Healthcare in Canada and Health Visa Requirements

Canadian Immigration Health Requirements
Canada obviously need to protect its citizens from disease and illness and therefore imposes stringent health checks on people wanting to live in the country for over six months.

Temporary Residents
Temporary residents applying to enter Canada for more than six months need to have a medical exam.  Those people who have lived or travelled in certain countries around the world for six months in the previous twelve months, also need a medical.  The relevant countries are listed here.

Temporary residents who are coming to work in areas of public health, such as hospitals, schools and other occupations,  may also need a medical exam, no matter which country they are coming from.

Medicals must be performed by a dedicated panel physician not your local GP.  Panel physicians can be located here.

Permanent Residents
If you are applying for Permanent Residency you must have a medical examination.  Strangely enough, your family must also have a medical even if they are not accompanying you.   You will need to find a panel physician to do the exam not your local GP.  He/she may ask for a chest X-ray or lab work to be carried out, depending on the result of the initial medical exam.

You can get your medical examination done before you submit your visa application if you so choose, as the results are valid for 12 months.  Should your medical certificate expire before your visa is granted, you will need to have another medical.

Healthcare in Canada
Canada’s universal health system is available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.  The health system covers most basic health care services and is paid for through taxation.  Almost 11% of Canada’s GDP is spent on its healthcare system.  Even so, like all healthcare systems around the world, Canada’s system is under pressure from rising costs and staff shortages.

To access the health system, you need a health card from the province or territory in which you live, as you will need to present it whenever you want to use any of the health care services available.

Some provinces make you wait up to three months before you are covered so you’ll need to get private medical cover for this period.  Each province has its own health plan which can be accessed here.

You will be covered for emergencies in every province.  However, if you don’t live in the province, you may be charged certain fees.

Extra Health Insurance
Canadian health care offers basic medical cover, it’s therefore wise to top up with private health insurance.  These plans usually cover prescriptions, ambulances, dental work and glasses.  Many companies provide private health care for their employees.

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