New Immigrants to Canada need to Check Health Cover Entitlement before Arriving

December 03, 2018
All New immigrants reaching in Canada need to be aware of the type of their health coverage they need, prior to their arrival.

Canada has a well established Public Health Care System, but some provinces have a waiting period for new permanent residents. Moreover, the work permit holders and study permit holders also get a different treatment.

Consider the required coverage 

There is an opinion that many newcomers fail to consider the type of coverage they require until they reach Canada. This leads to a tough situation in case of a health emergency which happens in the gap between arriving and getting proper coverage, in the provinces which have a waiting period.  Additionally, some experts in the Insurance Services feel that it is important for newcomers to do sufficient homework in this matter. The Federal Legislation governs Medicare, but each province/territory manages its own Public Health Plan. In certain areas, there is a Medicare waiting period for fresh residents, whereas in some there is nil. When there is a waiting period, the new resident is liable to pay the total cost of medical services and hospital fees, even in case of an emergency.

New Immigrants to Canada need to Check Health Cover Entitlement before Arriving

The situation in the provinces

Three Canadian provinces, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia have up to three months of Public Health Care waiting period. Additionally, there is a waiting period in Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories also. For these provinces, the newcomers need to purchase interim medical insurance for covering an unexpected health care cost. In other provinces, there is a retroactive coverage to the date of arrival after completing the registration.

Immediate Health Coverage for New Permanent Residents

Immediate coverage

Waiting period




British Columbia



New Brunswick


Nova Scotia

Northwest Territories

Newfoundland & Labrador


Prince Edward Island


For the work permit and study permit holders health cover depends on the province/territory. Work permits must be valid for a certain period of time, (six to 12 months), to get the covered, in case they live and work in the same province/territory. Finally, the rules vary based on the class of work permit. Hence all candidates must be aware of their coverage.

Variations in provinces

Moreover, there are great variations for study permit holders:

• A few provinces or territories do not offer Medicare to global students.

• They Offer Medicare when the student is registered for a scholarly program of more than 12 months.

• Provinces offer Medicare when the student resides with study permit for 12 months continuously in the province/territory.

• They allow international students on Medicare immediately or on completion of the standard waiting period, when they have a valid study permit for six months.

Also, the Provinces can change their study permit policy because international students.

An important note

With Effect from September 1, 2018, Manitoba Health has implemented a fresh set of eligibility criteria which render international students ineligible for coverage, irrespective of their study permit duration.

For all the people arriving in Canada as permanent residents or as holders of work permit or study permit, there is a clear message to not assume any qualifying for Public Health Care Coverage. There is a need to do exhaustive research for avoiding unfavorable consequences.

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