Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Canada has a public health care system commonly known as Medicare.
This means that health insurance covering essential medical services is
available to all permanent residents and Canadian citizens.
The federal government
sets health-care standards for the whole country while the provincial
ministries of health run the health care system. In general, Medicare
is paid for through taxes. Two provinces (British Columbia and Alberta)
however, charge premiums.
How to get medical services
are available across Canada from hospitals, clinics, doctors and other
health-care providers. When you receive medical services you need to show
your provincial health card. If you do not have a provincial health
card you will need to pay directly for the costs of the services.
Your telephone book
lists doctors and other health-care providers under the headings "Physicians
Applying for a provincial health insurance card
Who is eligible
for a health insurance card?
- All Canadian citizens
- All permanent
In some provinces
temporary workers, students and some others in Canada on a temporary basis
are also eligible.
Those claiming refugee
status who are needy or living in a province with a three-month eligibility
waiting period can get emergency or essential health-care services through
the Interim Federal Health Program
at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
How to apply for a health insurance card
To apply for a health
insurance card you will need to apply to the ministry
of health in the province or territory where you live. You can get
an application form from the provincial ministry of health, or in any
doctor’s office, hospital or pharmacy. Apply for your health insurance
card as soon as possible after arriving in Canada.
You will need to
show your birth certificate, Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292)
and passport. You may also show your Permanent Resident Card. You may
need to provide other documents showing your name, address and signature.
that everyone in your family needs their own provincial health insurance
card. Take their documents with you to the ministry of health office and
ask about registering them.
When will your health insurance coverage begin?
In most provinces
you will receive coverage as soon as you apply.
Four provinces however,
have a waiting period before you are eligible for a health card.
In British Columbia,
Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick there is a three-month eligibility waiting
period before your coverage begins.
that during the eligibility waiting period, you should buy private health
Rules for temporary
workers, students or other visitors also vary from province to province.
Contact the ministry
of health in your province for more information.
Medical services covered by Medicare
covered by Medicare include:
- Examination and
treatment by family doctors;
- Many types of
- Most treatments
- Hospital care;
- Many laboratory
- Most immunizations.
Medical services not covered by Medicare
Your public health
insurance will only pay for essential or medically necessary services.
not covered by Medicare, and for which you will have to pay include:
- Ambulance services
- Prescription drugs
- Dental care
- Glasses and contact
These services are
sometimes covered by workplace benefits packages.
Some provinces do
pay for non-medical services, such as prescription drugs. In some cases,
both you and your province will pay a portion of the total cost.
Visiting or moving to a new province
Your health card
is mainly for use in the province where you live. If you are visiting
another province, your card can be used in an emergency.
If you are moving
permanently to another province, reapply for a new provincial health card
as soon as possible. There are waiting periods before your coverage begins
in your new province, although the province you left will continue to
provide coverage for a limited period of time.
If you are going
to reside in a different province for a temporary period of time you should
contact the provincial ministry of health office in your home province
before you leave.