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COVID-19 and mandatory quarantine

All travelers entering Canada from another country are subject to a number of requirements including a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival. Review our Travel to Canada Guide for more details.

Once you arrive in British Columbia, it’s time to get set up so you can start living like a local!


It’s never too early to start researching housing options.

For those traveling from abroad, learn more about accommodation during your mandatory quarantine upon arrival to Canada.

Student residence

There are a limited number of rooms available at the BCIT Student Residence on Burnaby Campus. Apply early if this is your first choice!

GEC Living is another student residence option. It is not affiliated with BCIT but does offer exclusive deals for BCIT students.


Doing a homestay can be a good option for several reasons:

  1. You can get to know a local family and learn more about local culture from them
  2. It is generally much cheaper than renting an entire apartment
  3. The length of stay is often flexible, making it ideal for short-term stays or just for your first months here while looking for a more permanent housing solution
  4. Your meals are often included, so you won’t need to spend a lot of time cooking or spend a lot of money on take-out or restaurant food

Each homestay is different though so it is important that you understand all of the house rules and read carefully through all of the information before signing any contract or agreement.

Check Homadorma or Lianne’s Homestay for local homestay listings.

Other off-campus housing

Visit BCIT Housing’s off-campus housing page for useful links including local listings.

If you are considering signing a lease for your own rental accommodation, educate yourself on your rights and responsibilities by visit the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre website and complete their free, online Renting it Right courses.

BCIT ID card

Every BCIT student needs to get a BCIT ID card, which allows access to student services at BCIT and to qualify for student discounts throughout Canada. Learn more about BCIT ID cards and how to get one.

BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

All residents of BC are legally required to enrol with BC Medical Services Plan (MSP). You should apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. Once your application has been processed and your coverage waiting period has passed you will receive a BC Services Card, which you can use to access medical services and also for identification purposes.

BC provincial identification

To go about daily life in BC, it’s important to have some local identification such as a Social Insurance Number, BC Services Card or Drivers Licence. Note that a BC Services Card will be mailed to you after you enrol in MSP.

myBCIT Online & myBCIT Mobile

myBCIT Online is a student portal where BCIT students can access their class schedules, unofficial transcripts, tax forms, email inbox and much more.

myBCIT Mobile is the companion app, which offers some additional tools not available in myBCIT Online such as course information, chat groups, etc.

We advise students to log in to both on a regular basis.

Banking services

A local bank account is important for being able to manage your money, pay bills, and use cheques or a debit card. Many banks offer free or discounted plans for students. See Payment Options for more information about making payments to BCIT.

Internet & phone services

There are many service providers in Metro Vancouver that offer internet, mobile phone, landline phone, cable television, etc. You may be able to get a discount for being a student or by bundling together several services from one company. If a contract is required, make sure that you fully understand it before signing.

Other resources for newcomers

Learn more by visiting the following sites:

  • WelcomeBC – detailed information about the many resources available for newcomers to BC
  • WorkBC – job listings and information about BC’s economy and labour market
  • HelloBC – local travel information
  • MOSAIC – a registered charity serving immigrant, newcomer and refugee communities in Greater Vancouver for the past 40 years