Understanding the Waiting Period in the Public Healthcare System of Canada. 

Although medicare is given to the residents of Canada at lower costs or free through the public health insurance plan, those immigrating to Canada often have to wait for a waiting period before they can have coverage from the public healthcare insurance system. 

The waiting period is in place to prevent people from gaining permanent residence in Canada only for the public health care benefits that are paid for by the taxes of the citizens of Canada. During this waiting period, the newcomers are responsible for their own healthcare costs, including hospital stays and emergency medical treatments  You can get private healthcare insurance for coverage during the waiting period. 

The waiting period is imposed by only some provinces. Immediate coverage is available in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the province of Manitoba, the province of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Alberta. The waiting period is imposed in the province of Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwestern Territories and Nunavut. 

Waiting Period in Ontario.

Your public healthcare coverage does not begin as soon as you gain permanent residence in Ontario. A waiting period of 3 months is imposed by the Provincial Government after your arrival in Ontario. It is highly recommended for you that you apply immediately for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan when you have the documents ready. You will be sent a health card and your coverage will begin when you are established as qualifying for the insurance. 

Your waiting period will not begin upon your arrival in Ontario. The Ministry of Health and Long-term Care will check the documentation you submitted and decide when your waiting period will start. To be eligible, you will have to be present in Ontario for 153 days in your first 183 days in the province after you submit your application for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. 

Listed below are those who could be exempted from the waiting period of 3 months. 

  • A baby who has Canadian citizenship and is born in Ontario.
  • Children under the age of 16 who are adopted internationally by parents who are residents of Ontario.
  • Convention Refugees and those that are protected people by a board of Immigration and Refugee of the Canadian nation by definition. 
  • Those who shift from one Canadian province to another and are moving into a long-term care home in the first 3 months after they arrive in the province of Ontario. 

Waiting Period in British Columbia.

Those who become residents of British Columbia as well as those who are returning to British Columbia as the residents of the province are required to wait for the duration of their waiting period before coverage can begin for them under the British Columbia Medical Services Plan. The waiting period is counted as two months in addition to the remainder of the month in which your residency in British Columbia is established. 

The date of residency establishment is determined by the Ministry of Health in the province of British Columbia. Among the many factors that they take into account is the type of Immigration status held by you. The waiting period does not necessarily begin on the day of your arrival in the province. If you arrive in British Columbia as a tourist or a visitor, your waiting period will start when your status as a resident of British Columbia, or a status that is eligible for coverage under the British Columbia Medical Services Plan, is established. 

If you move to British Columbia from another province in Canada, you will have coverage from your previous Provincial healthcare plan. As there is an agreement between the Provincial Governments. If you are moving from outside Canada, it is recommended you get private healthcare insurance for coverage during the waiting period. 

Waiting Period in Saskatchewan.

If you are moving to Saskatchewan along with your family members together, your healthcare coverage in Saskatchewan will begin on the first day of the third month from the month when you established your permanent residency in Saskatchewan. Until your healthcare coverage begins in the province of Saskatchewan, during the waiting period, you will have coverage from your previous province’s healthcare insurance plan.

If you are coming to Saskatchewan from outside Canada, you can skip the waiting period or at least begin your coverage before the end of the waiting period if you are in the following groups. 

  • If you are a Canadian permanent resident.
  • If you are a discharged member of the Armed Forces of the nation.
  • If you are a non-immigrant and are in Canada due to your profession or trade.
  • An international student can also skip the period who is residing in Canada.
  • If you are a spouse or partner of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces returning to Saskatchewan.
  • If you are a returning Canadian citizen in Saskatchewan.

Waiting Period in Quebec.

If you move to Quebec for settling from outside Canada, even though you might be a Canadian citizen, you will be required to wait for a waiting period of 3 months after you submit your application before you become eligible for coverage under the Quebec Health Insurance Plan. 

Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Québec or the Quebec Health Insurance Board will not give you reimbursement for the medical attention you may need during the waiting period. To not gain high medical expenses due to any medical emergency during the waiting period, the Quebec Health Insurance Board recommends you buy private health insurance within 5 days from your arrival in the province of Quebec. 

You must keep the letter that states your waiting period safe. There are some healthcare services that you can avail for free during your waiting period in Quebec. It is advised that you keep the receipts of all medical bills you invite before getting your Health Insurance Card safe. The following services are free of cost during the waiting period. 

  • Services needed by those who are have become victims of domestic conjugal violence or sexual assault.
  • Services related to a pregnancy, childbirth or services needed for the termination of a pregnancy. 
  • Any services needed by those who are suffering from an infectious disease that can put a risk on the health of the general public. 

Waiting Period in Yukon.

Yukon Health Care Insurance plan begins to give coverage only after three months from the date that you establish permanent residency in Yukon. Since there exists an agreement between the provinces of Canada, you will have coverage from your previous Provincial healthcare insurance plan if you are moving to Yukon from another province in Canada. 

If you are moving to Yukon from outside Canada you should get private insurance from a private insurance company or provider to cover your healthcare and medical expenses during the waiting period of 3 months.