Living in Calgary

Calgary is one of Canada’s largest cities. It is a dry place on the western edge of Canada’s wide prairie and is bordered by the Rocky Mountains rising in the west.

Calgary spreads out over several hundreds of square kilometres of land.   Two rivers run through it, the Bow River and the Elbow River, and there are lots of parks and natural areas.

In many ways, Calgary is a new city. The population has more than doubled in the last 50 years (1.23M in 2015), primarily as a result of immigration.  Many people from other countries and other parts of Canada now call Calgary home.


Steps to Settling in Calgary 

STEP 1: Find a Place to Stay

There are many possibilities and places where to look for housing. These are just some options: Kijiji- Local rentals in or 
Sometimes, you have to pay for electricity, heating, water and sewer separate from the monthly rent. 
Most landlords require a “damage deposit”. He or she holds the deposit, usually the amount of one month’s rent, as security to help cover the cost of any property damage that might happen while you live there. click here to learn more about landlords and tenants in Alberta.

STEP 2: Get a Social Insurance Number 

You will need a Social Insurance Number for identification, and to work. You can apply for a Social Insurance card at any office of the Service Canada department of the federal government.  For more information, contact the Regional Call Centre for Employment Insurance and Social Insurance Numbers at 1-800-206-7218.

STEP 3: Get Medical Insurance 

You must apply for Alberta Health Care Insurance within three months of arrival.  Alberta Health Care Insurance covers free consultations with family doctors.
 To get a list of family doctors accepting new patients, click here.

STEP 4: Open a Bank Account 

To open an account, you will need at least two pieces of identification, preferably with your photo. You can use your passport, permanent resident card and social insurance number card.

STEP 5: Plan for Your Children 

The Government of Canada and the Alberta Government offer tax-free monthly payments to families with children under the age of 18. You must apply for these payments. To request an Alberta Child Tax Benefit application form, call 1-800-959-2221; to request more information about the Canada Child Tax Benefit, call 1-800-387-1193.

Finally, the Child Care Subsidy Program helps low to middle-income families with preschool-aged children cope with daycare or family day home costs. If you need this type of financial aid, ask for an application at a daycare or family day home. For more information, visit Service Alberta or phone (403) 297-6100.

To register your child for a Public School, go to the Calgary Board of Education’s Kingsland Centre, located at 7430 - 5 Street SW. Call (403) 777-7373 for an appointment.

To register your child for a Catholic School, go to the Calgary Catholic School District, at St. John Reception Centre at 15 12 Street NW. Call 403-500-2007 to book an appointment.

There are also many Charter Schools with specific education focuses. 

STEP 6: English Language Training 

If you need to improve your English, many organizations in Calgary offer free, government-funded English Language Training for adults.  To take part in LINC classes, contact us.


Oil & Gas is the main industry, although there are many other kinds of businesses in the city, many with international connections. Calgarians value entrepreneurship. Social and business relationships are fluid, not fixed. Calgary is often described as a very big small town. It is a safe, friendly place – a good place to raise a family. People like to volunteer for special events and to make newcomers welcome.

Please call  403.569.3325 or come in person to book an appointment with our settlement practitioner.
Our address:
1010, 999 - 36 Street NE

Calgary, AB T2A 7X6
(Pacific Place Mall - northeast entrance)
We are on the west side of 36 Street between Memorial Drive & 16 Ave NE. 
Open Monday to Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm 

Learn more about Calgary

The City of Calgary - Municipal website.
Calgary Transit - City bus and C-train/LRT (Light Rapid Transit). Contains fares, schedules and route maps.
Greyhound and Red Arrow - To travel outside of Calgary you can use intercity bus companies. 
Calgary Public Library - Provides various services and programs. 
Alberta Drivers Licence  - To apply for Alberta Drivers Licence, road and drivers knowledge testing. 
Inform Alberta - Find the information you need about community, health, social, and government services across the province.

Visit the Centre for Newcomers. You do not have to wait until you’ve completed the settlement steps!  You’ll find that the Centre offers many useful newcomer services to help you get settled sooner.