You have just arrived in Quebec where you wish to settle down? Many questions go through your mind: Which region to live in? Which neighbourhood to choose? What are the first steps to take? Which forms need to be respected? Immigrant Québec* gives you tips and advice in order for you to be prepared and succeed in your move to Quebec.
Choosing a region
Although the majority of immigrants settle in Montreal, other Quebec regions* are very welcoming and offer employment opportunities and a pleasant quality of life. Here you will find services to newcomers that can inform you about the first administrative steps to take upon arrival such as school enrollment of your children, accommodation and housing, etc.
Living in Montreal
The city and its surrounding towns are favored areas for immigrants. Indeed, 85% of them reside there. Employment opportunities, green spaces and quality of life as a whole are important to newcomers. A city with a dynamic economy, Montreal is also known for its rich culture and vibrant student life. If you are interested in living in Montreal, you can download the free guide Living in Montreal*.
Your first steps
Opening a bank account, registering for health insurance, finding accommodation and many other steps will be undertaken the first days of your arrival in Quebec. For these, you will need your passport and your work, study or visitor’s permit. Most procedures are quite simple, but waiting times can be long. We recommend that you take an appointment in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises:
- apply for a Social Insurance Number (essential for work) from Service Canada
- get a health insurance card from the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ)
- acquire a driver’s license from the Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec (SAAQ)
- open a bank account
- obtain telephone service
Check out our other tips regarding your first steps* in Quebec.
Accommodations with friends or in a short-term center are temporary options available to you upon arrival. Nevertheless you have to take a decision regarding your permanent housing. Take the time to browse through the neighborhoods of your city and explore their proximity to work, school, public transport and other services. Once you have found the area that suits you, it is time to search the ads to find your future home.
You may be having trouble understanding the rental jargon of Quebec: 4 ½, semi-furnished, square footage, semi-equipped, etc. Fortunately, Kangalou has put together a glossary* to help you out! You can also use this online platform to facilitate your research.
When you find the dwelling you are looking for, you will have to sign a lease* stating your responsibilities and those of the owner. In most cases, the contract usually begins July 1 and ends June 30 the following year. The lease also states the rent, the payment date and the charges included or not.
Once you have signed your lease, remember to take out a home insurance policy that will cover you in case of fire or theft. The Insurance Bureau of Canada can answer your inquiries.
Furniture stores are plentiful and offer products to suit all budgets. You can find inspiration by visiting the most famous ones like Ikea, Structube, Zone, etc. For those who prefer to hunt around, second hand shops like Renaissance or Village des Valeurs are full of miscellaneous finds and little treasures. You can also check out garage sales, church bazaars or classified ad sites like Kijiji, Craigslist or Lespac.
Most stores in Quebec are open every day of the week.
- For food, you can shop at the top chains such as IGA, Metro, Provigo, Adonis, etc.
- For alcohol, you will find the largest selection at the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ)
- For cosmetics, personal care, chains such as Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix and Uniprix might interest you
- For DIY, go to RONA, Home Depot or Canadian Tire
Sometimes it is difficult to estimate the budget required for your move to Quebec. Whether you settle in Montreal or in other regions, prices will not be the same, particularly with respect to rent and housing. To get an idea of the amount to be expected, you can read our article on calculating the budget* necessary to immigrate to Quebec.
Who are we?
A non-profit organization created in 2006, Immigrant Québec* has the mission to inform all individuals wishing to settle in Quebec – whether permanently or temporarily – on immigration and life in the Belle Province. Through its website, the organization provides to its users documented information and access to a set of references, resources and services for immigrants.
Twitter: @ImmigrantQuebec, #salonimmigration
* Please note that some hyperlinks in this article lead to content available in French only.