Moving From Ontario to British Columbia: A Checklist

Here at Harbourview District, we are proud to be welcoming new residents and investors from across the country… which is why we decided to compile an all-in-one “moving from Ontario to British Columbia” checklist.

This master checklist incorporates everything you will need to cross off your list ahead of your big move, including home security, insurance, energy, and internet and TV.

(And if you’re moving from Alberta to British Columbia, be sure to bookmark our accompanying blog, “Moving From Alberta to British Columbia: A Checklist”!)

Read Up on the Differences Between the Provinces Ahead of Time

On top of the time difference, there are myriad differences between living in each of the provinces. The variants that you can expect to enjoy include:

  • BC’s sea-to-sky beauty versus Ontario’s lakeside scenery and varied landscape 
  • A strong love of the outdoors in BC due to its milder winters 
  • A significantly smaller population, meaning less hustle-and-bustle and more time to stop and smell the metaphorical (and sometimes literal!) roses

At Harbourview District specifically, the best of BC’s natural beauty and Ontario’s urban living combine to offer the best of both worlds. A transitional neighbourhood situated in beautiful Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, Harbourview District is located beside numerous entertainment hubs, shops, business, and real estate activity… all the while being a stone’s throw from multiple seawalls, seaside views, parks, and hikes. 

Are Master-Planned Communities Good Investments? details just how rife Harbourview District is with both scenery and activities.

Ensure That You Sign Up For MSP

In the hustle-and-bustle of moving, it can be easy to forget to sign up for essentials. One such essential is the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP).

Getting your MSP health services card should be one of the first courses of action you take upon moving to British Columbia from Ontario. As a new resident of BC, it is vital that you apply for MSP. To do so:

  • Arrange for coverage from your former medical plan during your transition period
  • Go to the BC government website to apply online by completing your MSP coverage form
  • For every family member included in your application who is a Canadian citizen, scan one of the following to act as identification: a Canadian birth certificate, Canadian passport, Canadian citizenship, and/or Canadian certificate

If you would prefer to apply in-person, this ICBC office locator shows the in-office options in the Nanaimo area. 

Ensure Your Health With the BC Public Drug Insurance

Coming hand-in-hand with the BC Medical Services Plan is BC PharmaCare

BC PharmaCare covers a comprehensive list of pharmacy services, medical supplies, and drugs. Any citizen of BC is eligible for BC PharmaCare as long as they have pre-registered for MSP and accept and acknowledge that BC PharmaCare verifies your income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

To apply, the following steps need to be crossed out:

  • The Personal Health Number of every family member who will be included in the BC PharmaCare Plan
    • This can be found on the back of their driver’s license or BC Services Card
  • The Social Insurance Numbers of you and your spouse
  • The income from the tax returns from the past two years for you and your spouse, including your net income and any income derived from a Registered Disability Savings Plan

Be Sure to Cross Off Applying For Your ICBC Driver’s License 

Upon moving from Ontario to British Columbia, you will have 90 days to apply for your ICBC driver’s license.

Before applying, know that you need to have two following pieces of ID on-hand before visiting your nearest ICBC office to fill out your registration forms:

  • BC driver’s license or learner’s license
  • BC Services Card
  • Birth certificate
  • Canadian passport 

Receiving your ICBC’s driver’s license sooner rather than later will be a boon when moving to Harbourview District! Touting several bike lanes to accommodate both drivers and cyclists; supplemented street parking downtown; easy accessibility to Island Highway, Vancouver Island’s main highway; a five-minute drive to both Harbour Air and hiking-and-biking trails; and, of course, a one-and-a-half hour’s drive to the much-loved Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, securing your ICBC driver’s license early ensures that you’ll unlock all the joys Nanaimo and its surrounding areas have to offer!

…But Before Hopping Into Your Vehicle to Explore, Don’t Forget Your Auto Insurance!

Here in BC, Autoplan insurance is sold exclusively via ICBC Autoplan brokers: this is public coverage that includes benefits for vehicle-related accidents both commercially and residentially.

Once you land in British Columbia, you will have 30 days to register, license, and insure your vehicle through one of the 900 Autoplan brokers available province-wide. 

To complete your registration, you will be required to provide proof of a valid driver’s license. 

Link Your New Home to BC Hydro

While we advise that you connect your home to BC Hydro ahead of moving to BC to ensure that you have power as soon as you move in, BC Hydro makes signing up as straightforward as can be! The main company that provides energy services to residents in BC is BC Hydro and Power Authority. To register, you will need on-hand:

  • Your full name
  • The address of your new home
  • Billing credentials

And that’s it! Sign-up is completely virtual and can be accessed via their homepage. 

Now That BC Hydro is Done and Dusted, Set Up Your Internet, Phone, and Cable Plan

When moving to BC, you will notice that two internet, phone cable plan providers rank higher than the rest in terms of both offerings and popularity: Telus and Shaw.

Signing up with either Telus or Shaw is as simple as booking online via their websites or phoning to talk to a representative directly. (Pro tip: be sure to keep an eagle-eye out for their multiple rotating promotions!)

Last But Certainly Not Least, Set Up a Home Security System and Home Insurance

Before putting your feet up at your new home, one of the most crucial items to cross off your moving-from-Ontario-to-British-Columbia checklist is setting up a home security system and signing up for home insurance.

On the home security side of things, your two mainline choices are Ecobee or, if you are already signed on with Telus, Telus SmartHome Security. Available for registration both over the phone and online, you will be walked through which of their available packages best suit your budget and home security needs.

The final piece of the home security puzzle is getting your new home insured: as your previous home insurance provider likely does not have the ability to cover you now that you have moved provinces, it is highly advised that you comparison-shop in order to find the home insurance option that works best for you.

Remember to Bookmark This Moving From Ontario to British Columbia Checklist to Make Your Move a Cinch!

If you’re moving from Ontario to British Columbia as a new resident of Harbourview District, please feel free to contact us or register for our informational newsletter today to receive more periodic news on how to make the best of your new home!