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Health Insurance in Canada – Essential Tips for New Immigrants to Canada

Health insurance in Canada

One of the main factors influencing immigrants’ decision to settle in Canada is the country’s publicly funded universal healthcare system. The provincial government of each Canadian province manages health services using a portion of the taxes paid by citizens and residents. This makes essential health and medical support available to qualified persons for free or at a significantly reduced cost. 

The most frequently asked question by newcomers in Canada is “Do I need health insurance in Canada as a new immigrant?” The confusion is frequently caused by the fact that Canada is well-known throughout the world for having a strong publicly-supported healthcare system that allows citizens to obtain certain medical services for “free” (you will notice the cost in your paycheque as healthcare is funded by taxes)

Health Insurance in Canada

Health Insurance in Canada

Without having to pay out of pocket, all Canadian citizens and permanent residents have fair access to hospital services that are medically essential. Although the federal government has required universal healthcare, different provinces and territories manage their own healthcare programs, therefore the specifics of coverage differ according on the resident. Only medically required services are covered by the universal health care program offered to all Canadians; this is referred to as basic health care coverage.

Individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada should anticipate having to pay cash for medical care unless they have private health insurance. Some immigration programs require temporary residents to purchase one for the period of their stay in Canada.

All provinces and territories offer free care in the event of a serious medical emergency. Regardless of whether the patient has a government health card or not. However, depending on an individual’s immigration status, there can be major limitations on the services that can be offered.

Requirements for Health Insurance in Canada as a New Comer


If you are yet to land in Canada but plan to do so soon, have a look at this list of typical immigration status kinds to determine what health insurance you will need during your initial months there.

International Experience Canada (IEC)

Your insurance obligations are rather simple if you intend to enter Canada with an IEC work permit. Private insurance must be obtained for the whole term of your IEC work permit. When you arrive in Canada, you must have a 12-month insurance policy. If you are eligible for a 12-month work permit. 

The same applies to those of you who qualify for a 24-month work visa; you must obtain a coverage that lasts for 24 months. Your work visa will only be approved for a six-month term if you arrive with a six-month policy; there is no way to extend it afterwards. You will be denied entry into Canada if you arrive without insurance.

Permanent Residents (Express Entry, Family Class, PNPs, and more!)

As you have undoubtedly heard a thousand times previously, “You get full access to the publicly-funded Canadian healthcare system as a permanent resident,” However, use caution during the first few months as your medical coverage may not be as extensive as you believe.

Yes, you have access to Canada’s healthcare system since you are a permanent resident. To utilize the system, though, you must register with your own province or territory. Healthcare registration is a time-consuming process in several provinces and regions. Buying private insurance coverage at this time could be a smart move to make sure you’re covered in case you require medical attention.

Visitors and Tourists

Make sure you have insurance as a visitor or tourist visiting Canada in case something goes wrong during your vacation. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to unexpected medical procedures, which can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. You could be tempted to forego it and take a chance, as with practically all insurance we purchase in our lifetimes, but you’ll be glad you have the assurance that you’re insured in case something goes wrong.

Temporary Workers (Except IEC)

You might be able to obtain private insurance if you’re entering Canada as a temporary worker (apart from IEC) or you might be eligible for provincial or territory health insurance. On the other hand, certain employer-based work permits demand that your company ensures you have access to insurance, either through a private policy or the public system. Therefore, one approach to begin looking into your alternatives is to inquire about health insurance from your job. 

Super Visas

You must obtain private insurance coverage as a holder of a super visa for a minimum of one year from the date of entrance into Canada. No matter where you intend to live in Canada, you must have insurance in order to enter the nation, so be sure to have it!

International Students

Insurance is a must for international students during the whole term of their study permits. Although certain provinces allow international students to choose to enroll in the publicly funded system, the majority of international students are required to acquire private health insurance coverage. Numerous educational institutions in Canada provide insurance packages to international students, which are arranged by the school. 

This saves the headache of having to search for a reputable supplier, but it does not provide the best value or the lowest price. You should first confirm with your school if you intend to study in Canada. They ought to be able to provide you with comprehensive insurance details and suggestions for overseas students in your particular situation!

Essential Tips for New Immigrants applying for health insurance in Canada:


🔹Apply right away!

In order to ensure that you have an active health card by the time the waiting period ends, new immigrants should enroll for health coverage as soon as they arrive in Canada. 

🔹Consider the waiting time

Following arrival, there is a three-month waiting period in many jurisdictions, such as Ontario.

🔹Think about the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP)

Within three months of their arrival, newcomers to Alberta can apply for AHCIP. 

🔹Take into account the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)

You must apply for MSP as soon as you get to BC. Although the application processing time is approximately three months. During the waiting period, iMED offers minimal health insurance.

🔹Think about the Temporary Federal Health Program

The Interim Federal Health Program may provide coverage to protected individuals, refugees, and refugee seekers. 

🔹Consider the  foreign health insurance policies

Prescription drugs, emergency medical treatment, and dental care may all be covered by these policies.

🔹Individual insurance

The price of private insurance varies and is influenced by your age, the plan’s benefits, and the deductible you select.

🔹Consider purchasing travel insurance

When visiting Canada, it is important to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses, lost luggage, and delayed flights.  


Getting to start a life a new in a foreign place could be overwhelming! Besides undergoing a rollercoaster of emotions, the life you’re about to start will keep you on your toes! Canada being the best destination just makes it easy for you to settle right in! But first, don’t forget apply for a health insurance card! If you’re looking for assistance, talk to our immigration experts at CanApprove. And let us know if you find this blog useful! We’d love to hear from you!


1. How do immigrants get health insurance in Canada?

Province and territorial health insurance is available to those who are permanent residents. After landing in Canada, they are urged to apply as soon as possible. The Ministry (or Department) of Health in each province or territory has online application forms available.

2. Who is eligible for health insurance in Canada?

Only citizens, permanent residents, certain holders of work permits in Canada, and certain refugees are eligible for this program. Every province and territory in Canada is in charge of its very own independent healthcare system. Medical care is now accessible to those who are ineligible for Canada’s public health system thanks to private insurance options.

3. Do immigrants in Canada get free healthcare?

You can seek to get Medicare health services that are sponsored by the government. Even if you are a landed immigrant or permanent resident. Basic medical services like doctor visits, hospital stays, and diagnostic testing are either completely free or very inexpensively offered through Medicare.

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