetown Police: 902-629-4172
Summerside Police: 902-432-1201
Directory of Immigrant-Serving Organizations in Prince Edward Island
It is important to visit an immigrant-serving agency that can answer your questions and provide you with guidance in the future.
Visit an immigrant-serving agency:
Immigration Office - Tel: 1-888-242-2100, Address: 134 Kent Street (Charlottetown)
The information on this page is a compilation of information from multiple researched sources. Although the information is updated regularly, we are not responsible for information that may have changed subsequently. This is not a federal or provincial government document and neither were involved in collating this information.