General Information



Banking hours are generally 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Some banks are open on Saturday. ATMs (automated teller machines) are found at banks and in retail areas.  If you have an appropriate cash-withdrawal banking card, withdrawal of cash from an ATM at the Vancouver airport or on the UBC campus is the least expensive and most convenient method of getting Canadian cash.



Canada’s currency is the Canadian dollar.  Not all currencies are bought by banks in Canada so it is recommended to exchange funds prior to arriving to Canada.

Major credit cards are generally accepted.

To find out what your local currency converts to in Canadian dollars, access the currency converter here.


Outlets and voltage (110 volts) in Canada are the same as in the United States. For appliances from most other countries, adapters are required. 

Medical Insurance

Liability insurance is the responsibility of each individual delegate.  The Canadian Medical Health Insurance Plan does not cover visitors to Canada.  Delegates should have their own medical coverage.

Liquor Laws 

The legal drinking age in British Columbia is 19. Drinking while under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited and penalties are severe. Alcohol can be purchased at authorized liquor stores or in restaurants and bars.


Canada is a safe place to travel. However, thefts and petty crime do occur and it is generally advised to keep valuables at a safe place and to not leave valuable items in a parked car.

Smoking Laws


Within the City of Vancouver, smoking is prohibited by law in all indoor public spaces, including public transit, shopping malls, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs and casinos. Smoking is not permitted within six metres of an entryway, openable window or air intake of a building. Smoking is permitted in designated areas only.



The Province of British Columbia recently introduced a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 12%, effective July 1, 2010, which will replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST). The HST will be charged on all items purchased in British Columbia with few exceptions.

Time Zone


 Vancouver is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone and so is the majority of British Columbia. However, a small portion of the province that borders the Rocky Mountains are in the Mountain Time Zone, one hour ahead of the Pacific Zone.


The standard tip in Canada is 15%.

Some restaurants and hotels include gratuities of 15% - 17% in the bills for larger groups. This charge usually includes gratuities for housekeeping, bell service and food services.


Warmed by Pacific Ocean currents and protected by a range of mountains, Vancouver enjoys mild temperatures year-round. From average temperatures in the low 20's Celsius (high 70's Fahrenheit) in summer to a mild 0º to 5º Celsius (mid 40's Fahrenheit) in winter, the climate is always hospitable.  

Click here to see the current weather forecast.