Canada is a developed country in North America and hundreds of thousands of people either move to Canada on permanent residence (PR) or on work visa or student visa. Newcomers to Canada, including recent permanent residents, usually have to wait for 3 months before being eligible for provincial healthcare. Short term medical insurance can be purchased to fill the gap.
Canada primarily has government run healthcare facilities. Canada is made up of 10 provinces (like states).
Each province has different rules for being able to enroll into their plan.
For example, Ontario residents are eligible for provincially funded health coverage (OHIP or Ontario Health Insurance Plan). Generally, to be eligible for OHIP, you must:
- be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or among one of the newcomer to Canada groups who are eligible for OHIP as set out in Ontario’s Health Insurance Act; and
- be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period; and
- be physically present in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after establishing residency in the province; and
- make your primarily place of residence in Ontario.
Most people have a waiting period. However, some people are exempted, such as
- Newborn babies born in Ontario;
- OHIP-eligible adopted children under the age of 16;
- Protected persons (Convention Refugees and persons in need of protection); and
- People from another province/territory who move directly into a long-term care facility in Ontario, or who require admittance into a long-term care facility within 3 months of arrival in Ontario.
As you can see, most people are not exempt from the waiting period.
Other Provinces and Territories
Similar to Ontario, many other provinces and territories may have a waiting period too:
- Alberta - None
- British Columbia - 3 months
- Manitoba - None
- New Brunswick - None
- Newfoundland and Labrador - 3 months
- Northwest Territories - 3 months
- Nova Scotia - None
- Nunavut - 3 months
- Ontario - 3 months
- Prince Edward Island - None
- Quebec - 3 months
- Saskatchewan - 3 months
- Yukon - 3 months
Temporary Medical Insurance
Canada provides one of the best healthcare systems in the world. However, it is very expensive. Without proper insurance, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to pay out of pocket for medical expenses, if they were to get sick or injured during the waiting period. The medical bills can range from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, various temporary medical insurance from US based companies are available, provided you purchase them BEFORE arriving in Canada: