Province of Manitoba


By Dana Hall and Kathleen Charlebois

Posted on May 24, 2021


Official Language: English
Age of Majority: 18
Legal Drinking Age: 18

Getting a Health Card

Most new residents to Manitoba can receive health coverage. Coverage depends on the type of permit you have. If you can apply for health coverage, you will need to prove that you’ll live in the province for at least six months of the year.

  • If you are a permanent resident, you can get coverage on the day you arrive in Manitoba. You will need to provide your Permanent Resident Status as proof.
  • If you have a work permit that is for more than 12 months, you are eligible for health coverage. Otherwise, you cannot apply for it unless your permit is extended to 12 months. You will qualify for health coverage on the date of your extension.
  • If you are in Manitoba on a student visa, you cannot apply for health coverage. It is recommended that you purchase private health insurance during your time studying in Manitoba.

To apply, you will need to fill out the application form, provide proof of your right to live in Canada, and provide your proof of address in Manitoba. During COVID-19, you will need to apply by phone or email. To access the form, list of acceptable documents, and contact information, click here and go to “I’m new to Canada. How do I apply for coverage?”

Driving information

How to get a licence: You must be at least 16 years old in order to get a driver’s licence or 15 and a half if you are also registered in the Driver Z high school driver program. There are three stages you must go through to get your full licence.

First, you need to pass a knowledge test, pass a vision test, and meet the medical standards. You can download or buy a driver’s handbook to help study. You can take the practice test here. You must have parental or guardian consent if you are under 18 years of age.

Once you pass the knowledge test, you will receive an L learner licence (also referred to as a Class 5 learner licence.) You must drive with another passenger who has had a full Class 5 licence for at least three years.

You must hold the L licence for a minimum of nine months before taking the intermediate Class 5 road test. If you pass the test successfully, you will receive the intermediate (I) stage licence, which you must hold for a minimum of 15 months. The restrictions for an intermediate licence can be found here.

Once you complete the intermediate stage, you will be a fully licensed driver. During the first three years of holding a full licence, you must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving a motor vehicle.

How to transfer a licence: If you have a licence from another country you will need to exchange it for a Manitoba licence. You should do this within 90 days of living in Manitoba.

In order to exchange your licence for a Manitoba licence, you must hand in your valid licence at an Autopac agent or an MPI Service Centre. A temporary Manitoba licence that is valid for up to 45 days will be issued to you while you wait for your photo driver’s licence.

If you have driving and claims experience, you can also bring it with you to the service centre to see if you qualify for any discounts on your driver’s licence or insurance.

If you’re exchanging a valid driver’s licence from a country with an exchange agreement, you can get a Manitoba licence without having to take a knowledge or road test if you have at least 15 months of driving experience.

The following countries have exchange agreements with Manitoba:

  • Australia (Class 5 and 6): Applicants must pass a vision test and provide a driver licence report dated within 90 days.
  • Austria (Class 5)
  • Canadian Forces Europe (Class 5 and 6): Proof of having held a valid Canadian licence within the previous four years is required.
  • Germany (Class 5)
  • Isle of Man (Class 5 and 6)
  • Republic of Ireland (Class 5 and 6)
  • South Korea (Class 5): Must provide the Certificate of Driver’s Licence issued by National Police Agency in South Korea.
  • Switzerland (Class 5 and 6)
  • Taiwan (Class 5): Must provide a translation of the Taiwanese licence prepared by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Toronto as well as a Verification Certificate of Driver’s Licence (VCDL), Republic of China
  • United Kingdom (Class 5 and 6)
  • United States and territories (Class 5 and 6, Class 1-4 Commercial Driver’s Licence): Includes American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands

If your country isn’t on the exchange agreement list, you’ll need to pass a knowledge test and a road test. You’ll need to visit an Autopac agent or an MPI Service Centre and hand in your current valid driver’s licence. The proper class and stage of your out-of-country licence will be confirmed to see if you are exempt from taking the GDL program.

Once you’ve taken the knowledge and vision tests at an MPI Service Centre, you can take the Class 5 road test. If you successfully complete the test, a temporary Manitoba licence will be issued to you for up to 45 days while you wait for your photo licence in the mail.

For more detailed information on the application process and to see a list of documents you will need to bring to your appointment, click here.

Manitoba public school information

School in Manitoba begins at age five, but it is not mandatory until age seven. These are the different levels of education in Manitoba:

  • Kindergarten: Age 5
  • Elementary school (Grades 1–4): Ages 6–9
  • Middle high school (Grades 5–8): Ages 10–13
  • High school (Grades 9–12): Ages 14–17

Your child’s grade is determined by the year they are born. For instance, everyone born in the year 2015 will go into Grade 1 in 2021. That’s because they will turn six in 2021. The school year starts in early September and goes until the end of June. There is a short break at the end of December which lasts for 2 weeks. School starts again in January. There is a one week break in March called spring vacation.

Click here for information on how to register your child for school in Manitoba.

Click here for information on homeschooling your child.

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