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Move to Canada

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Just moved to Canada or planning to soon? Here are a few things to consider before and after your move.

Want to open an account at Desjardins from your home country or once you arrive in Canada? It's easy! Do it online or make an appointment with an advisor.

Open an account

Before you arrive

Study, work or immigrate permanently in Canada

Depending on your situation, you'll need to apply for one of the following:

  • a visa
  • permanent resident status
  • Canadian citizenship

For all the information you need about these key requirements, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada - External link. This link will open in a new window. website.

If you want to settle in Quebec

You'll need to apply through the Ministère de l'Immigration, de la Diversité et de l'Inclusion du Québec - External link. This link will open in a new window., who will be able to guide you through the process, whether you are:

  • a student
  • a worker
  • sponsored by a family member

A few facts about the Canadian financial system:

  • The currency used in Canada is the Canadian dollar (C$ or CAD).
  • 1 Canadian dollar equals 100 cents (¢).
  • Coins are in denominations of 5 ¢, 10 ¢, 25 ¢, $1 and $2 and bills in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.
  • Each year you must file an income tax return to the Canadian government, and, if residing in Quebec, to the Government of Québec.
  • The Canadian financial system protects your money and helps you make it grow. It is strictly regulated.

Use our currency calculator for banknotes - This link will open in a new window. or currency calculator for cheques and drafts - This link will open in a new window. to see the value of your country's currency in Canadian dollars.

It is advisable to arrive with some Canadian money already in hand.

It's important to select a financial institution that understands your situation, ready to do everything it can to meet your needs.

Desjardins - Newcomers to Canada team

Call on a Desjardins team of specialists to help you choose products and services that meet your needs as a newcomer to Canada.

Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, the urban centre of Quebec, its multilingual team is ready to guide you through the various steps of your integration in Canada.

Learn more - Desjardins – Montréal Centre-ville

Once you've arrived

You'll need to take care of certain things very soon after you arrive so you can lay the roots of your new life and settle more easily:

  • Change your money into Canadian currency.
  • If you haven't done so already, open an account at Desjardins.
  • Find housing
  • Get a social insurance number.
  • Apply for health-insurance card.
  • Get a driver's licence.
  • Take out private health insurance, if required.
  • Take steps to find employment.
  • Get to know your adopted home region.
  • Find a health-care professional.
  • Register your kids for school.
  • Get higher-skill training, if needed.
  • Get to know the Canadian financial framework.

If you are a newcomer to Canada and are not yet covered by a provincial health plan, you can get the Visitors to Canada Insurance. This essential coverage allows you to get emergency health care in the event of an accident or illness and therefor ensures peace of mind. It is also offered to individuals visiting Canada with a work visa or study visa, to visitors to Canada and to Canadians not covered by a provincial health plan.

If you are a Desjardins member and are eligible for Visitors to Canada Insurance, you can enjoy a 3-day discount on your insurance.

  • Choice of coverage amounts up to $150,000
  • What's covered:
    • Hospital care
    • Medical care and services (physician, surgeon, etc.)
    • Care and services prescribed by a physician (medications, x-rays, etc.)
    • Care provided by health professionals (chiropractor, podiatrist, etc.)
    • Dental care
    • Transportation costs (ambulance, repatriation, etc.)
    • Living expenses
    • Certain death-related expenses

Visitors to Canada Insurance gives you 24/7 access to a range of assistance services at no additional cost. A mobile app is also available at no charge.

Learn more - Visitors to Canada Insurance

The international money transfers feature on AccèsD Internet, the Desjardins online personal finance management service, lets you send money to or receive money from a person living abroad.

You must be a Desjardins caisse member or Desjardins credit cardholder to use AccèsD.

Learn more - Transfer money between your accounts, or to the account of another member

  1. Bloomberg, 2015.

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