British Columbia

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada. It offers some of the most exciting cities. Situated between the Pacific Ocean and the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains, it is one of the most beautiful provinces in Canada and one of the top tourist spots as well. The total population of BC is over 4.5 million people. Most of its residents prefer to live in two major cities – Vancouver and the capital city, Victoria. The province has a diversified geography, with rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, woods, lakes, mountains, inland deserts, and grassy plains among its challenging landscapes. To the east, it has a border with the Canadian province of Alberta, and to the north, it shares a border with the Canadian territory of Yukon.

Health Care

To avail the health services here, you must register for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as you arrive. You will not be covered immediately by MSP. It generally takes three months after registration for your healthcare coverage to begin. Meanwhile, go for temporary health insurance. You can obtain temporary health insurance through a private insurance company.

When your MSP coverage begins, you will receive a CareCard. You must bring this card with you whenever you visit a doctor or a hospital.

Note: MSP has a monthly fee.


British Columbia has around 27,200 km of rugged coastline and thousands of small islands. It lies along the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada. 75% of the province is mountainous and impenetrable in many places. 2/3rds of the province is still under-populated and undeveloped. With varied climates, it can be expected to find rain forests along the coast, sub-arctic winters further north, and mild weather in the interior.


British Columbia excels in many areas. However, the province is especially famous for its quality education. There are several research-based universities that offer world-class education opportunities. BC is home to some of the finest learning institutions in the world. The province currently has 25 publicly-funded post-secondary educational institutions, including 4 research universities, 7 teaching universities, 11 colleges, and 3 provincial schools, as well as one aboriginal college.


To legally work in British Columbia, apply for your Social Insurance number (SIN). Ensure your credentials are assessed at Canadian Centre for International Credentials or The Open Learning Agency (OLA) operates the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES). ICES will assess foreign secondary and postsecondary certificates for employment. If you work in a trade, ensure that you have the certifications required by law in British Columbia to practice your trade. For trade certification, begin by contacting Red Seal, a nation-wide trade certification organization. Register with appropriate provincial regulatory organization for your profession (where applicable). Also register for language classes, if required to improve your English or French language skills. For English as a Second Language classes (ESL) contact your local Language Assessment Centre.


There are multiple housing options across Canada. If you have not visited your new city prior to immigrating, it may be best to rent an apartment on a temporary basis when you first arrive, and/or hire a real estate agent to guide you through the housing process and provide you with knowledgeable advice on the best areas for you and your family.
Many families prefer to live in suburbs where housing is more affordable as housing is generally more expensive in cities. Suburbs often provide all facilities such as safe neighbourhoods, schools, shopping centres and healthcare, all within close proximity to the amenities of the city.

It is important that you take your family, your place of work, neighbourhood and finances into account before deciding on a place to live.

Cost of living

The cost of living in British Columbia is 1.15 times more expensive than the average in Canada. It accounts for a total of $1841. British Columbia is ranked 3rd most expensive and 3rd best state to live in Canada. The average salary in British Columbia is $3067, which is enough to cover living expenses for approximately one and a half years.


As most of its land is undeveloped, British Columbia has become a prime destination for the film industry. There are vast areas free of power-lines, roads, fences, or any other modern features which could spoil a film shot. British Columbia has the third-largest film industry in North America, right after Hollywood, and New York and is often referred to as “Hollywood North.”

This province also has an abundance of natural resources, meaning that the most lucrative industries are agriculture, fishing, and mining. As a strong and growing economy, there are plenty of job opportunities in construction, manufacturing, and education.