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Life in Canada

Healthcare in Canada: An Overview

26 October 2016

Healthcare in Canada: An Overview
All Canadian citizens and permanent residents have the right to public health insurance in Canada called ‘Medicare’. Work permit holders for over a six-month period may also apply for public health care in Canada. With Medicare, most healthcare services are covered as they are funded by taxes. Obtaining healthcare services is as simple as showing your health insurance card to the hospital or clinic you are visiting.

Each province has its own health insurance plan that covers different healthcare services. It is important to find out what is covered by your province’s healthcare prior to arriving in Canada.

Regardless of where you live in Canada, emergency medical services are provided for residents and citizens for free, even for those who don’t have a government health insurance card.

While Medicare gives access to basic medical services, some services are not covered by the government, including but not limited to:
  • Dental care;
  • Prescription medications;
  • Prescription eyewear;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Ambulance services.

The above services must either be paid for by the individual receiving the service, or through a private health insurance plan. Many companies offer private insurance plans for their employees that cover, or at least partially cover, the cost of the above services in addition to many others.

After applying for a public health insurance card, some provinces impose a waiting period of up to three months before receiving health care coverage. Prior to arrival in Canada, you should find out how long the waiting period is for the province you are settling in, and take steps to obtain private health insurance to cover your healthcare requirements during this waiting time.

One drawback of Canadian healthcare is the timeliness of care provided. Wait times for basic medical care, specialist care, and most surgeries are often quite long. However, the Canadian government is currently funding programs in an effort to reduce the wait times and solve this problem.  

Canadians are proud of their universal healthcare system compared to their neighbors to the south, whose healthcare system is deemed both expensive and unfair. The quality of healthcare in Canada is relatively high compared to much of the world. In a comparative study of the Commonwealth nations, Canada ranked second in terms of life expectancy and child mortality rates. Canadians lead long and healthy lives which is definitely something to be proud of.

For more information on Canadian immigration programs, please click here.

For more information on Canadian healthcare and Canadian immigration medical refusal, please click here or contact QICMS to speak with a legal consultant.

Please fill out our Free Assessment to find out if you qualify for any of the immigration programs offered.

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