Settlement FAQ

Do you have any questions or want clarification on something?

This page is taken from ‘The Newcomers Guide’ which provides vital information for people who are new to living in Canada / Ontario / Toronto. This includes information for obtaining a SIN number, OHIP card, and other relevant resources.


“Frequently Asked Questions”

Click on the title to learn more about each point

SIN (Social Insurance Number)

You can get your SIN at the baggage claim area at Pearson Airport, or at any Service Canada locations (type Service Canada into Google Maps, it will show you the nearest branches). The process can take 1 to 3 hours due to wait-times, so it is recommended that you go to their branch earlier.

If you arrived under CUAET, you would need your passport and work (or study) permit to get your SIN.

If you arrived as PR, then passport and COPR.

Cell Phone Number

If you are in a difficult situation, have no money and need a SIM card, then you can get a free SIM card for 1 month from Chatr at Ukrainian Canadian Social Services office (2445 Bloor St West, Toronto). Your SIM card will be activated immediately and you will be able to use it right away. You can buy a SIM card yourself at any phone company location that sells SIM cards. Main mobile services providers are Rogers, Chatr, Bell, Telus, Fido, Virgin (click on the company name to learn more about their terms of use in English).
You may need your passport to purchase a SIM card.

We recommend getting pre-paid services at the start with any provider to put in your own phone.
The monthly cost of buying a phone plan may vary from $30 to $70 (depending on their conditions
and the phone plan you choose

Bank cards and banking services

There are five major banks in Canada:

  • CIBC (they have special offers for newcomers),
  • RBC (you can find Ukrainian speaking staff at their 2329 Bloor St West branch, Jane subway station: Ivan – 416-699-5769 and Iuliia – 416-974-8466),
  • BMO (Ukrainian speaking teller Viktoriia – 416-595-5270),
  • TD,
  • Scotia Bank
  • as well as various credit unions. For example, Ukrainian credit unions:
  • Ukrainian Credit Union, UCU allows Ukrainians to open a free bank account – details here (2397 Bloor St West, Toronto, Jane subway station; there are also other branches that you can find using Google Maps);
  • Buduchnist (BCU Financial) provides specialized banking services for newly arrived Ukrainians – details here (2280 Bloor St West, Toronto, Runnymede subway station; there are also other branches that you can find using Google Maps).
    You will need your passport, work permit, SIN, and phone number to open an account in any bank or credit union.
    If the closest branch of your bank offers appointments only in a few days, you can ask to be booked in another branch sooner.

OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan)

If you arrived under CUAET, you need your passport, your work permit (or study permit, or visitor record), and proof of residency in Ontario (it may be your rental agreement, or provincial driver’s licence, etc.).

If you arrived as PR, then you need your passport, COPR, and proof of residency in Ontario (it may be your rental agreement, or provincial driver’s licence, etc.). You can apply for OHIP in many ServiceOntario locations (the closest to us is 3300 Bloor St West, Unit 142, Toronto, Islington subway station, or you can find the location closest to you by following this link or using Google Maps).

The entire process can take from one to three hours due to wait-times, so it is recommended that you arrive at their office early. You can also make an appointment in advance.
You must also notify them online during 6 days if you change your place of residence within Ontario (choose change your address online).

Medical examination for newcomers arriving under CUAET

All newcomers arriving under CUAET must undergo a medical examination in Canada within 90 days of their arrival at a specialized clinic with a panel physician who examines immigrants if they have not passed such a medical examination in the country of departure.

  • You can find a panel physician by following this link (choose your country of residence – Canada, province of residence – Ontario, and then choose the panel physician most convenient for you). You can make an appointment with some panel physicians online (if there is a link in the address line), with others you have to call or come to the clinic and make an appointment by saying that you need a panel physician for immigration and mentioning the panel physician’s name.
  • For medical examination, bring your glasses/contact lenses (if you wear them), COVID-19 vaccination certificate (if you have it), vaccination certificate (if you have it), medical records (if you have them). You can go without these documents if you do not have any of them.
  • During medical examination, the panel physician will examine you, ask you about your health state, existing or past illnesses, surgeries. You will also undergo medical tests and may be referred for an additional examination to other specialists, which you will undergo right there, on the spot.

The estimated cost of a medical examination is $200, non-refundable.

Food banks, help with clothes and other goods

You can register at the food bank “Daily bread”, choose your preferred location and book your visit time.

  • You can also find food banks here or here.
  • Also Scott Mission helps with food and clothes (tel. 416-923-8872, address: 502 Spadina Ave, Toronto).
  • “Parachute” can help with clothes and household items. You must have an appointment. To book an appointment, write them an email: or call 416-626-5100. Their address is 160 N Queen St, Toronto (they speak Ukrainian).
  • Ukrainian Canadian Social Services helps with children’s clothes and things (2445 Bloor St West, Jane subway station, tel. 416-763-4982, Mon–Fri 9 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • New Circles provides with free clothes (tel. 416-422-2591 ext. 200, address: 161 Bartley Dr, Toronto, e-mail:

Diplomatic Missions of Ukraine in Ontario

Websites for searching for permanent housing:

Websites for searching for temporary housing:

Additional housing search resources:

  • Apartments for CUAET
  • Where and how to search for housing

Where and how to search for housing

• You can sign up for the affordable housing list by email (write I would like to sign up for Affordable Housing List to this email).
• If you wish to live in Waterloo or its surroundings (it is outside of Toronto and Mississauga), you can apply for assistance in finding housing and work by following this link.
Practical advice: when you are searching for housing on your own, it is important to send a message in English to a potential landlord as your first message (general information without any personal data): your name, age, how many people there are in your family coming with you, their age, that you came from Ukraine because of the war, your education, education of people coming with you, your profession and occupation, that you are actively searching for job (you can indicate in which field), and some of your characteristics (that you are tidy, clean, neat, quiet, calm, hardworking, etc.). This will show the potential landlord that you are open and can be trusted. Since you do not yet have a credit history and letters from previous landlords, you will have a very high rejection rate (over 90%), so it is recommended that you send 30–40 rental inquiries per day using different websites. It is also a good idea to go to the city areas where you want to live to look and ask if there is something for rent.

You may also:

  • Use realtor services which are free in Canada (realtor Olha Dudar helps those who do not have a credit history, but already have a job, to find housing: tel. 365-773-6891, email:,
  • ask settlement agencies for assistance (The Housing Help Centre – tel. 416-285-8070, Woodgreen – tel. 647-242-1547 – Hanna, JVS, COSTI),
  • HousingHelp helps with housing payments for 2 months – tel. 416-509-1694 (Iuliana Makar).
  • Toronto Shelters webpage.

What to remember when renting housing

When renting housing, please remember the following:

  • do not send money for rent until the day you move in, and while moving in, agree on how you will pay for housing (meet with the owner in person and discuss details about the cost of housing, utilities, living conditions, payment method – it is better to e-transfer money into their bank account, do not pay in cash),
  • sign a rental agreement,
  • you will be asked to make a deposit, usually the first and last month – this money can only be used to pay rent and nothing else; it must be paid by bank check or e-transfer, and your landlord must provide confirmation of its receipt,
  • you may be asked for a credit score report (your credit history), a 2-month advance payment, information about your work and letters from previous landlords,
  • housing is often provided without furniture, but with a kitchen, bathroom, toilet, closet (washing machine and dryer can be both in the apartment and on the lower floor, it depends on the house type and its condition); you can get cheap or free furniture on Facebook Marketplace,
  • you can have a guarantor – a person who will vouch for you and guarantee timely payment – this helps a lot in the process of renting,
  • the landlord cannot ask for money for viewing the house, demand your SIN, but can ask you to show your ID to make sure that it is you,
  • utilities are usually not included in the rental price,
  • usually, the duration of any rental agreement is 1 year with the right to extend upon the agreement of both parties (a notice must be given 2 months before the end of the term; if you do not provide the landlord with a termination notice, the lease is automatically extended),
  • you must notify the owner officially at least 60 days before leaving,
  • in most cases, rental starts on the 1st day of the month, less often on the 15th day of the month, and even less often on another day,
  • any housing repairs and large household appliances are carried out at the expense of the owner, but if the repair is needed because of the tenant’s actions, then it must be agreed upon between you and the owner officially,
  • if you need a parking space, check availability in the building in advance (its cost is not included in the rental price if you rent an apartment, but must be included if you rent a house or part of a house),
  • before signing the agreement, you need to make sure whether you can keep pets (if you have them); you must control your pets and clean up after them on the street; if your pet makes noise (barks loudly, whines, disturbs the neighbours), then you can be fined according to the noise law,
  • in Ontario, the main rental rules are described in the Residential Tenancies Act of 2006 and in Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act of 2020; in case of difficulties or conflicts The Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) comes to the aid of either party,
  • provincial law protects the interests of the tenant: the landlord cannot terminate the tenancy without reason, raise the rent prematurely or even conduct an inspection of the property without your consent (must give you at least 24 hours notice of their visit, and you must give/or withhold consent). If you have any questions regarding the protection of tenants’ rights, you can ask at:
  • Federation of Metro Tenants’ Associations – tel. 416-921-9494,
  • Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario – tel. 866-245-4182, address: 55 University Ave, Suite 1500, Toronto,
  • Ontario Coalition Against Poverty – tel. 416-925-6939, address: 157 Carlton St, Unit 206, Toronto.

Safety Tips

  • Be attentive and do not deal with people who do not provide complete, truthful information, or if you feel uncomfortable or doubtful.
  • Do not deal with people who ask you to work for free, or if someone offers to share a room with you or your children.
  • Double-check the intentions of people who try to give you excessive help (paying for tickets, financial help), whether they are trying to take advantage of your situation.
  • If your life is in danger, or irreparable damage to your property may take place (for example, a fire), a crime has been committed, or an accident has occurred, call 911 (you will be connected to the operator – explain your situation, your location will be determined by geolocation). If you do not speak English at all, just say HELP to the operator and stay connected.
  • In Ontario, it is prohibited to leave children under the age of 12 unattended (without adult supervision) even for short periods of time. This is against the law.

Ontario Driver’s License

The process for obtaining the full driver’s license consists of three stages:

  • G1 – theoretical test (40 question to check your knowledge of road rules and signs),
  • G2 – city driving practical test,
  • G full – highway driving practical test.

G1 Testing

General process for obtaining G1 is the following: you go to Drive Test Centre (there are four of them in Toronto: 37 Carl Hall Road, 1448 Lawrence Ave East, 5555 Eglinton Ave West, 91 Rylander Blvd Unit 109A), wait in line → take the ticket → wait in line → go to the desk when called → a dispatcher will copy your documents (you need your passport, work/study permit, Ukrainian driver’s licence if you have it, any document with your address), you pay the fee (a bit more than $150 by a card), then you have to undergo an eye-exam, after which you can ask to write your test in Ukrainian → you go to the test room (there are 40 questions on the test: 20 on rules, 20 on signs, you are allowed to make 4 errors in each section) → if you passed the test, they issue a temporary driver’s licence (looks like a half of a regular paper sheet), your card will be sent to your home address by a regular mail.
If you did not pass, you will get a yellow certificate which you have to bring with you when retaking the test (test repassing costs around $16).

G2 & G Testing

After that, you can sign up for the city driving test (next stage). You will need your own or your instructor’s car to undergo any practical tests (arrange it in advance). To prepare for the written test, you can buy the book Ontario Driver Study Guide in English or find test questions on the Internet in Ukrainian. You can also download the official G1 Test mobile application with test questions in English. You must apply online for a new driver’s license within 6 days after you move to a new place of residence (select change your address online).

You cannot have both a Driver’s License and an Ontario Photo Card at the same time! They are mutually exclusive documents.

Ontario PhotoCard

This is your ID document in case you do not have an Ontario Driver’s License. It is recommended to have one since it contains information about your address and can serve as a verification of your identity (together with your passport).
If you arrived in Canada under CUAET or as a PR, then to get such a card, you will need:

  • your passport,
  • your work permit (or study permit, or visitor record) or COPR,
  • a document certifying you reside in Ontario (for example, your rental agreement).

It is recommended to get this card when you have a permanent place to stay and a housing rental agreement. You can get this card in many ServiceOntario offices (the closest to us is located at 3300 Bloor St West, Unit 142, Toronto, or you can find it near you following the link or using Google Maps). It can take from one to three hours to get this card due to wait-times, so it is recommended to go to their office early. You can also make an appointment. The approximate price is $35.

You must apply for a new Ontario PhotoCard within 6 days of moving to a new permanent place of residence within Ontario by sending them Change of Address form which you have received together with your Ontario PhotoCard, or you can do it in any of ServiceOntario offices by walk-in.

You cannot have both Ontario PhotoCard and Ontario Driver’s Licence since they are mutually exclusive documents.

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