Welcome to Huron County, an engaging, energetic place to call home. Getting settled in a new home is challenging. Huron offers a wide range of informative resources to help newcomers adjust to life on Ontario’s West Coast. The information below will be useful whether you are a newcomer to Huron County, to Ontario, or to Canada. Service Ontario and Service Canada, two government agencies that provide many essential services to residents, have offices located in Huron.
What is Service Ontario?
Service Ontario delivers many services on behalf of the Ontario government such as:
- Health card registration
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Driver and vehicle licensing
- Business registration
- Fishing and hunting licences
- Address change
- Newborn Registration Service
What is Service Canada?
Service Canada offers single-window access to a wide range of Government of Canada programs and services for citizens through more than 600 points of service located across the country, call centres, and the internet. Service Canada delivers many services and programs such as:
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Employment Insurance (EI)
- GST/HST Credit
- Apprenticeship Grants
- Job Bank
To drive in Ontario, you must have a valid driver’s license from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. A newcomer to Ontario is required to apply for an Ontario driver’s license within 60 days of taking up residence in the province. Your driver’s license must be with you every time you drive. You must also have proof of insurance with you every time you drive. Check out the Ontario Ministry of Transportation website as soon as possible after you arrive in Ontario for driver licensing information and rules. Getting your driver’s license can be a lengthy process and it’s best to be prepared.
Ontario Health Card
An eligible resident of Ontario must have a health card to show that he or she is to be entitled to health care services paid for by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) pays for many medical services such as visits to the doctor. OHIP covers basic healthcare services but doesn’t pay for all medical expenses (such as vision and dental care), so you should probably get additional private health insurance eventually. To apply for an OHIP card, you must be a resident of Ontario. You need to apply as soon as you arrive in Ontario as the average waiting period is 3 months. You must go in person to a Service Ontario centre.
Find a Family Doctor
To find a doctor in Huron County, call Health Care Connect at 1.800.445.1822, or call Ontario 2-1-1. In the case of accidental injuries, dial 9-1-1 on your phone to call for ambulance or police assistance. Learn more from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care about how to access healthcare services in Huron County.
Immunizations, also known as vaccinations, are shots or needles which protect you and your child from dangerous diseases. Immunizations help the human body make its own protection against certain illnesses and diseases.
Immunizations are required by law for your child to attend daycare and school. In Ontario, parents/guardians are required to provide their local public health unit with a written record or proof of immunization for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella unless there is a valid exemption.
The immunization record is a folded yellow piece of paper, about the size of a credit card. Your immunization record lists all vaccinations you have received in Canada. A complete and up-to-date immunization record is an important document; the record will be needed to enroll your child in school, if your child needs emergency treatment, or if you register your child for summer camp.
Many immunizations are free of charge to residents of Ontario with OHIP Health Card coverage. Some public health departments give vaccines for free, even if you do not have a Health (OHIP) Card. Immunizations are available from your healthcare provider or at a Health Unit clinic. Call the Huron County Health Unit in Clinton at 519.482.3416 or 1.877.837.6143 for your appointment.
Apply for a 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. To apply for a SIN card, visit your nearest Service Canada centre in person or call 1.800.622.6232 for more information. Your SIN is private and confidential and should not be shared with anyone but your employer and certain government agencies.
Open a Bank Account
Opening a bank account is an important part of establishing your new life and getting settled in Huron County. We recommend that you open a banking account with a bank, credit union or trust company soon after you arrive. To open a bank account, you will need two pieces of identification such as your passport, social insurance number, or a personal identification card.
Banks and credit unions located in Huron:
- CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce)
- BMO (Bank of Montreal)
- Desjardins Credit Union
- Goderich Community Credit Union
- Libro Financial Group
- President’s Choice Financial
- RBC (Royal Bank of Canada)
- TD Canada Trust
- United Communities Credit Union
Visit Huron County’s business directory for detailed information about Huron’s many financial institutions.
This currency converter is a handy tool.
Settlement Services and Translation
Settlement services providers can help newcomers find the information and services needed for getting settled and beginning a new life.
A settlement counsellor is available once a month in both Huron and Perth Counties. The counsellor is available at the Centre for Employment and Learning in Exeter and Stratford and will assist with Government forms and to respond to immigration questions.
For an appointment in Exeter contact the Centre for Employment & Learning at 519-235-0471.
As well the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre is a multi-service support network for newcomers, providing a job search program, language instruction, multicultural library and resource centre, translation, interpretation services, and document assistance.
Translation and Interpretation Services
If you need translation or interpretation services, Huron County is served by the following organizations:
- The London Cross Cultural Learner Centre offers translation services to the southwestern Ontario region.
- Across Languages Translation and Interpretation Service, situated in London, Ontario, provides interpretation, translation, and research services to southwestern Ontario.
- Ontario 211: With information on more than 56,000 agencies and services, Ontario 211 can help you find the answers you need, quickly and easily. The phone service is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and is available in more than 150 languages. Dial 2-1-1 on your phone or visit their website.
Become a Canadian Citizen
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is a federal department and is responsible for immigration applications, selection criteria, visa requirements, refugee issues, settlement, and Canadian Citizenship applications. To apply for Canadian Citizenship you must be a permanent resident and have lived in Canada for at least 3 years of the past four years. CIC is headquartered in Ottawa. There are regional offices located near Huron in London and Kitchener:
- CIC Kitchener office is located at 29 Duke Street East, Kitchener, ON.
- CIC London office is located at 417 Exeter Road, London, ON.
The CIC Call Centre can answer questions in English and French about Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) services and programs. Phone 1-888-242‑2100 to speak with a representative.