In our conversations with newcomers, many express that they wish they knew certain things before they moved here. Many have experienced frustration in getting answers to their questions; not knowing exactly where to start, or who to turn to for information. Through consultation and research, we have compiled a database of questions that are often on the minds of newcomers as they try to adapt to their new home. Newcomers who have found this database expressed that they wished they knew about this accurate and reliable information from arrival or even before when they were planning to immigrate. Below is a small sample of frequently asked questions on our website pertaining to Daily Life In British Columbia.
Arts and Culture
- Where can I find information about arts and cultural events? We suggest a few options, such as Destination BC, and the Government of BC’s Arts and Culture page to start. We also recommend you look to your municipal government’s page, such as the City of Surrey’s event’s page. During your first year in Canada, you can also enjoy free admission to all Parks Canada administered locations (parks and historic sites) with the Canoo mobile app.
- What is a public library, and how can I find one? We love our libraries because they are the framework in which newcomers can land when you don’t know what you don’t know. These institutions offer workshops, resources, community events, and so much more.
Child Care in BC
- What kind of childcare is available in BC? The Government of British Columbia has developed a Child Care Programs Map which lists all government-funded licensed childcare facilities in British Columbia.
- How much does childcare cost in BC? Childcare is expensive and the cost varies depending on the age of the child and from provider to provider. You can find more detailed information through the Childcare Resource and Referral Centres (CCRR).
- How can I pay for my purchases? Most stores accept cash, debit (bank) cards, credit cards, and store credit cards. WelcomeBC offers information about managing your money in Canada.
- Can I bargain or barter when making purchases? The prices marked in stores are usually fixed. If you do not like the price, you can ask if the product will go on sale soon. It is, however, common to bargain when buying a vehicle or a home.
- What are service codes? In North America, N11 codes are used to provide three-digit dialling access to special services. For example, 9-1-1 provides direct access to emergency services in British Columbia, including ambulance, fire and police. The number can be dialled for free from any phone. Review the Canadian Numbering Administrator for more information.
- How do I send a letter or package? You can send mail from a regular post office or a small post office in a store. See Canada Post, or Yellow Pages: Courier Services in BC for more information.
- What services are available for immigrants and refugees? There are many settlement agencies that help immigrants and refugees settle in British Columbia. Many organizations are funded by the government and provide free services. They are excellent sources of information and advice on living in Canada. They have settlement workers who can provide you with help in many areas, such as searching for employment, finding housing, registering for free language training, finding special programs for children, youth, families, women, LGBTQ+ and seniors, and helping you with any problems you might have.
- What should I do in an emergency? If you have a life-threatening emergency, call the emergency number. In most areas of British Columbia, the emergency number is 9-1-1 for police, fire or ambulance. This call is free, even from a pay phone. You can ask for help in your own language.
- What should I do if the power goes out? Power outages can happen at any time. If your power goes out, you can call 1-888-POWERON (1-888-769-3766) to report the power outage. BC Hydro also has an online map that shows where all the known outages are, as well as the reason for the outages. They also provide tips about how to stay safe in case of a power outage.
There are many more questions, with many more answers, on our website. Please take a moment to review these, and please share this with your networks so that our newcomer friends know where to turn to for help.