Health Care In Canada
Canada has a public health care system that makes critical care accessible to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents alike.
Although the health care systems are run by Provincial ministries of health, the Federal Government sets the standards for health care across the country.
There are three provinces that charge health care premiums (BC, Alberta and Ontario). In the remaining provinces and territories, health care is paid for through taxes. Provincial governments are responsible for the actual administration and delivery of health care in their jurisdictions.
Learn more about health care in specific provinces and territories:
- Health Care in Alberta
- Health Care in British Columbia
- Health Care in Manitoba
- Health Care in New Brunswick
- Health Care in Newfoundland And Labrador
- Health Care in Nova Scotia
- Health Care in Ontario
- Health Care in Prince Edward Island
- Health Care in Quebec
- Health Care in Saskatchewan
- Health Care in Northwest Territories
- Health Care in Nunavut
- Health Care in Yukon
Health Care in Alberta
Legal residents of Alberta are eligible for public health insurance. To qualify, register with Alberta health care within three months of arrival.
- For complete information on public health services in Alberta, visit www.health.gov.ab.ca
- For complete information on the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), visit the AHCIP Contact page: www.health.alberta.ca/contact
- For questions regarding Alberta's health care system, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- For Alberta Waitlist Registry inquiries, email: email@example.com
- For information on the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan, call 310-0000 toll free, then dial 780-427-1432.
- You can also send a letter to: Alberta Ministry of Health and Wellness, P.O. Box 1360, Station Main, Edmonton, AB T5J 2N3
Deaf/hearing impaired callers, using a TTY, can reach the provincial government by dialing: 780-427-9999 in Edmonton, or 1-800-232-7215 throughout Alberta. Note: This is not a voice line.
The Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) provides 24-hour information, support, and referral services relating to gambling, alcohol or other drug problems. Visit: www.albertahealthservices.ca or phone: 1-866-332-2322.
Health Care in British Columbia
You must register for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) as soon as you arrive in order to receive health care. For instructions, you should call the following numbers:
Vancouver: 604 683-7151
Victoria: 250 386-7171 or 250 382-8406
Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-663-7100
You will not be covered immediately by MSP. It generally takes three months after registration for your healthcare coverage to begin. In the interim, be sure to have temporary health insurance. You can obtain temporary health insurance through a private insurance company. You can locate one of the many private insurance companies in your local telephone book.
When your MSP coverage begins, you will receive a CareCard. You must bring this card with you whenever you visit a doctor or a hospital.
Note: MSP has a monthly fee.
Health Care in Manitoba
Permanent residents are eligible for health insurance as soon as they arrive. You must register with Manitoba healthcare in order to receive a Manitoba Health Card. If you need health care before you receive your card, you must provide proof of your permanent resident status. Register for your Manitoba Health Card by contacting Manitoba Health at:
300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 3M9
Tel: 786-7101 or toll-free: 1-800-392-1207
If you are unable to travel to a doctor's office, but require non-emergency medical aid you can contact physicians and nurses by telephone with the Manitoba HealthLinks. Call 788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 outside Winnipeg.
Health Care in New Brunswick
Permanent residents of New Brunswick are entitled to free basic health care. In order to receive health coverage, you must register with New Brunswick Medicare. It is important to apply as soon as you can after arriving in New Brunswick.
There is a three-month waiting period after you have arrived in New Brunswick before you are eligible to receive full healthcare coverage with Medicare. Ensure that you have private health insurance to cover you and your family during this three-month waiting period in case of emergency.
You can find registration forms and additional information regarding New Brunswick Medicare, here: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/health/MedicarePrescriptionDrugPlan.html
Health Care in Newfoundland and Labrador
As a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador, you will qualify for the Newfoundland Medical Care Plan (MCP). The MCP is a healthcare insurance plan to cover all basic healthcare necessities for yourself and your family residing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Eligibility is based on your status in the province. Temporary foreign workers, landed immigrants and Canadian citizens are eligible for the plan. Official documents indicating status are required. You must register with the MCP as soon as possible after you arrive. To do so, complete the appropriate application (found at your local clinic, doctors office or hospital, or downloadable here: www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/mcp/travelassistance) and mail or bring it to a MCP office, with all required documents.
Note: You must reside in Newfoundland and Labrador for a minimum of four months each year in order to qualify as a beneficiary of the plan.
For inquiries regarding MCP registration:
St. John's/Avalon Region, call: 1-866-449-4459
All other areas, including Labrador, call: 1-800-563-1557
By Mail or in Person:
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan
P.O. Box 5000
22 High Street
Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, Canada
Neapean, Ontario K1A 0Y9
Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan
P. O. Box 8700
57 Margaret's Place
St. John's, NL, Canada
Health Care in Nova Scotia
You must register for Nova Scotia Medical Service Insurance (MSI) benefits as soon as you arrive in the province. You will need proof of your immigration status for the application process.
For more information and to apply, contact the MSI Registration Department at: (902) 496-7008 or toll free within Nova Scotia: 1-800-563-8880
Mailing address: PO Box 500, Halifax NS B3J 2S1
Location address: 230 Brownlow Ave, Dartmouth, NS
Health Care in Ontario
All basic medical needs for residents of Ontario are covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Be sure to apply for your OHIP card as soon as you arrive in order to be eligible for the benefits of this public health insurance plan, as there is a waiting period of at least three months before you obtain your card after applying.
Note: In order to qualify for OHIP, you must be present in Ontario for at least 153 days in the first six months after you arrive.
For information on how to apply for OHIP visit: www.health.gov.on.ca/en/common/system
Or call ServiceOntario INFOline: 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free) or (416) 314-5518 (in Toronto)
Health Care in Prince Edward Island
Though there are clinics and emergency services where you can receive medical help, you will have to be put on a waiting list to gain a family doctor. Immediately after settling, call the PEI Health Department at 1-902-838-0916 and ask to be put on the waiting list for a family doctor.
Register for your PEI Health Insurance Card by calling the PEI Health Department at 368-6130, as you may be able to receive free healthcare. Or, you can pick up an application for PEI Health Insurance at local pharmacies, clinics and immigrant serving organizations.
PEI Health Insurance does not cover all medical related expenses. It is best to obtain a secondary health insurance from a private company. To do so, contact a local insurance company.
Health Care in Quebec
Quebec residents are entitled to free basic healthcare coverage. You must register with Quebec healthcare (Régie de l'assurance maladie du Quebec, or RAMQ). For more information, visit: www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca
There is a three-month waiting period after you have arrived in Quebec before you are eligible to receive full healthcare coverage. Ensure that you have private health insurance to cover you and your family during this three-month waiting period in case of emergency.
Be sure to bring your Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, also known as a CSQ) with you when you go to register for your healthcare card. It is important to apply as soon as you arrive in Quebec.
Health Care in Saskatchewan
Landed immigrants are eligible for health coverage in Saskatchewan. In order to receive health benefits, you must register with Saskatchewan Health Services and obtain a Health Services card.
For complete information on government funded healthcare in Saskatchewan or to find out how to register, visit: www.saskatchewan.ca or call 787-3251 in Regina or 1-800-667-7551 elsewhere in the province