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Government of Canada

Health Care And Dental Care In Canada

Health Care Insurance In Canada

Canadians benefit from universal access to public health care administered by the provinces under the requirements of the federal Canada Health Act. Each province differs slightly in how they deliver health care coverage. In most Canadian provinces, however, non-residents are not covered for public health care for any part of their stay in Canada.

It is vitally important that you arrange to be covered by your own private health insurance from the moment you arrive in Canada until the moment you leave.

If you need to extend your insurance term after you have arrived in Canada, do so before your existing term expires. You will need to provide your insurance company with the:

  • Policy number
  • Date the policy was issued
  • Expiry date
  • Type of insurance
  • Payment for the extended coverage sent before the existing policy expires

There are 2 ways to extend your insurance while in Canada:

  • Ask a family member or friend back home to contact your insurance company or sending organization on your behalf.
  • Phone or fax your insurance company or sending organization with the information; use a credit card for payment or mail the company a money order.

Medical costs can be very expensive in Canada (up to several thousand dollars a day) so maintaining your coverage is important. The procedures for which you are covered will depend on your individual insurance policy so read your policy or contact your insurance company if you have any questions.

Although it is unlikely that you will be covered by Canadian public health care insurance, you may want to reference these provincial websites in case there is a possibility that public medical coverage might be extended to you:

Medical Visits

Are you hurt? Feeling sick? The following is a guide to medical help in Canada:

For medical emergencies: Dial 9-1-1 (in remote locations, dial ‘0’ for the operator)
For non-life threatening medical situations (sprained ankle, stomach flu etc.): Visit a walk-in clinic.

You will be required to pay for ambulances services if they are required. In addition, you can expect to pay between $50 - $100 for an examination by a medical doctor. If you are admitted to hospital, they will contact your insurance company directly on your behalf. For this reason, always carry the emergency contact number of your insurance company and your policy number with you.

As you must pay for all medical costs including medication out of pocket, you should keep your receipts in order to claim these expenses through your insurance company. Make sure you are adequately covered to avoid taking thousands of dollars in medical debt home as a souvenir!

Dental Visits

Fees for dental services can vary depending on the dentist and the required procedures. You can save money by having minor dental work performed by supervised dentistry students at local colleges. Dental work is not covered by public health care insurance in Canada.

Download the full Guide For Participants Coming To Canada (PDF* 570 KB) brochure.

For more information about International Experience Canada, please contact us.

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