Get Started at SFU

We are so glad you are joining us at SFU!

As someone who is new to SFU, here are some things you should definitely do upon arrival:

  • Get your SFU computing ID to access online services and email
  • Get your SFU ID card
  • Get your Pacific Blue Cross card
  • Complete SFU PDA Postdoc survey and stand a chance to win a $50 gift card!
  • Drop in to our biweekly Game Nights (Thursday 6pm on Zoom), monthly Pub Socials (free snacks!), and quarterly events with UBC PDA!
    Sign up for our newsletter or check out Facebook group for more info.
  • Activate your SFU Recreation membership.
    Note: As of Oct 2021, the Recreation Centre has some computing issues and problems transferring all listings.
    Postdocs are requested to activate the Burnaby membership directly at the Recreation Center Office (Level 1000).
  • Connect with Clare Zheng, Postdoctoral Affairs Coordinator for additional resources (postdoc@sfu.ca)
  • Look out for our (bi)annual Postdoc Welcome Picnic during #PostdocAppreciationWeek in (January and) September
  • Postdoctoral contributions have been recognized with our recent shift to Staff status at the university (previously: Student). Most administrative staff do not have postdoc-facing work written into their contract. SFU is slowly changing that. Please share with us your experiences (or anything we missed!) and be kind to administrative staff.

Note this is a suggested list and by no means exhaustive. Is there something we missed? Get in touch with us (sfu_pda@sfu.ca) and let us know! In addition to the resources provided here, Student Services has created a “Life in Vancouver Guide” canvas course open to SFU students and staff.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI)

  • SFU is taking steps towards creating a more inclusive and equitable community. Take the time to familiarize yourself with SFU's EDI initiatives
  • As members of the SFU Community you will be encouraged to begin a meeting with a land acknowledgment. Learn about whose land you’re on for a Land Acknowledgment. 
  • SFU’s Bill Reid Gallery provides some insights into rich Indigenous culture of the Northwest Coast.
  • Learn about pronouns and their significance.

Welcome to Metro Vancouver & Canada

New to BC

Find Housing

Housing in BC can be expensive. Most better-priced options may (or may not) require you to view the place in person. References are typically required.

Suggested websites include:

Short-term (prior to arrival):

Health and Medical

Apply for the BC Medical Services Plan 
Find a doctor (GP) in advance. See Health and Wellness.

Take in the sights! 

New to Canada


  • Apply for a work permit
  • Apply for your Social Insurance Number (if possible, apply in person, you will get your SIN immediately)
  • Once you have your social insurance number, open a bank account. Many banks have special plans and waive fees for newcomers to Canada so make sure to shop around. 
  • Application for Permanent Resident is possible upon completing one year of full-time employment and continued job offer. Various other requirements may be required, e.g., language exams and medical exams.

Mobile Phones + Laundry Products

  • New SIM cards are available at London Drugs or other stores. Support local!
  • Many Canadians use unscented laundry detergent, and may add (at most) a scented sheet (e.g., Bounce) in the dryer. Use of scented products (e.g., perfume) is discouraged in some places, including workplaces with scent-free policies