Before You Arrive

Settling in a new city and beginning a new job can be very exciting – but it can be a great challenge too. To help ease your transition to life in Vancouver and at UBC, we have provided the information below. Please ensure you review the following information thoroughly.


1. Offer Letter

You should receive an offer letter from your Department at UBC. This letter should set out your title, a list of your duties and responsibilities, a list of the required academic qualifications for your position, the details of your start and end date, the details of your salary (if applicable), your payroll and benefits code (if applicable), and the name and address of UBC as your employer. If you have not received an offer letter, please contact your Department.

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2. Work Permit/Visa Information

Foreign Academics are required to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for the necessary permit/visa that allows them work for or visit UBC. Please review our information about obtaining the necessary immigration paperwork that will support your appointment at UBC, or refer to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website for more information. A copy of the immigration document supplied to you by CIC must be provided to Faculty Relations. You must comply with the conditions of your work/visitor permit at all times.

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3. Social Insurance Number (SIN)

If you are to be paid by the University, you must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from Service Canada.  The SIN is a nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs.

When you apply for a SIN, you will receive a receipt of application which must be forwarded to Faculty Relations along with a copy of your work permit. This information will enable UBC to appoint you and issue your employee ID#, which is required for access to the UBC library and other campus services. For more information on obtaining a SIN and where to apply, please refer to the Service Canada website.

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4. Your Salary/Earnings (if applicable)

Your monthly earnings are paid in Canadian dollars in two installments: on the 15th and the last day of every month. You must arrange for your paycheque to be deposited directly into the account by completing a Payroll Direct Deposit form. If deposit arrangements have not been made prior to your first paycheque, you will need to pick up your paycheque from Payroll in person with photo identification.

UBC Vancouver Payroll is located on the 5th floor of the TEF3 Building, 6190 Agronomy Road. For directions please use our Wayfinding at UBC site. Information on Canadian banks is also available on this site. If you have questions about your paycheque, please contact your service representative in Payroll (based on the first letter of your surname):

  • (A-G): 604.822.8127
  • (H-O): 604.822.3142
  • (P-Z): 604.822.8978

UBC Okanagan Payroll is located in Room ADM002. For directions refer to the UBC Okanagan Map. If you have questions about your paycheque please call 250.807.8625.

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5. Income Tax

While at UBC, any earnings received are considered Canadian income, unless otherwise indicated by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in writing prior to arrival.

Please note that by law deductions are taken from your salary for Canada Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI). If you receive fellowship earnings these will not be deducted for CPP and EI. In the spring of every year, you will receive T4 and/or T4A slips from Payroll, which will be used to file your tax return. You must ensure your forwarding address is up to date in the event you leave UBC prior to this time. Please contact a financial advisor or the Canada Revenue Agency for tax and financial information.

If you have any questions about paying income tax in Canada, please refer to CRA’s information for non-residents or contact the International Tax Services Office:

  • Calls from Canada and the US: 1.800.267.5177
  • Calls from outside Canada and the US: 1.613.952.3741
  • Fax number: 1.613.941.2505

Collect calls are accepted.

Check the CRA website for a self-directed online course on Learning About Taxes. According to the site, this online course has been developed to help you understand the fundamentals of the Canadian tax system and to teach you how to file a tax return.

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6. Benefits

Depending on your rank and the length of your appointment at UBC, you may be eligible to receive benefits. Your department should have provided you with a letter of offer containing your payroll and benefits code. For more information on eligibility and benefits, please visit the Faculty Benefits information page.

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7. Medical Coverage

All British Columbia (BC) residents are required to have basic medical coverage through the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). Foreign academics holding work permits are considered residents of BC by MSP.  This also applies  to accompanying family members who have the necessary documentations (Work Permit or Visitor Record). Please note that there is a three-calendar-month waiting period before you can be enrolled with MSP, although you can submit your application in advance. During this waiting period, we encourage you to have private coverage. Further information on how to arrange private medical coverage is found on the UBC Benefits site.

Foreign academics who are visitors to Canada and are issued a Visitor Permit rather than a Work Permit are not considered residents of BC.  If you are issued a visitor permit you will need to arrange for medical coverage from your current insurance carrier or a private carrier, such as outline on the UBC Benefits site.

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8. Health Care

Health care services are available on campus through the Campus Family Practice Unit. For information and appointments, call 604.822.5431. Emergency services at UBC Hospital (2211 Wesbrook Mall) are available between 8am and 10pm daily.

If you would like a doctor off campus, you can locate physicians in your area who are accepting patients. Drop-in medical clinics are also available in the village near campus and throughout Vancouver.

If you would like a dentist, you can locate dentists in your area who are accepting patients.

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9. Spousal Employment and Work Permits

If you are accompanied by your spouse (including common-law partners), and provided your work permit is valid for at least six months, s/he will be eligible to apply for a spousal work permit and then to search for and take up employment in Canada. When applying for a spousal work permit it will be necessary to provide proof of your relationship (i.e. a marriage certificate or a statutory declaration of common law relationship) and a copy of your work permit (unless the applications for the temporary work permits are made concurrently). If your spouse has not yet received a job offer, s/he can request an open work permit which will allow him/her to accept any job depending on whether or not a medical exam was taken. Further information is available on the CIC website.

If your spouse does not require a work permit they should enquire about having a Visitor Record issued as they enter Canada.   This may be required to apply for medical coverage.

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10. UBCcard Identification/Library Card

As a new appointee at UBC you should obtain a UBCcard from the UBC Carding Office, located in the UBC Bookstore (Vancouver campus) and the Student Service Centre (Okanagan campus). This card is UBC’s official identification and is used to access the library, and may hold funds for purchasing items from some campus facilities. Detailed information on obtaining a card and the services attached to it are found on the UBCcard websites: UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan. Faculty members in the Okanagan who have questions about the library card should contact the circulation desk at 250 807-9107.

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11. Housing Assistance

Information about renting and purchasing housing on and off campus is available online the Faculty Housing information page.

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12. Moving to Vancouver

The staff of the Work-Life Relocation Centre at UBC are happy to assist with your move to Vancouver. General information about Vancouver and the surrounding area can be found at the BC Passport website and the UBC website. Other useful information for newcomers to Vancouver and Canada is available at the CIC website. For details on home utility service and pricing in Vancouver, please contact the appropriate company:

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13. Relocation for Full-Time Faculty

Tenure stream appointees are eligible for relocation assistance. Information on relocation and moving tips can be found on the Human Resources website. For relocation assistance please contact UBC’s Work-Life Relocation Centre.

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14. Banking

There are a number of banking institutions and branches for you to choose from in Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Several banks are located in the village near campus, and at West 10th Avenue and Sasamat just off campus, including the Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust, CIBC, HSBC, Scotiabank, and Vancity. To open an account you will need two pieces of identification one of which must be picture ID. A passport is generally accepted along with a major credit card, driver’s license, BC Medical Card Card or birth certificate.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found in the Student Union Building and at various other locations across campus.

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15. Childcare

UBC Child Care Services provides childcare through 12 centres designed for the children of students, faculty and staff at UBC. In total, the centres provide some 250 places, but waiting lists tend to be long. We suggest you inquire early about available space. More information on child care services available off-campus in Vancouver can be found at the City of Vancouver Community Services website.

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16. School-Age Children

A faculty member who is a foreign national should apply for a study permit for each child of school age when he/she applies for work permits for themselves.  The study permit will be issued as the child enters Canada. We suggest that you contact the school board in your area of residence prior to your arrival at UBC to ensure that your children will be eligible to attend elementary or secondary school

Student permits are not required for children who are not of school age, and instead a Visitor Record may be issued.

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17. Transportation To and From UBC

For information about transportation to and from UBC, visit the websites of the UBC TREK Program and Wayfinding at UBC. Information on public transport is found on the Translink website (metro Vancouver) and  the BC Transit website (Kelowna).   Employees of UBC Vancouver who hold a position of at least 12 months are eligible for the Employer Pass Program.

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18. Drivers & Vehicles

Driver’s licenses in BC can only be obtained from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Information about bringing your vehicle to BC is also available on the ICBC website.

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19. Recreation, Fitness and Other UBC Attractions

UBC offers a number of opportunities for participation in athletic and recreational activities. Our state-of-the-art recreational facilities include two weight rooms, a hockey arena, indoor tennis courts, and a competition-size aquatic centre. The largest on-campus fitness facility, the UBC Bird Coop, is known nationally for its fun fitness alternatives, and its impressive mix of top of the line equipment, programs and services. As well, there are a wide range of recreational opportunities off campus, including many community centres, and golf, fitness, tennis, sailing, hiking and other clubs. For more information, please refer to the UBC Attractions website.

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20. Faculty Women’s Club

The UBC Faculty Women’s Club is an organization open to all women faculty and faculty spouses and partners, and has been part of the University community since 1917. The Club’s goals are friendship and service to the UBC community. For more information on the FWC, please refer to their website.

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21. Faith and Spirituality

UBC’s chaplains represent many faiths, including Bahá’í, Christian denominations, Jewish, Muslim, and Shin Buddhism. Chaplains offer worship and one-on-one pastoral and spiritual care to the UBC community.

If you have other questions please contact Faculty Relations.

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