Universal Healthcare System

Canada has a Universal Healthcare System. The goal of universal health coverage is to ensure that all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them. There are three provinces that charge health care premiums (BC, Alberta, and Ontario). In the remaining provinces and territories, health care is paid for through taxes. Provincial governments are responsible for the actual administration and delivery of health care in their jurisdictions.

The universal healthcare system is paid for through taxes. When you use public healthcare services, you must show your health insurance card to the hospital or medical clinic.

Each province and territory has its own health insurance plan. Make sure you know what your plan covers.

All provinces and territories will provide free emergency medical services, even if you don’t have a government health card. There may be restrictions depending on your immigration status.

Extra Health Insurance

It’s important to note that not every service is covered by the Universal Healthcare System. Government health covers basic medical care, but you’ll need private insurance to pay for services such as:

  • Dental care
  • Prescription meds
  • Eyeglasses
  • Physiotherapy/chiropractic services/massage therapy
  • Certain mental health services

Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health

Note that if you work, you may get extra coverage from the company or organization you work for.

Who is Eligible for Healthcare in Canada?

If you’re a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, you may apply for public health insurance. With it, you don’t have to pay for most health-care services.

As an international student, you are not eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Your school will offer special health plans for you. Public universities generally offer the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), while colleges and private universities use other plans. Your spouse and children may be eligible, if they are with you in Canada.

These plans are not free. The cost of health insurance is added to your tuition and student fees.

Getting a Health Card

You need a health insurance card from the province or territory where you live to get health care in Canada. You must show this card each time you get medical services.