Patient signing paper in hospital

The most important thing you must do after Canadian immigration is apply for public health insurance.

The reason? With a Canadian health insurance card you don’t have to pay for most health services, like screening mammography, immunization, necessary surgical procedures etc.

In which Canadian province do you want to live? Each province and territory in Canada has their own unique health insurance plan- with different criteria of what medical care they cover or don't cover. Ensure you find out what your plan covers.

What is the waiting period to get public health insurance in Canada?

If you're a permanent resident who applied for health insurance, you can expect to wait 3 months to receive your health insurance card. It is therefore recommended that you take out temporary private health policy coverage, especially if your family unit consists of young children or elderly people, who may need health assistance during this waiting period.

What happens if you have a medical emergency during the waiting period?

If you don't have private health care coverage and you or a dependant have a medical emergency, you don’t have to worry. All province and territories will provide free emergency medical services, even without a health insurance card.

What does the Canadian public health insurance not cover?

If you want extended health services, you need private medical insurance to pay for things that the Canadian government does not fully cover, like:

  • Prescription medications
  • Certain dental care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription eyeglasses

However, if you work in Canada, you may get additional health care coverage from your company.