Alberta Health Care

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Alberta health care insurance plan:


When arriving in Alberta one of the first things you should do is apply for the Alberta Health Insurance plan. The Alberta health insurance plan covers most basic health-care services such as doctor visits, xrays, hospital etc. 

When applying for Alberta health Insurance you need to provide one of the following documentation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada along with identification such as your birth certificate or passport:

  •  Confirmation of permanent residence 
  •  Permanent Resident Card
  • Active work (minimum 6 months), study* or visitor* permit for Alberta

*Not all Alberta permits qualify the permit holder for health care insurance coverage in Alberta.

NOTE: All applicants must intend to reside in Alberta for 12 consecutive months.

For Alberta Health documentation requirements: 


For application and brochures for Alberta health care insurance plan: 


You can register for Alberta health Insurance plan at authorized registry agents across the province. Here is a link to the registered Agents: 


It is also recommended that you obtain private insurance when you arrive as there might be a waiting period before getting your health coverage. You also have to register for a family doctor but if you need a doctor before that you always use a walk-in clinic. Every time you visit a doctor or a specialist you will need to show them your health card. To look for updated lists of available GP’s call 1-866-408-5465 (LINK) or visit this website: 


Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) does not cover everything, e.g. prescriptions, eye exams, ambulance services, dental care etc. So it is recommended to get private SUPPLEMENTARY health insurance. A lot of the bigger companies provide health benefits for full time employees or you can apply for supplementary insurance for yourself and family from Alberta Blue Cross.

Alberta Blue cross is an affordable health care benefits carrier that will cover just about every type of health benefit, including prescription drugs, dental, vision care, preferred hospital accommodation, emergency medical travel, ambulance, home nursing and chiropractor, as well as life insurance and short and long term disability coverage for group plan members.


Here is a link for the Alberta Blue cross: 

Income Tax

TaxWhen you come to Canada you do have to file a yearly income tax return.  It is under the Income Tax Act that you file a income tax return for a year in which you have tax payable. Even if you have taxes withheld from your employer or you exceed the amount of tax you owe.

Here is an article from the Canada Revenue Agency for newcomers to Canada:

The following information applies only for the first tax year that you are a new resident of Canada for income tax purposes. After your first tax year in Canada, you are no longer considered a newcomer for income tax purposes.

If you immigrate to Canada, we consider you to have acquired (deemed acquisition) almost all your properties at fair market value on the day you immigrated. If you are re-establishing Canadian residency and you had a deemed disposition when you left Canada, see Dispositions of property.

Are you a newcomer to Canada?

You become a resident of Canada for income tax purposes when you establish significant residential ties in Canada. You usually establish these ties on the date you arrive in Canada.

Newcomers to Canada who have established residential ties with Canada may be:

  • persons in need of protection;
  • people who have applied for or received permanent resident status from Citizenship and Immigration Canada; or
  • people who have received “approval-in-principle” from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to stay in Canada.

If you were a resident of Canada in an earlier year, and you are now a non-resident, you will be considered a Canadian resident for income tax purposes when you move back to Canada and re-establish your residential ties.

What are residential ties?

Residential ties in Canada include:

  • a home in Canada;
  • a spouse or common-law partner (see the definition in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide) and dependants who move to Canada to live with you;
  • personal property, such as a car or furniture; and
  • social ties in Canada.

Other ties that may be relevant include:

  • a Canadian driver’s licence;
  • Canadian bank accounts or credit cards; and
  • health insurance with a Canadian province or territory.

For more information about residency status, see Residency – Individuals or Interpretation Bulletin IT-221, Determination of an Individual’s Residence Status.

If you want an opinion about your residency status, complete and submit Form NR74, Determination of Residency Status (Entering Canada).

Your tax obligations

Do you have to file?

As a resident of Canada for income tax purposes for part or all of a tax year (January 1 to December 31), you must file a tax return if you:

  • owe tax; or
  • want to request a refund.

Even if you have no income to report or tax to pay, you may be eligible for certain payments or credits. In order to receive the following payments or credits, you must file an income tax return.

For more information, see “Do you have to file a return?” in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide.

Which tax package?

As a newcomer to Canada, you should be aware that most individuals who reside in Canada file only one income tax return for the tax year, because the Canadian government collects taxes on behalf of all provinces and territories except the Province of Quebec.

For the tax year that you are a newcomer to Canada and for each tax year that you continue to be a resident of Canada for income tax purposes, use the General Income Tax and Benefit Package for the province or territory where you resided on December 31 of the tax year.

  • It is important to use the forms book for your province or territory because tax rates and tax credits are different in each province and territory.
  • If you live in the province of Quebec, you may need to file a separate provincial income tax return. For information about your provincial tax liability, contact Revenu Québec.

Filing due date

Generally, your income tax return has to be filed on or before:

  • April 30 of the year after the tax year; or
  • if you or your spouse or common-law partner carried on a business in Canada (other than a business whose expenditures are mainly in connection with a tax shelter), the return must be filed on or before June 15 of the year after the tax year.


A balance of tax owing must be paid on or before April 30 of the year after the tax year, regardless of the due date of the tax return.

What income must you report?

For the part of the tax year that you were not a resident of Canada

You pay Canadian income tax on Canadian source income.

For the part of the tax year that you were a resident of Canada

You have to report your world income (income from all sources, both inside and outside Canada) earned after becoming a resident of Canada for income tax purposes on your Canadian tax return.

For more information about income you have to report and credits you can ask for as a newcomer to Canada, see Pamphlet T4055, Newcomers to Canada.

Entitlement to benefits and credits

As a newcomer to Canada, you may be eligible for the goods and services/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit, the Canada child tax benefit (CCTB), and the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) payments in the year you became a resident of Canada.

Trade Certification for plumbers

Some info here direct from the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials… 

This piece is the one for plumbers…regarding trade certification for plumbers  but of course if you go directly to the website, you can enter your own profession/enquiry for foreign-trained plumbers

Plumbing, FTW

Plumbing, FTW (Photo credit: spierzchala)

(7251) Verified: 2011 09 15
Information on requirements to practise

Trade certification can be either compulsory or voluntary. To practice in trades where certification is compulsory, workers must generally be certified or registered as apprentices. In trades where certification is voluntary, certification and apprenticeship are often used to indicate the level of competency of the holder, but workers are not required to be registered or certified in order to practice. Red Seal Certification itself is never mandatory, except where indicated as such by jurisdictions in specific legislation. Once you know where you will settle and work in Canada, you should contact the appropriate provincial/territorial office (see list below) for further information about licensing or certification.
You may confirm that the trade indicated in the title has been designated as an Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Trade on that Web site, for which all provinces and territories (except the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec and the Yukon) have jointly agreed on certification standards. In these trades, apprentices who have completed their training and certified journeypersons, holders of provincial or territorial Certificates of Qualification, can apply to write an Interprovincial Standards Examination; if successful, they receive a distinctive “Red Seal” to affix to their Certificate of Qualification.
The Interprovincial Standards “Red Seal” Examinations are administered through the provincial and territorial apprenticeship and training or certification offices. Holders of a Red Seal Certificate are exempt from further examination when moving between participating provinces and territories. A Red Seal Certificate may be required by some employers as a condition for employment. To obtain more information about the Red Seal Certificate, contact:
Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA)
Red Seal Program / Programme du Sceau rouge
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9 Canada
Email :

Information on assessment of qualifications

The provincial/territorial authorities are not set up to assess foreign credentials prior to your arrival in Canada. However, you can contact them to obtain specific information about practising your trade in their jurisdiction.
If you wish to have your credentials assessed for a purpose other than practising a regulated occupationin Canada, you may consult our Fact Sheet No. 2, “Assessment and recognition of credentials for the purpose of employment in Canada” and contact an academic credential evaluation service. Although evaluation services offer expert advice on how qualifications obtained abroad compare with academic credentials obtained in Canada, their evaluations are advisory only and do not guarantee recognition of your qualifications for employment or certification purposes in Canada. Please note that evaluation services charge a fee for their assessments.
Other relevant information

For a general description of duties and employment requirements, you can refer to the information prepared by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada regarding:
Specific Provincial/Territorial Information

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
Prince Edward Island

Up Arrow List of apprenticeship, training, and trade certification offices

Alberta – Apprenticeship and Industry Training
International and Provincial Assessment Services
10th Floor, Commerce Place, 10155 -102 Street
Edmonton AB T5J 4L5 Canada
Phone : (780) 427-8765
Fax : (780) 422-7376

Equivalency Program
British Columbia

Industry Training Authority (ITA)
ITA Customer Service
Suite 110, 2985 Virtual Way
Vancouver BC V5M 4X7
Phone : (778) 328-8700
Phone (alternate): 1-866-660-6011
Fax : (778) 328-8701
Email :

Opportunities for immigrants

Manitoba – Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade
1010 – 401 York Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3C 0P8 Canada
Phone : 204-945-3337
Phone (alternate): 1-877-978-7233
Fax : 204-948-2346
Email :

Permits, Licences and Renewals
New Brunswick

New Brunswick – Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Apprenticeship and Certification
P.O. Box 6000
470 York Street, Room 100
Fredericton NB E3B 5H1 Canada
Phone : (506) 453-2260
Phone (alternate): 1-877-453-3030
Fax : (506) 453-5317
Email :

Mobility / Recognition of Credentials
Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland & Labrador – Department of Education, Apprenticeship and Certification
Confederation Bldg., West Block, 4th Floor
P.O. Box 8700
St. John’s NL A1B 4J6 Canada
Phone : (709) 729-2729
Phone (alternate): 1-877-771-3737
Fax : (709) 729-5878
Email :

Northwest Territories

Northwest Territories – Education, Culture and Employment: Apprenticeship and Occupational Certification
P.O. Box 1320
Yellowknife NT X1A 2L9
Phone : (867) 873-7552
Fax : (867) 873-0200
Email :

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia – Department of Labour and Workforce Development, Apprenticeship Training and Skill Development Division
2021 Brunswick Street, Suite 402, P.O. Box 578
Halifax NS B3J 2S9
Phone : (902) 424-5651
Phone (alternate): 1-800-494-5651
Fax : (902) 424-0717
Email :

Credential Recognition

Nunavut – Department of Education, Adult Learning and Post-Secondary Services
Apprenticeship, Trades and Certification
PO Box 1000, Station 910
Iqaluit NU X0A 0H0 Canada
Phone : (867) 975-5658
Fax : (867) 975-5605
Email :


Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Employment Ontario
Regional Apprenticeship Offices/Centres d’apprentissage régionaux
Toronto ON M7A 2S3 Canada
Phone : 1-800-387-5656 (Ontario)
Email :

Mel McCartney, R.N. BSc. Hons
Licensed in BC and Alberta
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

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What To Do In Calgary During Winter

Two rabbits in the snow-20c? -30? believe it or not Calgary in the winter can offer some incredible activities for you and your family. Winter is not a season to take lightly and yes it can be very cold and miserable if you are not prepared for the elements. If this is your first time experiencing winter here you will need to buy warm clothes and dress in layers. A typical day out in the winter at -20 degrees Celsius would mean you would require warm footwear (boots), snow pants and/or thermal underwear, two or three layers to protect your body (shirt, sweater, and jacket), a warm hat, and gloves or mittens.

For those who are not familiar with  Calgary it is a city that is located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 1100 metres (3500 feet) in southern Alberta. It’s northern  location and elevation affects the climate to a large degree. The winters here are very long and snow generally falls from October to May. Being on the eastern side of the mountains causes Calgary to be very dry, and the winters usually have less snow when compared to other parts of Canada. One amazing fact of the climate in Calgary are the Chinooks: These are warm winds that blow out of the Rockies that can cause a mid-winter day to warm up 30 degrees very suddenly. It breaks up the winter and this is unique to anywhere else in Canada. Variability is the key to understanding the climate in Calgary so be prepared.

Wondering what to do in Calgary during the winter? There are many fun activities you and your family can do while enjoying the winter. Among the activities you can include in your what to do in Calgary list are;

Sports Events - Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada with the Calgary Flames being the professional team located in the city and the Calgary hitmen are the junior team.  For ticket information to see the Calgary Flames: and for the Calgary hitmen: Also unlike soccer where the fans are separated, the fans all sit together at these events.

Skating, Skiing & Sledding Activities – Downhill skiing and snowboarding are fun activities with 4 major ski resorts within 1 to 2 hours driving distance from Calgary that include (Nakiska, Sunshine, Mt. Norquay, Lake Louise), and one smaller hill in Calgary (Canada Olympic Park – COP). Nakiska is a great hill to learn how to ski because it has a large beginner area, and COP is convenient and a good learners hill. Mt. Norquay also has tubing, which is a fun-filled experience riding down a hill in a rubber tube. Cross country skiing is another option and is available in the city at COP and many of the city’s parks.  Within 3 hours of driving you have world renowned resorts of kicking horse, Fernie and Panorama. Snow shoeing is an activity that is fun and has been present in Canada for hundreds of years. Kids also enjoy tobogganing (using a sledge) to slide down many local hills in the city. Ice skating is also available (indoor and outdoor) throughout Calgary. That is another great advantage if you live in a lake community (ask me) as they offer a lot of these activities.


Festivals and Activities

The Calgary Zoo has zoo lights during from the end of November to the start of January and features hot chocolate, fire pits, children’s activities and the display of 1.5 million twinkling lights. Santa also makes an appearance during Christmas.

The Calgary winter festival is an 11-day festival is held in early February to commemorate the 1988 Winter Olympics and all other winter activities. Music, entertainment, sports competitions, carnivals and children’s activities can all be found at the Calgary Winter Festival.

Calgary is an interesting and exciting city to visit all year round. It is packed with activities and events that will surely create memorable experience for your family and friends.

Federal skilled workers

Have your education assessed – Federal skilled workers

News from Citizenship and Immigration Canada:


Starting in May 2013, all people applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) must get an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of their completed foreign educational credentials.If you are only submitting a Canadian educational credential, you do not need to do this.

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) is used to verify that your foreign degree, diploma, certificate (or other proof of your credential) is valid and equal to a completed credential in Canada.

You must have such an assessment if you:

  • are a principal applicant, and
  • got your education outside Canada.

Your education must be assessed against Canadian standards by one of the organizations designated by CIC (below).

When you apply as a federal skilled worker with a foreign educational credential, an original ECA report must:

  • be included with your application along with proof of your foreign credential,
  • be issued on or after the date the organization was designated by CIC,
  • not be more than five years old on the date that CIC gets your application, and
  • show your credential is equal to a completed Canadian one.

If you do not submit this assessment when you apply, your application is not complete. We will not process it and will send it back to you.

These assessments are to help make sure we choose immigrants with the best possible chances of success in Canada. But, being assessed does not guarantee you will be employed in your field or at a certain level. Employers are not bound by the assessment.

If you plan to work in an occupation that is regulated in Canada, you should contact the regulatory authority in the province where you plan to live. They can give you important information about getting your license, including any steps you can take before you leave your home country.

photo by: Sean MacEntee

News direct from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Canada - FED - Canada Immigration OfficerNews direct from Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Press Release — October 21, 2013


Minister Alexander Expands Start-up Visa Program to Include Business Incubators

Toronto, October 21, 2013 — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announces a new visa stream to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada.

As part of our government’s focus on jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, it is critical for Canada to attract the best entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world,” said Alexander. “This new stream will partner Canada’s world class business incubators with immigrant entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and placing Canada ahead of its competitors in the global economy of the 21st century.

The launch of a new Business Incubator stream under the Start-up Visa (SUV) Program to recruit dynamic foreign entrepreneurs will complement existing venture capital and angel investor streams. It will attract early-stage and high growth businesses, and entrepreneurs who can contribute to a culture of innovation and commercialization in Canada.

Business incubators provide promising entrepreneurs with valuable mentorship, and help them to attract investors and grow their start-ups into sustainable businesses that can create jobs in Canada.

We are honoured to partner with Citizenship and Immigration Canada on this exciting new initiative,” said CABI President David McNamara. “Our mission is to help small businesses grow and succeed. Connecting immigrant entrepreneurs with Canada’s accredited business incubators will broaden our respective networks and bring us all to the next level. The possibilities are endless!

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will designate eligible business incubator programs in consultation with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI). The new stream will begin accepting applications on October 26, 2013.

Alexander also announced today that five additional Canadian venture capital funds will soon be designated as SUV partners. An updated list of all designated organizations will be made available on the CIC website as of October 26, 2013.

We are excited about the expansion of the Start-Up Visa and look forward to welcoming innovators through this program in the near future,” said Alexander.

The SUV is a five-year pilot program and is limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year. It is designed to attract high quality and select entrepreneurs who can advance the Government of Canada’s innovation agenda. In addition to standard admissibility requirements, SUV applicants must meet certain program eligibility criteria.


For further information (media only), please contact:

Kevin Menard
Minister’s Office
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada’s economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.