Administrative Processes

Social Insurance Number

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada or to have access to government programs and benefits. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations do not permit any employer to pay an employee who does not have a Social Insurance Number.

All employees are required by Service Canada to present their SIN card to their employer within three days of starting work. UBC administrators must ensure that they have seen a new faculty member’s SIN card prior to sending appointment paperwork for processing.

Foreign academics who are to receive salary or an honorarium must apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) from a Service Canada Centre . It can take up to three weeks for a SIN card to be issued, but when the application is made, Service Canada will issue a receipt of application. This receipt and a copy of the work permit must be supplied to the department administrator who will forward to Faculty Relations and payroll.  It is mandatory that all non-Canadians supply these two pieces of information. Appointments cannot be processed without them.

For more information about obtaining a Social Insurance Number, visit the Service Canada website.

Taxation in Canada/BC – 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 UBC Payroll, which you will use 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 (collect calls are accepted):

  • 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

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.

Driving & Car Insurance

If you have a driving license from another Canadian province, the United States, or overseas, your license is valid in British Columbia for a period of 90 days as long as you meet BC’s licensing requirements.  Prior to the 90-day grace period, you must visit the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) driving licensing office to register for a BC driver’s license.

Most vehicles must be registered, licensed and insured within 30 days of arriving in BC. You should speak with ICBC about your vehicle’s insurance needs. Be sure to bring the title, registration, and evidence of current insurance with you.   To save money on insurance costs, it is recommended that you bring 10 years’ (or as much as you have) driving history and claims.

Information about bringing your vehicle to BC is available on the ICBC website.

Banking & Credit Cards

There are a number of banking institutions and branches for you to choose from in British Columbia. Several banks are located near campus including the Royal Bank, Bank of Montreal, TD Canada Trust, CIBC, HSBC, and Scotiabank.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) can be found on campus and around town.