Each Canadian province/territory has its own health insurance system. In Quebec, the provincial health insurance is called RAMQ: Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec. In Ontario, it is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
The Canadian health system works in a similar way to the European health systems. That is, health insurance generally covers “primary” healthcare, such as visits to the doctor. On the other hand, some treatments are not covered. Optical and dental treatments or certain costly medication are examples. Canadians usually subscribe to a private health insurance to cover these treatments.
An “employer-specific” permit allows you to work for one, unique employer whose name will be written on your work permit.
This type of permit generally makes you eligible for provincial health insurance cover. However, and in most cases, a waiting period of up to 3 months applies. During this time, you are not covered by the health insurance and you are strongly advised to take out a private medical insurance for the corresponding period.
We also recommend you apply for cover upon arrival in Canada so it takes effect as soon as possible.
On top of this insurance cover, some IEC, International Experience Canada, program permits (such as a “Working Holiday visa”, the Young Professional permit or the International Co-op - internship) may require you to take out private insurance cover for hospitalization and repatriation costs.
Upon arrival in Canada, you can apply for health insurance in the province where you will be living. For more information, please visit the Ministry website.
- Quebec: to visit the RAMQ site, click here
- Ontario: to visit the Ontario Health Insurance Plan site, click here.
Foreign workers must obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN) as soon as they have been issued with their work permit (that is, as soon as they arrive in Canada) to be able to start a job.
The SIN is a unique, personal 9-figure number, valid for the duration of your work permit. To apply in person, you must gather all the necessary documents and submit them at the nearest Service Canada centre. If everything is in order, you will obtain your SIN at that time. To find your nearest Service Canada centre, click here.
Foreign workers are usually eligible for their employer’s group insurance plan in Canada.
However, the employer should first check with the insurance plan manager, certain insurance companies require the worker to be covered by the provincial health insurance, or certain clauses exclude workers who are not permanent residents or Canadian citizens.
Before starting your new job, ask your employer for help in making sure you are correctly insured.
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This section aims to give you general information on immigration to Canada, to simplify terms and cannot be used as legal advice. Contact our team of professionals to receive full legal advice.