Before Moving to Alberta – what you need to know.

Before Moving to Alberta

Excerpts taken from  


What Are the First Steps to Take Upon Arrival in Alberta?

The first thing to do upon reaching Alberta is to handle all your essential administrative tasks. These include:

  • Apply for the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP). You’ll have to download the AHCIP Registration form and bring it to a registry agent office. The health card will then be processed within 5 days. Just like the rest of Canada, healthcare is free in Alberta.
  • Apply for a Driver’s License or Alberta ID by contacting your nearest Alberta Registry Office.
  • Establish a residence, have proof of Alberta Residence for applications
  • Find a doctor in Alberta

Moving to Alberta means your disability benefits DO NOT move with you.

You will have to establish a residence and have an Alberta health care number and Alberta doctor willing to fill out your AISH medical forms.  It is best if you have copies of your medical history before moving to Alberta to give to your new doctor and to submit them to AISH with your initial application. AISH is not a program that is transferable, or accepts transfers from other provinces.


Cost of Living: Comparison between Edmonton and Calgary

Category Edmonton Calgary
Housing $1076  / Month

For a 1-bedroom apartment

$1058 / Month

For a 1-bedroom apartment

Housing Utilities and Insurance $150 / Month $230 / Month
Transportation $100 / Month $109 / Month

In terms of income tax, Alberta has a tax rate of 10% for personal incomes up to $128,145, and it’s 13% for higher income brackets of $153,773.01 to $205,031. Furthermore, there is no Provincial Sales Tax (PST) applicable in Alberta. As such, the sales tax in Alberta is just 5%, compared to most other provinces in Canada where the collective sales tax (PST + GST) can be as high as 15%.

 What Is the Minimum Wage in Alberta?

The minimum wage in Alberta is $15/ hour. However, students under the age of 18 years old earn a minimum wage of $13 per hour when they work 28 hours or less per week.


 What Are the Steps to take to apply for disability benefits?

When you arrive in Alberta, you may contact Alberta Works to find out if you qualify for Income Support, by calling 780-644-9992 or Email: (responses may take 1-3 business days).  A doctor’s note stating that you are unable to work for more than 6 months or for an indefinite length of time will assist your application. Depending on your needs, ability to work and size of your family, you may get money for:


AISH – Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped is financial and health benefits for eligible Albertans with a permanent medical condition that prevents them from earning a living.


  • You have a medical condition that substantially limits your ability to earn a living.
  • Your medical condition is likely to remain permanent.
  • There is no medical treatment, therapy, rehabilitation or training available that will help improve your ability to earn a living.
  • You are at least 18 years old and not eligible to receive an Old Age Security pension.
  • You live in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • You are not in a correctional facility or some mental health facilities such as Alberta Hospital Edmonton.
  • You meet financial eligibility criteria.

Depending on your situation, you may get:

  • a monthly living allowance – money to pay for your living costs such as food, rent and utilities
  • a monthly child benefit – money to assist you with raising your dependent children
  • health benefits – assistance to cover health needs for you, your spouse or partner and your dependent children
  • personal benefits – money over and above your monthly living allowance for specific needs such as a special diet or assistance in an emergency


Apply for AISH: 

Please be advised that disability benefits from other provinces DO NOT transfer to Alberta and there will be a delay in services while you apply and get approved for AISH.  

Although AISH is available to any qualifying individual, it is often difficult to get approved. Many individuals need to appeal the AISH decisions and often have to re-apply with updated medical information.  Applicants cannot have more than $100,000 in eligible assets and must qualify both medically and financially to qualify for the AISH program.


In order to qualify for AISH your disability must be severe or major in abilities and permanent or indefinite in nature.



Find potential affordable housing options that may suit your situation /

If you are facing an emergency need for food, medication, temporary shelter.  Hours: 24/7 Phone: 1-866-644-5135 Call toll free

Email: (responses may take 1-3 business days)