New Brunswick’s cities are smaller than those in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia. The largest urban areas in terms of population are the Greater Saint John area, the Greater Fredericton area, and the Greater Moncton area.
The four seasons are very distinct in New Brunswick:
Summer includes June, July and August, when most people take vacation. The average temperature is 23.3˚C. July is the warmest month. Men and women wear light-weight clothing such as t-shirts, shorts and sandals. It is important to wear sunscreen, and many people wear hats to protect against sunburn. Beaches are popular destinations to stay cool. Men and women wear bathing suits and sit in the shade under large umbrellas. No matter where you are, it is important to drink water on hot days;
Spring and Fall are cooler than summer. You will need a light jacket or a heavy sweater to go outdoors. Umbrellas and rubber boots are a good idea in the spring because it rains a great deal. The leaves change colour in the fall, making it a very colourful season; and
Winter is the season when New Brunswickers spend most time indoors. All homes require heating. It is also the time of year when New Brunswickers enjoy sports such as skiing and skating. The coldest month is January. Temperatures are lower in the north than in the south. In Edmundston, for example, the average temperature in January is -12.2°C, while along the southeast shore of the province, the average is -7.5°C. Even when the temperature does not seem very low, you should be aware of what is called the wind-chill factor. It is part of winter weather forecasts. To protect your skin against frostbite, it is best to wear warm, waterproof clothing such as a heavy coat, scarf, gloves or mittens, a warm hat and insulated waterproof boots. You may find out about the weather by listening to local radio and television forecasts. When you arrange for cable television service, a channel called the Weather Network is often included. It shows weather forecasts 24 hours a day and also broadcasts government warnings about extreme conditions:
Alternatively, visit Environment Canada: www.weather.gc.ca
What to do before you arrive
Make sure your paperwork is in order Immigration and Citizenship Canada provides lists of essential and recommended paperwork.
You must have:
A Canadian immigrant visa for each family member travelling with you;
A valid passport or other travel documents for each family member travelling with you;
Two copies of a detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you (including how much they are worth);
Two copies of the list of items that will arrive later. You must also bring with you enough money to cover living expenses for you and your family for six months. You may be asked to show proof that you have access to this money.
Do not pack your documents in a suitcase, keep them with you. You will need to have them on hand to show immigration and customs officials.
Depending on your situation, bring the following important documents:
Birth certificates or baptismal certificates;
Separation or divorce papers;
Driver’s licence, including an international driver’s permit;
School records, diplomas or degrees for each family member travelling with you;
Trade or professional certificates and licences;
Letters of reference from former employers (three, if possible);
Immunization, vaccination, dental and other health records for each family member;
Photocopies of all essential and important documents, in case the originals get lost (be sure to keep the photocopies in a separate place from the originals); and
Car registration documents and record of car insurance if you are bringing a vehicle into Canada.
Having these documents does not necessarily mean they will be recognized in Canada, but it is wise to have them. You may also be required to have some documents translated into English or French.
What to do after you arrive
Take advantage of settlement services settlement services in New Brunswick are offered by community organizations that want to welcome you and help you get settled in your new home. Their services are usually free.
A number of agencies are available to help newcomers. They may help you find language classes and jobs, among other things. They may also provide information about living and working here. Some associations also organize social and cultural activities to help you to make new friends. Your access to some of these services will depend on your immigration status in Canada. Organizations offering a range of settlement services:
If you are in an emergency, telephone 9-1-1. This service is provided across the country. A specially trained operator will immediately arrange services such as police, fire, ambulance or connection to your local poison control centre. It is important to stay on the line long enough for the operator to get all the information he or she needs to help you. When you dial 9-1-1 from a land line (a telephone plugged into the wall), the operator sees on a computer the address from which your call is coming. Calls from a mobile phone can also be tracked for location which is forwarded to the 911 operator. It is important to allow the operator to confirm your number and identify your precise location, or the location of the emergency
Medical coverage I
Check with the Department of Health to see if you qualify for provincial medical coverage called Medicare.
You may apply for a Medicare card as soon as you arrive, but you may not use it until you have been here three months. Most but not all medical services are free. Medicare only covers visits and most tests at clinics, hospitals and the doctor’s office. You may choose to buy private health insurance to cover expenses such as dental care, physical therapy, drug prescriptions and eyeglasses. These costs are also sometimes covered by your employer.
Medical coverage II
As part of your plans to move to Canada, it is best to buy a private health insurance for at least the 3 first months. This way, you will be covered for any medical emergency after you arrive. To be eligible for New Brunswick Medicare, you must be legally entitled to be or remain in Canada, or be a permanent resident of New Brunswick.
If you are entering New Brunswick from another country, check with Medicare to find out if your immigration documents meet the criteria for Medicare coverage. After you apply, you will get a letter with Medicare numbers for each member of your family. An application form for registration is available from the offices of Service New Brunswick. A separate form should be filled out for anyone in your family who is 19 or older.
You may contact Medicare:
1-888-762-8600 (SNB Teleservices)
It is important to start looking for a family doctor right away. Do not wait until you are sick. Family doctors are your first stop for health care in Canada. They may help you with many common illnesses. They may also give you advice about pregnancy, family planning, nutrition, physical exams, immunizations and emotional problems.
Family doctors are also trained to treat chronic medical problems such as diabetes, hypertension, depression, weight loss and asthma. If you need medication, they may write drug prescriptions for you to take to the pharmacy. They may also refer you to a specialist (a doctor who specializes in a specific field of medicine).
In an emergency, such as serious illness or injury, you should go directly to the hospital emergency room, or call 9-1-1 for help. An ambulance will be sent to your home to take you to the hospital. Until you have been accepted as a patient by a family doctor, there are a number of walk-in or after-hours clinics where you can go for care.
Renting a house or apartment
Renting means that you are paying to live in a space owned by a landlord. Renting is a smart first step when arriving in New Brunswick because it does not take as long to move in and get settled as buying a home.
Check the local newspaper in the classified advertisements under apartments for rent, or visit real estate websites, a popular website used to promote available accommodations is Kijiji - www.Kijiji.ca
To begin renting, you will sign a contract called a lease, which has the details of the agreement you have with your landlord. Leases include:
The length of time you agree to live there. (Some leases allow you to pay one month at a time but usually they are one year long.);
The amount of money you will pay and when you will pay it;
What services (telephone, heat, cable, etc.) are included in the rent and what you need to arrange and pay for yourself; and
Any special rules the landlord has such as restrictions on pets, parking and noise.
The landlord must provide you with a written copy of the lease. When you move in you may be required to pay a security deposit. A security deposit is:
Money paid to the provincial Residential Tenancies Tribunal while you are renting;
It is kept to pay your landlord for damages you may cause to his or her property;
If there is no damage, the Residential Tenancies Tribunal will return it to you when you move out; and
You cannot be charged more than one month’s rent as a security deposit.
The landlord must repair and maintain the house or apartment and the large appliances such as the refrigerator or stove;
You cannot be asked to leave if you are meeting your responsibilities;
Your rent cannot be increased without giving you notice of two to three months. If you receive notice that the rent is going to be increased, you may move prior to the increase starting as long as you write to your landlord.
You must pay all your rent and pay it on time according to your lease;
You must keep the space you are renting clean and not damage it;
If you want to paint or make big changes, you must talk to your landlord first; and
You must be considerate of other renters. This means not leaving toys or bicycles in shared areas such as hallways and not being noisy, especially at night
Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You must have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada. You should apply for this as soon as you arrive. You may apply either in person at a Service Canada office, or online through the link below.
The federal government assigns each Canadian Resident a Social Insurance Number (SIN); you will need one to work or receive government benefits. You should keep your SIN confidential. Only the government or an employer (after you are hired) is allowed to ask you for your SIN. Your bank may also request your SIN for some financial transactions
In New Brunswick, you may also apply for a SIN over the telephone by calling Service Canada toll-free, 1-800-206-7218 (select option “3”), Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
New Year’s Day (January 1st);
Family Day (observed on the third Monday in February)
Good Friday (Friday before Easter Sunday in either March or April);
Canada Day (July 1st);
New Brunswick Day (first Monday in August);
Labour Day (first Monday in September);
Remembrance Day (Nov. 11th); and
Christmas (Dec. 25th);
Enrol your children in school
The New Brunswick Education Act requires you to enrol your children in school. Most children go to public schools paid for by the provincial government. Some communities have private schools that charge fees. Some parents choose to homeschool their children; that is, to teach them at home using government guidelines.
Open a bank account
You may open an account at the bank of your choice. You will need photo identification, a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and a home address.
Obtain a driver’s licence
When you come to Canada, it is important to get a New Brunswick driver’s licence. Many jobs require you to have one. Your driver’s licence is also a form of photo identification. A photo ID is required for many things, including opening a bank account, travelling by plane, and voting, if you become a citizen.
If you are not interested in driving, you may get a government-issued photo ID card instead of a driver’s licence. It resembles a driver’s licence, but it does not give you the right to drive.
You may use your international driver’s licence or foreign licence for up to three months after you arrive, but you must get a New Brunswick driver’s licence if you plan to keep driving here.
Visit any Service New Brunswick location to find out if you may exchange your driver’s licence for a New Brunswick licence or if you need to take a driving test first.
Contact Service New Brunswick for more information:
Driving in the winter in snow and cold is often difficult. Some suggestions:
Buy winter tires (special tires that are made from material that can grip the road in cold weather). Do not use winter tires during the summer because this can weaken them. Also check the tires regularly to make sure they have enough air in them;
Slow down. Do not drive at the speed limit if the weather is bad. If roads are slippery, occasionally press on the brakes to get a feel for how long you will need to stop and how much control you have;
Make sure you can see: keep your headlights, wiper blades and window defroster in good shape. Make sure you always have enough windshield washer fluid;
Check for ice: always remember that bridges and overpasses (especially areas in the shade) will freeze faster than normal, so be careful driving in these places;
Watch for animals: most highways in New Brunswick pass through forests where large animals such as deer and moose live. They may cause serious accidents when they try to cross roads;
Be extra careful at night.
Your rights and freedoms
No matter what your immigration status is, you have certain rights and freedoms when you live in Canada. They are written in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They include:
Freedom of conscience and religion (the right to follow your religious beliefs);
Freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication (the right to express your opinions);
Freedom of peaceful assembly (the right to gather for peaceful meetings or events); and
Freedom of association (the freedom to be with other people you choose).
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms: www.lois-laws.justice.gc.ca
New Brunswick has airports in Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, Miramichi and Bathurst. Depending on the airport, flights are available within and outside of Canada.
The best way to become part of your new community is to become involved. A number of community groups will welcome you.