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Packing for Canada

You are allowed to bring personal items into Canada, but there are restrictions on things like pets, plants, food products and herbal remedies. Detailed information about bringing or importing goods to Canada is available through the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).


The west coast of Canada is famous for its rain, so you will need a raincoat, waterproof shoes or boots, and an umbrella. For winter months you will also need a warm jacket, gloves, a scarf and a hat.

  • students at UVic tend to dress casually with an emphasis on comfort and practicality - bring layers
  • if you plan to work, bring business attire for interviews and certain job placements
  • you may wish to bring some formal or traditional clothing from your home country for special occasions


If you plan to bring a vehicle to BC, visit the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to make sure you meet all the legal requirements.


Exchange enough currency to cover your immediate expenses in Canada, such as airport taxes, food and transportation.

  • ask for Canadian dollars in denominations of less than $50
  • if you do not want to carry cash, major credit cards are also widely accepted

Ask your bank at home about the best way to transfer money to Canada. Some international students use a bank draft for large dollar values. Other students rely on international wire transfers.

If you arrive in Canada from abroad with currency or monetary instruments (including but not limited to stocks, bonds, bank drafts, cheques and travellers cheques) valued at $10,000 Canadian or more, you must report it on the CBSA Declaration Card. 

Learn more about bringing goods across the Canadian border

Other items

You may also want to bring:

  • items that will remind you of home and help you feel comfortable in your new surroundings, such as photographs of friends and family and your favourite books and music
  • contact information for family and friends so you can stay in touch
  • comforting food recipes that remind you of home
  • bedding and a towel if these items are not provided at your place of accommodation
  • a bilingual dictionary or translation app if English is not your first language
  • a voltage converter and plug adapter if your appliances and electronic equipment are not compatible with Canadian electricity (110 volts, 60 Hz)
  • a 90-day supply of any medications you require (all medications must be in the original packaging and should be accompanied by a prescription from your physician)
    • More information can be found on the Health Canada website
    • Some medications, including oral contraceptives (birth control pills), are only available with a prescription in Canada. If you regularly take oral contraceptives and/or other medication, we recommend bringing enough for your first 90 days in Canada.