Ontario Health Insurance Plan

This insurance plan is run by the Government of Ontario from the taxes paid by the residents of this province. Emergency, as well as preventive care, is available to the residents and newcomers of Ontario. Find out your eligibility and check out how you can submit an application for this…

British Columbia Health Plan

British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan offers coverage for medically-necessary services which include doctor services and most medical tests. Find out if you are qualified to receive coverage as an immigrant or resident of British Columbia under this plan and what you can do to apply for…

Alberta Health Plan

Eligible Alberta citizens are provided coverage by the government under the Alberta Health Plan. Essential physician services on a medical basis, some dental health services, as well as oral surgical services are covered under this plan. Whether the procedure is medically necessary or not…

Extended Health Coverage Plans

Extended Health Care Plans supplement your existing health plans and provincial medical plans. They provide reimbursement for medical expenses and healthcare services that are not covered by existing provincial Government plans and programs. Find your eligibility and check if…

Many immigrants move to Canada for its universal healthcare system that is publicly funded. One part of the taxes paid by the residents of each province is used by the Provincial Government to provide accessible healthcare plans. Hence, those eligible can access healthcare and healthcare-related assistance or help for either free or even a fraction of the total original cost. 

Each province has a provincial healthcare plan. Each plan differs in the coverage offered, waiting periods, eligibility criteria etc. Here are some things you can do to understand for yourself the healthcare plans as a Canadian newcomer. 

Application for a Health Insurance Card in your Province.

You will require a health insurance card to gain access to medical services in Canada. These cards are issued to the residents by the province or territory. If you are a newcomer, you will have to submit an application to get the card from the federal government. The websites of the provincial Governments will have the address to where you can submit your application as well as a list of required documents. 

The application is required to be submitted in person and the supporting documents needed differ from province to province. Proof of residence, ID that is Government-issued and immigration documents are however required by all provinces. A health card will be sent via mail to your residence when your application is verified. This card can be shown to doctors when you visit a hospital. 

Understand the health coverage provided.

The emergency medical services provided to you by the Canadian government depend on your immigration status. In any emergency case, visit a nearby hospital. Most insurance covers the basic medical services. 

Things like prescription medicines, dental care, physiotherapy, ambulance charges, eyeglasses will have to be paid by insurance. Employers may offer extended healthcare insurance benefits in medical cases where coverage is not given by the Provincial insurance. Find out if your employer covers these benefits, be informed of these options before accepting a job offer. 

Find a family doctor. 

Family doctors serve as primary points of contact in case medical care and advice is needed in Canada. You and your family are given basic care or be referred to a specialist by a family doctor. You can find a doctor for your family by asking friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances. You can contact immigrant-serving organizations or community health centres. 

Every province also has a website that is dedicated to helping you find your family doctor. Once you enter your neighbourhood and residence area where you would like to find a doctor on the website, you will be added to a waiting list of patients. This waiting period can last for several months, but if you need a doctor before that, you can visit any walk-in clinic where you will not require an appointment to see a doctor. 

Free medical services. 

Residents of Canada can access free medical advice on the phone or by visiting a free clinic. The phone lines are operated 24/7 by registered nurses. Dialling 811 will connect you to a professional in healthcare. These health lines help people understand if they can handle the problems themselves or they need to seek medical attention. 

Healthcare in Canada by Province.

All Provincial healthcare plans have some certain standards and common features. But they do have differences that are subtle like what is covered and how long is the waiting period. 


The coverage under the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan is started the moment the residency in the state is established. It covers the services of a physician, dental as well as oral health and surgeries as well as hospital visits and stays. This plan also offers partial coverage of podiatry and optometry services. 

British Columbia

The provincial healthcare plan of British Columbia, called The Medical Services Plan, gives coverage 3 months after the arrival of the resident. It covers the services of midwives and physicians, surgeries that are dental or oral related, eye exams, x-rays and orthodontic services. Acupuncture, chiropractic services, massage as well as physical therapy, naturopathy and non-surgical podiatry is also covered. 


Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living covers the services of physicians and care providers, surgeries, x-rays and any laboratory services that may be ordered by your physician. This coverage is available to you from the third month of your arrival. 

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Medicare and Drug Plans cover the services of a physician, a hospital and certain dental procedures that may involve surgery. A letter indicating the coverage start date is sent to you via mail after your application is processed and residency established. 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Medical Care Plan (MCP) offers coverage of the services of a physician, hospital visits, procedures involving surgeries, diagnosis and therapy, pre and post-operation care, maternity care, radiology, a few dental procedures and radiology from the day that you arrive. 

Northwest Territories.

After your application has been processed and gained approval, The NWT Health Care Plan mails you an NWT health care card. This can take up to six weeks from the time you apply. This plan covers basic hospital and medical treatments. 

Nova Scotia

Medical Services Insurance (MSI) Program begins to give you coverage from the day you arrive in Nova Scotia. This program covers health-care-services of a physician, hospital as well as dental, prostheses, and optometry services. 


Nunavut Health Care Plan covers the care-services of a physician and hospital from the third month of your arrival if you satisfy the eligibility criteria.  


Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) covers visits to the doctor and hospital, abortions, dental surgeries, optometry, podiatry, services of an ambulance as well as travel expenses. If you are not eligible for immediate coverage, it can take 3 months for coverage to begin. 

Prince Edward Island

PEI Health Card can help you get affordable Care from the date of your arrival. It covers health care needs such as child immunizations, primary health care such as diagnosis, treatment, health education, disease prevention, screening, as well as in-patient or out-patient hospital services.


Québec Health Insurance Plan’s waiting period is 3 months from the date of your arrival. It covers medical procedures along with anesthetics, healthcare examinations, eye drops, diagnostic mammograms, urine and glycemia related tests, and vasectomies.  


Saskatchewan Health Cards are sent to you via mail after your application is processed. The application processing takes around 6-8 weeks. It covers services of physicians, inpatient and outpatient services, physiotherapy as well as occupational therapy. Other things that coverage is provided for include screening mammography, immunization services, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, treatment for alcohol and drug abuse problems, mental health services as well as problem gambling services.


Yukon Health Care Insurance Plan begins three months after your residency is established in the state. Coverage is given for medical as well as hospital services, and certain dental-surgical procedures. 

You must ensure to familiarize yourself with the health plans, health services, health insurance plans, private health insurance, health centres, health care providers and the health care system when you settle in Canada. This will help you even out your entry into Canadian society and keep you well informed.