Relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia can be an exciting adventure! Vancouver is a vibrant and diverse city known for its stunning natural landscapes, mild climate, and thriving cultural scene.
Where should you live in Vancouver? What are your childcare, schooling, and health care options? We can help answer these questions and more and offer helpful resources for making your move and getting the most out of the city and life at UBC.
If you are seeking information on immigration, please visit our Immigration page.
There are a number of banking institutions and branches for you to choose from in British Columbia. Several banks are located near UBC's Vancouver campus, including:
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found on campus and throughout Vancouver.
Car Insurance, Imports & Driver’s License in B.C
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), a provincial Crown corporation, provides basic auto insurance to B.C. drivers. If you have a driver’s license from another Canadian province, the United States, or overseas, your license is valid in British Columbia for a period of 90 days as long as you meet B.C.’s licensing requirements.
Prior to the end of the 90-day grace period, you must visit ICBC to apply for a B.C. driver’s license. You will be required to provide proof of your previous driving experience and note that when you qualify for your new B.C. license, you'll need to surrender your previous license to ICBC.
To learn more about switching to a B.C license, visit ICBC Moving to B.C.
If you are moving from another country and planning to import your vehicle, visit Information on importing a vehicle from another country. ICBC requires that you register your car for insurance purposes within 30 days of arrival.
Childcare & Schooling
UBC is the largest campus-based childcare provider in North America, and off-campus childcare options are also available.
Vancouver also has a world-recognized primary and secondary school system.
Learn more about child care and schooling.
Doctors, Dentists & Health Practitioners
Are you looking for a family doctor? Here are some suggestions you can explore:
College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC: Find family doctors accepting new patients and/or walk-in clinics in your community.
Pathways Medical Care: Under “Find Care” enter “Vancouver”. A map and list of open clinics will pop up. Click the clinic name to find out if they are available for walk-ins, taking new patients, and/or how to book an appointment.
Medimap: Find up-to-date walk-in clinic wait times and/or see a physician virtually.
HealthLink BC Services: 8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line available in British Columbia. The 8-1-1 phone line is operated by HealthLink BC, which is part of the Ministry of Health. By calling 8-1-1, you can speak to a health service navigator, who can help you find health information and services; or connect you directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist.
Health Connect: Register to get access to a doctor or nurse practitioner in your community in B.C.
UBC Teladoc: UBC Extended Health Plan includes access to Teladoc (formerly Best Doctors), a network of medical and mental health specialists who can guide you through your treatment needs. Teladoc is a confidential service that provides clarity, confidence and understanding if you or your eligible dependents have any concerns or doubts about a diagnosis, need help deciding on a treatment option or question the need for surgery.
Lumino Health: Find your next health provider, access insights, and discover discounts.
Find a Doctor BC: A website dedicated to helping patients help each other find family practitioners accepting new patients in BC. Use of the website is free, but to help keep the lights on they also offer a notification service for $3.99/month so you can be notified via email when a doctor in your area starts accepting new patients.
UBC Health Clinic: UBC Faculty of Medicine operates the clinic on the Vancouver campus. The clinic provides full-service family practice care, including obstetrics and nursing home care, for individuals and families living on the UBC campus or in Lower Mainland.
BC Dental Association: Find a dentist in your area.
Hospitals in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland:
Fraser Health (serving Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Mission, Delta, Langley, and Chilliwack)
Vancouver Coastal Health (serving Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, and Sea-to-Sky)
Learn about other health and wellbeing options at UBC.
Healthcare & Benefits
The Medical Services Plan (MSP) is the BC provincial government’s medical insurance plan administered by Health Insurance BC. All eligible BC residents and their dependents must enroll in MSP, which pays for the medically required services of physicians and surgeons, hospital services, as well as dental and oral surgery when it is medically required to be performed in a hospital.
If you are coming to UBC from outside of BC or Canada, there is a waiting period of 3 months or 2 months plus the remainder of the month that you arrived.
- If you are coming to BC from another Canadian province or territory, you should maintain coverage with their former provincial medical plan during the MSP wait period. This will ensure you are covered for any medically necessary physician and hospital services by your former province as you wait for your MSP coverage to start.
- If you are coming to BC from outside of Canada, you should arrange for private coverage during the MSP waiting period. Faculty and staff employed or appointed by UBC from outside Canada can purchase private coverage during the waiting period through David Cummings Insurance Services, Sun Life’s Inpatriate Health Plan or another private insurance agency of your choosing, so that you will be reimbursed for medical claims. You are responsible for the cost and purchasing of your own private insurance.
Further details on the plan, temporary health insurance and application process can be found on UBC MSP page.
The UBC Extended Health and Dental Benefits plans will reimburse you and your eligible dependents for some or all of the cost of many healthcare services that are not covered by the Medical Services Plan. Information about eligibility, definitions for dependents, and everything you need to know about the extended health and dental benefits available to your employee group can be found on the Benefits page.
UBC offers many other benefits plans that are designed for the health and wellbeing of our staff, faculty and their families in mind. A complete list of benefits available to you as an employee of UBC can be found on the Benefits page.
Vancouver is a mosaic of diverse neighbourhoods, each with different housing options. Our housing section offers information on and off campus rental housing options, short term stays, buying, and UBC's Faculty Home Ownership Programs.
Learn more about our housing programs and resources.
Moving & Relocation Policies
The Central Relocation Fund is governed by UBC Relocation Policy and supports eligible faculty and senior management moving to Metro Vancouver to work at the Vancouver Campus or to the Kelowna area to work at the Okanagan Campus.
Visit our Moving for Faculty and Senior Management page for more detailed information.
Importing or travelling with pets?
Please review the government rules and regulations on bringing in a pet to ensure compliance and prevent delays at the border.
With the proper documentation, you may arrange pet shipment with an airline. Below are two Canadian Airlines and their shipping requirements for a pet. You may also want to explore the pet shipping requirements of other airlines that operate flights to Vancouver.
There are a few Veterinary Clinics and Hospitals within close proximity to the UBC campus:
Social Insurance Number & Taxation in Canada
The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. All employees are required by Service Canada to present their SIN card to their employer within three days of starting work. You'll also need a bank account to have your paycheque deposited into.
Foreign academics who are to receive salary or an honorarium must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from a Service Canada Centre. You may apply online or in person at a Service Canada Centre.
For more information about obtaining a Social Insurance Number, visit the Service Canada website.
While at UBC, any earnings received are considered Canadian income, unless otherwise indicated by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in writing prior to arrival.
Please contact a financial advisor or the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for tax and financial information.
You can also access the CRA website for a self-directed online course on understanding taxes, which includes help on how to file a tax return.
If you have any questions about paying income tax in Canada, please refer to CRA’s information for non-residents or contact the International Tax Services Office (collect calls are accepted):
- Calling from Canada and the U.S.: 1 800 267 5177
- Calling from outside Canada and the US: 1 613 952 3741
- Fax: 1 613 941 2505
Getting around UBC and Vancouver is usually easy, even if you don’t own a vehicle. There's public transportation and car and bike sharing networks as well as ride-hailing services.
The Lower Mainland has a reliable transit system that includes buses, SkyTrain / Canada Line (rapid transit), the West Coast Express (commuter train), and the Sea Bus, that all link Vancouver with its surrounding areas. Visit Translink for information on current schedules, fare information, and trip planning tools to help you get around.
Carpooling and Ride-sharing
UBC has partnered with Liftango, a leader in on-demand shared mobility technology, to provide our commuters with a free, easy to use carpool network made up exclusively of UBC staff, students, and faculty.
UBC carpool drivers can earn up to $2 per day on their UBC Card if they use the Liftango app and pick-up at least one person on their way to and from campus.
Visit Carpooling and Ride-sharing for more details.
Vancouver has two car sharing networks that operate throughout the city. They're easy to sign up for and offer a great alternative to public transport or driving your own car around Vancouver.
- The Evo fleet is made up of Toyota Prius Hybrids, with seating for five and bike/ski/snowboard racks. Evo offers a pay as you go model, and flexibility in pick up and drop off locations.
- Modo is a locally owned member co-op allowing two-way trips. Park the car where you picked it up. Rates include gas, insurance and permitted parking.
Cycling is one of the fastest and most enjoyable ways to travel around UBC and across Vancouver. Bike share programs make public bikes available for shared use to individuals on a short-term basis. The bikes can be unlocked from one location and locked in convenient locations in the service area, making bike share ideal for short, one-way trips.
- People living, studying, and working on UBC campus have access to HOPR bikes for commuting on campus, running errands, and riding for fun.
- Mobi by Shaw Go is Vancouver’s official bike share program operated by Vancouver Bike Share Inc. Mobi serves as a convenient way to get around the city and is ideal for short rides and one-way trips. Mobi e-bikes are coming to UBC campus September 2023 and will be expanding over the coming months with a total of 10 stations by summer 2024. Mobi bikes and e-bikes can be docked and undocked at any of Mobi’s stations throughout UBC and the City of Vancouver.
Taxis and Ride-Hailing Services
- Uber and Lyft services are both available in Metro Vancouver. Visit their website or download the app for more information.
- Yellow Cab Vancouver Taxi Service is an owner-operated company serving the residents, tourists and business professionals in The City of Vancouver and the surrounding area since 1921. Yellow Cab prides itself as being the leader in the Vancouver taxi industry in British Columbia and is presently the longest operating taxi Company in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Visit their website to book a taxi in Vancouver.
- Black Top & Checker Cabs offer a variety of services, from airport service, jump start assistance to pickup and delivery courier service. You may book a taxi online, phone or through their mobile app. Visit their website for more information.
For information on UBC specific transportation options, visit Campus and Community Planning.