Canada’s standards for health care are among the best in the world. In Ontario, there is a publicly-funded health care system which is available through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
All residents of Ontario, including those of permanent resident status, are guaranteed access to essential medical services through OHIP. Many other immigrant classes can receive medical services through OHIP as well. The Government of Ontario offers information on who is eligible for OHIP.
OHIP only pays for services that are medically necessary. Services covered include visits to family doctors and specialists. A full list of health services covered by OHIP is available online. OHIP does not pay for prescription medicines, or non-essential medical services such as treatment by a chiropractor. For services not covered by OHIP, you might want to purchase additional health insurance. Settlement.org offers a guide to supplementary health insurance in Ontario.
You should apply for OHIP coverage as soon as possible after your arrival in Canada. You must wait approximately three months before coverage begins. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care offers information on this 3-month waiting period. And, Settlement.org offers information on how to finance health services during the first 3-months in Ontario.
Remember that each member of your family needs his or her own health insurance card. Always bring your card with you when you go to the doctor or the hospital.
At any time, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000. Telehealth is a free service provided by the Government of Ontario. You can speak to a qualified, registered nurse and get health advice or information. You can call any time of the day or night. The Telehealth service is in English or French and can be translated for other languages.