What you need to know before moving to Ontario

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: January 10, 2024

Canada’s single-most populated province, with a population of over 15 million, Ontario is a popular destination for newcomers to Canada.

Already home to Canada’s largest immigrant population, this province is renowned for being the Canadian region with the most employment opportunities and lifestyle freedom across this country, as well as having Canada’s largest housing market.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Read more here about landing and settling in Ontario as a newcomer to Canada.


With a housing market that includes over 5.4 million properties across the province, Ontario has the largest housing market in the country.

Note: As is the case in any Canadian province, housing prices and available property types in Ontario can change depending on factors such as your desired settlement location or family size

According to the latest National Rent Report by rentals.ca (for August 2023), the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment and two-bedroom housing unit is as follows in Ontario’s three largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) by population – Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton.

One-Bedroom: Toronto ($2,592), Ottawa ($1,951) and Hamilton ($1,855)

Two-Bedroom: Toronto ($3,370), Ottawa ($2,358) and Hamilton ($2,271)


In each of Ontario’s three largest CMAs, at least 80% of residents live less than 500 metres from a “public transit access point.”

Public transportation options in Ontario vary by city, but Toronto has the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) system as an example. Meanwhile, Hamilton has a dedicated Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) system while residents of Ottawa have the Ottawa-Carleton (OC) Transpo system, which is run by the OC Regional Transit Commission.

Despite the heavy presence of public transportation in Ontario, more than four in every five Ontario residents use a car, van or truck as their main mode of commuting.

For this reason, it is important for newcomers to Ontario to understand the following about driving in this province:

  • For the first 60 days as a new Ontario resident, newcomers above the age of 16 may use their home country-issued driver’s license in this province
  • At the end of these 60 days, newcomers in Ontario must obtain an Ontario driver’s license from the provincial government


In Ontario, the three largest industries in order of employment are as follows:

  • Trade occupations: Retail and Wholesale Traders
  • Healthcare and social assistance: Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers
  • Manufacturing: Mechanical Engineers, Lab Technicians

To learn more about finding a job in Ontario, visit the provincial government’s Employment Ontario page.


Canadian public healthcare is funded through a universal healthcare model. This means that resident taxes are accumulated to help pay for healthcare services in this country, including in Ontario.

Ontario is one of just two Canadian provinces and territories that do not require newcomers to wait to be eligible for provincial healthcare coverage. Instead, any newcomer to Ontario that possesses a valid health card can receive free healthcare.

Here is more information on applying for a health card in Ontario.

Generally, a health card gives residents access to public health services for free through OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan). However, certain treatments and medications will require the recipient to pay out of pocket. This is where private health insurance becomes crucial for residents of Ontario.


From the time that the children of newcomers to Ontario reach the age of six, they begin to participate in the province’s education system.

Note: Ontario has more than 400,000 licensed childcare spaces across the province

Ontario’s public school system allows parents to send their child(ren) to school for free from the age of six until the end of high school. This province also has a range of private schools and boarding schools, although tuition must be paid out of pocket if a parent wants to send their child to obtain a private education.

Home to over 500 Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) across the province, Ontario has many post-secondary options for newcomers to Canada. Many of these post-secondary options can enable newcomers to graduate and obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

A PGWP, upon completing one year of work experience in Canada, allows the holder to become eligible for many more Canadian permanent resident immigration pathways than they would be without the permit.


Sales tax in Ontario is called the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), having replaced the previous Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST, 5%) and the Retail Sales Tax (RST, 8%). Therefore, the HST rate in Ontario is 13%.

Income taxes in this province vary based on personal income for each eligible resident, and all working Ontario residents are charged taxes based on their income bracket. Here is more information on Ontario income tax.

Newcomer services in Ontario

Ontario newcomer services are available both through the provincial government and privately. These settlement services are available for newcomers before they come to Ontario, during their move to the province and after they settle in their new home.

One popular resource used to look for settlement services in Ontario is 211 Ontario. 211 Ontario can be contacted by phone at 2-1-1 or by visiting www.211ontario.ca.

For a list of Ontario-based settlement agencies, which can be filtered by region, please visit this link. Also, a full list of government-funded newcomer settlement services, which can be filtered by type of service desired and province, is available here.

Discover if You Are Eligible for Canadian Immigration

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Related articles
Recent immigration trends mean millennials now outnumber baby boomers in Canada
Statistics Canada data shows that there are fewer baby boomers and more millennials in Canada.
Study: More newcomers are choosing to stay in Atlantic Canada
More skilled newcomers are choosing to stay in Atlantic Canada.
5 challenges newcomers face in Canada and how to deal with them
Toronto in winter
Master’s students are now eligible for a 3-year work permit
A new master's graduate preps for her graduation ceremony.
Top Stories
Canada invites immigration candidates in general Express Entry draw
Get Your English Language Proficiency Scores Faster with CELPIP
The current state of the Express Entry pool: February 2024
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Express Entry
Canada invites immigration candidates in general Express Entry draw
A view of the Toronto skyline at sunrise.
The current state of the Express Entry pool: February 2024
A group of people's faces shown in collage style.
Who received ITAs in the recent general Express Entry draw?
Girl walking backwards on a wooden bridge over a lake, leading to an island with lots of vegetation, with mountains in the background
IRCC confirms it will continue with current Express Entry categories
IRCC will not be changing the categories for category-based Express Entry in 2024.
Link copied to clipboard