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How to navigate the Canadian healthcare system

Printed on November eleventh, 2022 at 09:49am EST

Scotiabank has advice for navigating Canada's healthcare system

There’s quite a bit to consider whenever you’re transferring to Canada. It’s a must to find a job, a place to live, and work out the place your children will go to high school.

You’ll additionally want a fundamental understanding of the Canadian healthcare system so that you simply and your loved ones are correctly coated whenever you arrive.

We now have solutions to lots of the large questions newcomers typically have in regards to the Canadian healthcare system. Learn on to seek out out how one can entry healthcare as a newcomer, how a lot it prices, and what providers the general public system covers.

How does Canada’s healthcare system work?

Common healthcare is likely one of the many advantages individuals affiliate with transferring to Canada. However you could be asking your self, what’s common healthcare?

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Principally, anybody who’s a Canadian citizen or everlasting resident can apply for public medical insurance. Taxpayer {dollars} fund the Canadian healthcare system, which covers permitted medically vital hospital and physician providers.

Every of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories are in command of defining what they contemplate to be a “medically vital service,” and offering healthcare to their residents.

In different phrases, the way you entry healthcare and the precise providers you’re entitled to will rely upon the place you reside.

The federal authorities additionally performs a component. It helps fund provincial and territorial well being care providers and units nationwide well being requirements for the system by the Canada Health Act.

Find out how to entry healthcare in Canada as a newcomer

To entry public medical insurance in Canada, all it’s important to do is submit an utility to your provincial or territorial authorities. Any Canadian citizen or everlasting resident is ready to apply.

When you’re permitted, you’ll obtain your healthcare card within the mail. Any time you go to the physician, go to the emergency room or have surgical procedure, you’ll be requested to point out your healthcare card.

How lengthy does it take to get healthcare protection in Canada?

Every province and territory decides its personal minimal ready interval. That is the period of time it’s important to wait earlier than healthcare protection is on the market to you.

In some provinces, you may get protection as quickly as you arrive in Canada. In others, you could have to attend as much as three months. To be on the protected facet, the Government of Canada recommends shopping for personal medical insurance so that you’re correctly coated throughout any ready interval.

Find out how to discover a household physician

Many Canadians have a household physician who treats them after they’re sick or after they want a blood or laboratory take a look at. If you want to see a specialist, a household physician may also offer you a referral.

A profit of getting a household physician is that they will get to know you, your loved ones, and your medical historical past.

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To discover a household physician, ask your pals or household if they will suggest somebody who’s taking new sufferers. Every province and territory additionally has sources and instruments that will help you join with a household physician or different major care suppliers:

Who’s eligible without spending a dime healthcare in Canada?

Whether or not or not you may get free healthcare as a newcomer is determined by your standing and the way lengthy you’ve been in Canada. A fundamental requirement for medical insurance protection is that it’s important to dwell in a province or territory and be bodily current not less than 183 days out of the 12 months.

Sometimes, Canada’s common healthcare covers the next teams:

  • Everlasting residents
  • Worldwide college students with a examine allow
  • International employees with permits
  • Protected individuals and refugees
  • Short-term residents (particular circumstances)

When you aren’t a citizen or a everlasting resident, you want to work or examine in Canada for not less than six months earlier than you may apply for healthcare.

Within the meantime, when you get sick or damage, the federal government received’t cowl most medical therapies you get. To keep away from pricey medical payments, you must look into personal well being protection earlier than you come to Canada.

Word: When you’re in Canada below the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency journey (CUAET), you would possibly be capable to get public well being care relying on the province or territory you’re residing in. In case your province or territory gives public healthcare below CUAET, you want to apply for a healthcare card.

What does Canadian healthcare cowl?

Along with your healthcare card, most healthcare and emergency medical providers are freed from cost. As an illustration, in Ontario, you probably have a medical motive to obtain a service or remedy, OHIP covers the next providers:

  • Household physician appointments
  • Visits to walk-in clinics and different healthcare suppliers
  • Visits to the emergency room
  • Surgical procedures and medical assessments

Public healthcare covers psychological well being therapies from a psychiatrist inside a hospital. However if you wish to go and converse with a personal psychologist, this isn’t coated. You’ll want personal medical insurance otherwise you’ll should pay out-of-pocket with your individual cash.

Some employers, together with Scotiabank, provide psychological well being protection as a part of their worker profit bundle.

There are free psychological well being helps for people who find themselves having a disaster, in addition to for youngsters, older adults, Indigenous peoples and different particular teams.

Your province or territory may additionally provide “further advantages” that focus on sure populations, together with kids, seniors and people on social help. These packages fluctuate between provinces and territories.

What shouldn’t be coated by Canadian healthcare?

  • Well being providers that the publicly funded healthcare system typically don’t cowl embody:
  • Listening to and imaginative and prescient care
  • Dental care
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Ambulance providers
  • Unbiased residing (residence care)

There are some exceptions to this rule. As an illustration, in Ontario, these 24 years and below who’ve OHIP protection and aren’t coated by a personal plan can get OHIP+. This program supplies free entry to greater than 5,000 pharmaceuticals, together with medicines like antibiotics and inhalers for bronchial asthma.

Many Canadians have personal medical insurance protection by their employer or a personal insurance coverage firm to assist pay for providers public healthcare doesn’t cowl. Scotia Insurance® gives well being and dental protection to Scotia Group Clients or their partner to assist pay for issues that aren’t coated by employers or provincial healthcare plans. Bear in mind, with out added insurance coverage, you’ll should pay out-of-pocket.

Professionals and cons of the Canadian healthcare system

Accessing a fundamental degree of healthcare protection is likely one of the superb advantages of residing in Canada. However this doesn’t imply the healthcare system is ideal. Like most issues in life, there are execs and cons to the Canadian healthcare system.


  • Common entry. Any Canadian or everlasting resident can use the general public well being care system for medically vital well being care providers.
  • Particular providers for particular wants. Many provinces and territories provide particular providers for individuals with particular wants, together with kids, seniors and people on social help.
  • Teaching programs. The Canadian authorities funds academic packages to boost consciousness amongst Canadians to stop accidents and well being points.


  • Wait instances. Since entry to Canadian well being care providers is predicated on want as an alternative of having the ability to pay, there are sometimes lengthy wait instances for non-emergency surgical procedures.
  • Availability of care in rural areas. Canadian healthcare funding is predicated on inhabitants. Consequently, cities with fewer individuals obtain much less funding so the vary and development of providers provided could restricted. Usually, individuals who dwell in small cities should journey to larger cities for extra sophisticated well being points.
  • Lack of dental and prescription drug protection. Whereas there are particular packages to assist sure teams get funding for dental and prescription drug protection, these providers aren’t accessible to everybody freed from cost.

Healthcare in Canada

Public healthcare is a security web for Canadian residents and everlasting residents. Regardless that it isn’t good, yow will discover consolation as a newcomer in figuring out that you simply and your loved ones will be capable to get the care you require, whenever you want it, with out the burden of healthcare prices.

That can assist you put together and save for an sudden medical occasion or any kind of emergency, book an appointment to speak to a Scotiabank advisor.

Sign up to Scotiabank’s newsletter and live webinars for more advice on how to settle in Canada!

Authorized Disclaimer: This text is offered for info functions solely. It’s not to be relied upon as monetary, tax or funding recommendation or ensures in regards to the future, nor ought to it’s thought of a advice to purchase or promote. Data contained on this article, together with info regarding rates of interest, market situations, tax guidelines, and different funding components are topic to vary with out discover and The Financial institution of Nova Scotia shouldn’t be accountable to replace this info. All third social gathering sources are believed to be correct and dependable as of the date of publication and The Financial institution of Nova Scotia doesn’t assure its accuracy or reliability. Readers ought to seek the advice of their very own skilled advisor for particular monetary, funding and/or tax recommendation tailor-made to their wants to make sure that particular person circumstances are thought of correctly and motion is taken primarily based on the newest accessible info.

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