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Following this step-by-step guide to settlement in Quebec will ease your transition into your new life in Quebec.

In this guide, you will find contact information for each service agency that you may be required to contact in order to begin your new life in Quebec, whether you are moving to the city of Montreal, to Quebec City or the surrounding areas.


Learn more about life in Quebec.

In this Landing Guide to Quebec you'll find information on:

General Information on Quebec

Quebec is a unique province in Canada, and prides itself on being democratic, secular, pluralist, and French speaking. It will be helpful for you to research the culture in Quebec, and have a good knowledge of the French language before you arrive.

Official website of the capital city, Quebec City:

Official website of the city of Montreal:


Health Care in Quebec

Quebec residents are entitled to free basic healthcare coverage. You must register with Quebec healthcare (Régie de l'assurance maladie du Quebec, or RAMQ). For more information, visit:

There is a three-month waiting period after you have arrived in Quebec before you are eligible to receive full healthcare coverage. Ensure that you have private health insurance to cover you and your family during this three-month waiting period in case of emergency.

Be sure to bring your Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, also known as a CSQ) with you when you go to register for your healthcare card. It is important to apply as soon as you arrive in Quebec.


Employment in Quebec

In order to work legally in the province of Quebec, you must have a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). Apply for your SIN card as soon as possible after you arrive so that you can begin working as soon as possible. For complete details on obtaining your SIN, visit:

After you have obtained your SIN number, it is important to have your credentials are assessed. This is necessary to do so that 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. Visit:

If you work in a trade, you must obtain Canadian trade certification to practice your trade in Quebec. Try contacting Red Seal, a nation-wide trade certification organization. For complete details, visit:

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, Quebec. The first search result is the Association des Chirurgiens Dentists du Québec (

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 French is a necessity in Quebec. If you need to improve your French and/or English skills, be sure to start studying before you come to Quebec, and to enrol in a course immediately upon your arrival.

French is the official language of Quebec, so it is important that you have a moderate ability to speak, read and understand the French language.

There are countless immigrant serving and community organizations, as well as educational institutions that offer French language courses, some without charge to newcomers. Contact the organizations in the directory below for more information.

Tip: In addition to taking courses, watching television in French, reading French language newspapers, and making friends with French-speaking neighbours are great ways to help you learn the language in no time!

Your Resume

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. In Quebec, it may be important to have your resume translated into both French and English. 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 ( for Montreal and for Quebec City), Monster (, and the Government of Canada's Job Bank (

Note: Finding work can take time, so be prepared to support yourself financially while you are looking for employment.


Tip: Are you having trouble finding work? Gain Canadian work experience by volunteering! Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your new community, improve your language skills and gain work experience and work references from Canadian organizations. Volunteering opportunities are available through most community centres, or in your local newspaper.


Finances in Quebec

Within the first days that you arrive in Quebec, it is advisable to 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 about these banks by searching for them on the internet, or you can simply walk into a local branch and ask for information.

Be sure to make an appointment with a financial advisor at your banking institution, so they can help you organize your finances in Canada, provide you with information on financing home and automobile purchases, inform you about paying for further education for yourself or your family members, and advise you about financially preparing for your retirement.

For general information on banking and financial matters in Quebec and the rest of Canada, visit the Canadian Bankers Association website at:

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" equivalent to 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 against Canadian currency, talk to a representative from a local bank, or visit this popular currency exchange website:

In Canada, most commonly, transactions are made with cash currency, cheques, debit banking cards, and credit cards.


Tip: If your children that 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 at, or call toll-free 1-800-959-2221.


Schooling and Education in Quebec

Children under 18 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 Quebec public school system is generally divided into four levels: Elementary, Secondary, CEGEP (Collège d'enseignement general et professionnel in French, or College of General and Vocational Education, in English) 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. For college and university students, the academic year generally ends 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 holidays are regulated by the school board. Contact the local school board in your neighbourhood for information on registration.

Quebec is home to multiple academically recognized universities and colleges.

Drivrs Lic

Obtaining a Driver's Licence in Quebec

If you are planning on renting, leasing, or buying a car, you must have an official Quebec driver's licence. You must register with the Société de l'assurance automobile du Quebec.

Note: Every vehicle and driver must have insurance. Contact a local insurance provider to become properly insured before you drive.

Tip: The Société de l'assurance automobile du Quebe has a series of quizzes to help you get up to speed on the essentials of driving in Quebec:


Housing in Quebec

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 to live for you and your family. It is important that you take your family, the location of your place of work, neighbourhood, and finances into account before deciding on a place to live.

Typical Types of Housing in Quebec

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.


Tip: In Quebec, apartments are listed by room-size, rather than by square footage as they are in other parts of Canada.


The number represents the number of rooms and bathrooms present in the apartment:

1 ½ = studio or bachelor apartment (1 room + 1 bathroom)

2 ½ = 2 rooms (generally living space and kitchen) + 1 bathroom

3 ½ = 3 rooms (generally living space, kitchen and bedroom) + 1 bathroom

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.


Though average living costs vary given the size of your 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.



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 Quebec.


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

(613)225-2342 (ext:4629)

For automobiles, contact:
Transport Canada
Place de Ville, Tower C
330 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5

(613) 990-2309


Weather in Quebec

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. Quebec is a province of Canada that experiences a lot of snowfall, so prepare yourself as much as possible.

Note: Many 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 Quebec, your car must have specially designated winter tires in order to legally, and safely, drive in the winter. Be sure that between December 15 and March 15 your car has been fitted with winter tires (not "all-season" tires) or you will receive a fine. Review winter tire regulations in Quebec here:


Additional Resources/Service Providers in Quebec

When you first arrive

Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautes Culturelles (MICC) is the governmental body that helps newcomers settle into their lives in Quebec. When you first arrive in Quebec, visit an MICC office, or the help counter at any major airport. They will help you by arranging an appointment with an integration support agent who can personally answer any questions you have.

Cycling is a very popular activity in Quebec, both for pleasure and for inner city community. The Quebec Cycling Society (Vélo Québec) has worked with cities and the province to build safe cycling routes, including extensive bike paths in major cities like Montreal and Quebec, called les Route Vert. For complete information and maps on the Route Vert, visit:

For more information on Vélo Quebec, visit:


Emergency Services in Quebec

In emergency situations, dial 911. When you dial 911, you are connected 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:

Montreal Police: 514-280-2222

Quebec City Police: 418-641-6285, 418-641-6292, 418-641-6118, or 418-641-6060


Directory of Local Immigrant-Serving Organizations in Quebec

Contact information for the Quebec Immigration Office abroad covering your territory can be found on the site of the Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles:


Organizations or Institutions Offering French Courses in Quebec (admission requirements, registration, length of courses, teaching tools, location, schedule, financial aid, etc.)

Website of Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles:

Immigration-Quebec Service located near your place of residence - contact information available on the MICC website:


Online Training - Educational Institutions, Resources, Courses Offered, and Registration Fees



Le-Formateur/Portal for online training (computers and languages) given by 16 CEGEPs in Quebec:

Du français sans faute:

Free French Exercises on the MICC Website:


Information on Quebec's Regions and Main Cities

Website of Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles:

Immigration-Quebec Service located near your place of residence - contact information available on the MICC website:


Other Sites to Visit to Discover the Regions and Main Cities of Quebec


Regional portals:

Ministère des Affaires Municipales et des Régions:



Information and Assistance to Help you Find a Place to Live

Website of Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles:

Immigration-Quebec Service located near your place of residence - contact information available on the MICC website:

Community organizations that help new immigrants - contact information available on the MICC website:


Information on the Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants

Regie du logement du Quebec:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation:


Information on Human Rights and Youth Rights

Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse:

General Disclaimer

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. 

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