Canada provides universal healthcare for all its citizens and permanent residents. Established in 1961, the system is administered provincially and territorially, and the Government of Canada assures the quality of healthcare in Canada through federal standards. Medicare is the unofficial name for Canada's publicly funded universal health insurance system.
Only expats who are permanent residents or citizens of Canada are eligible to receive the national healthcare. Find out if you meet the eligibility requirements here.
In the province of Ontario, the system is called the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). If you are eligible for this plan, there will be a monthly premium which is deducted from your salary automatically.
Services covered by OHIP include doctor visits, hospital costs, dental surgery in a hospital, eligible eye-health services, podiatry, ambulance, and abortion services. For more in-depth information on coverage visit the OHIP webpage. If you do not meet the requirements for the public insurance, you will need to take out private insurance which will be discussed in a later section.
Under the OHIP, you will be issued a CareCard. This health card entitles you to free health care at physician's offices, specialists, hospitals, walk-in clinics, and emergency medical centers. The card is presented each time you visit a doctor who is part of the public system and tracks the number of visits a patient makes to each clinic or doctor. It then uses that information to manage funding and resources throughout the system. The card shows your name, birth date, address, and gender, as well as a unique identifying number.
In Canada, the individual can choose their doctor. Also known as a general practitioner or GP, patients should see a GP for general medical concerns, routine checkups, vaccinations or to get prescriptions written or refilled.
In Toronto, all doctors must be fluent in the English language and doctors in this province are of the highest standards. Visits to a general practitioner/doctor should be free of charge at your visit as the doctor's office will bill the OHIP directly.
To find a doctor you need to register with the Health Care Connect service, and a nurse will assist you in finding a doctor that suits your needs. You may also use the All doctors search on the OHIO website to search for a doctor on your own.
Typically, the OHIP does not cover dental services. Only certain dental surgeries performed in hospitals are covered by the public plan.
You will need to acquire a dental plan in Ontario to help cover the costs of dental care. Some employers will supply dental care for their employees. If this is not the case, you may purchase a plan from a private insurance plan. Dental insurance does not usually cover all of the costs for your dental visit, so you may end up paying some out of pocket expenses for your dental work.
With a dental plan you may choose whichever dentist you would like, if they accept your insurance. Discover the right plan for your by visiting the Canadian Dental Association's webpage.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Toronto is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Canada. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Canada: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Canada, visit our partner APRIL International