General Information for the newly arrived

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Help for new immigrants at the airport :- The Community Airport Newcomers’
Network ( CANN) welcomes new immigrants at the Vancouver International airport. It also helps the new comers to get the information and services they need. For further information please contact CANN at

                                        #280 – 8191 Westminster Highway

                                        Richmond, B.C. , V6X 1A7

                                        Tel.  (604) 270-0077;  Fax  (604) 270-6008

b)        Agencies to Help Immigrants/Refugees :-  There are immigrant settlement agencies in most locations in B.C. These agencies are there to help immigrants and refugees alike. Such helps includes getting interpreters to help find jobs, housing and English classes. Some of these agencies located in  Vancouver are listed below :-

Inland Refugee Society
100 – 1720 Grant Street

Vancouver, B.C. , V5L 2Y7;     Tel. (604) 251-3360,  Fax  (604) 254-2321

Immigrant Services Society of B.C.
501 – 333 Terminal Ave.

Vancouver, B.C. , V6A 2L7;      Tel. (604) 684-2561,  Fax  (604) 684-2266

Immigrant Services Society Welcome House
530 Drake Street

Vancouver, B.C. , V6B 2H3;      Tel. (604) 684-7498,  Fax (604) 684-5683

Pacific Immigrant Resources Society
385 South Boundary Road

Vancouver, B.C. , V5K 4S1;       Tel. (604) 298-5888,  Fax (604) 298-0747

2nd floor, 1720 Grant Street

Vancouver, B.C. , V5L 2Y7;        Tel. (604) 254-9626,  Fax (604) 254-3932

28 West Pender Street

Vancouver, B.C. , V6B 1R6;        Tel. (604) 684-1628,  Fax (604) 684-3328

Adjusting to Life in Canada :-  Most immigrants are exalted about starting a new life when they arrive in Canada. But as it takes time for them to get adjusted, which is often rather difficult, some may feel too worried and irritable. Finding a job, housing or school may not be that easy. Consequently, some may be unable to sleep, others may get  stomach problems or headache. Such problems/symptoms are considered normal under the circumstances. It may help to talk over these problems with family, friends or counsellors at an immigrant settlement agency like the ones listed above under agencies.
d) Checklist of things to do immediately after arriving in British Columbia :-

(I) Apply for Social Insurance Number ( SIN ) chap. Finding job
(ii) Register for health insurance. Chap. health care

(iii) If you have no money to live on, you may apply for financial help from the           provincial government. See next section e.

(iv) Apply for the Child Tax Benefit for children under 18 years old. The federal government sends monthly cheques to some families. The cheque is usually issued and sent to the mother. If you are a low income working family with children, you may be eligible for the B.C. Benefits Family Bonus. To find out about these benefits, please call 669-7815 ( in Vancouver ) and 1-800-387-1193 ( Elsewhere in B.C.).

e) Social Assistance/Welfare :-  Those immigrants ( some refugee claimants as well) who

      may not find jobs and have no money to live on, may qualify for some financial help from the provincial government. This financial help is known as “welfare” or “B.C. Benefits” or  “income assistance.” For this benefit, please visit the nearest Income Support    Program office of the Ministry of Human Resources. Telephone number and address may be  obtained from the Blue Pages of the Telephone Book.

f) Food Banks :- Many communities in B.C. have food banks for people who need emergency food. Each food bank has different rules.  Food Banks are run by the donation collected from people in the community.Check before you go there. To find the Food Bank in your area, please look in the White Pages of the Telephone Book under “Food Bank.”  

f) 1. Telephone Book :-  

The telephone books may have several sections. Sometimes they come separately.

(i)The Front Pages : It has area codes, emergency numbers and community


(i) The White Pages : It lists the names, addresses and phone numbers of people and businesses and is listed in alphabetical order.

(ii) The Blue Pages : It lists government offices. First listed is the government of Canada, then the provincial government and lastly listed is the municipality government you are living in.

(iii) The Yellow Pages : It lists businesses under the type of business, ie, doctors,

       restaurants and pharmacies.


2. Long Distance Calls

        Telephone number beginning with 1-800, 1-888 and 1-877 are called “ toll free

   numbers,”  meaning you do not have to pay for the call. It is free. The telephone numbers

   beginning with 1-900 are called “pay per call numbers,” meaning you have to pay for the

   call. It is not free.

   To make a long distance call, from a pay phone dial :

(i)   0 + 604 + seven digit local number  ( In lower mainland area of B.C.)

(ii)  0 + 250 + seven digit local number  ( In rest of B.C.)

(iii) 0 + area code + local number  ( In Canada, United States, Mexico and the  


(iv) 01 + country code + area code + local number  ( Rest of the world).

(v) 01 + 977 + area code + local number  ( Nepal).   1 is the area code for Kathmandu.

Post Office
All mail destined in Canada must include the postal code. If you do not have the

postal code, you may find it from the postal code book available at any post office

free of charge. Postage required on regular letter ( ie, less than 30g. for Canada

and the United States, and 20g. for rest of the world) is :

(i)   46 cents in Canada,

(ii)  55 cents to the United States,  and

(iii) 95 cents to rest of the world.


Bigger/heavier than the regular letter cost more accordingly.

Metric and Imperial measure
Usually both metric and imperial measurements are used in Canada. The conversion table below may be helpful to you :

To Convert                Into                Multiply By

        gallon ( imperial)             liters                     4.506

        gallon ( U.S.)                       liters                     3.785

        grams                        ounces                     0.035

        kilograms                pounds             2.205

        kilometers                miles                     0.621

        centimeters                inches                     0.394

        feet                        meters                     0.305