Can I get health insurance if I’m not a permanent resident?

Ontario has a public health insurance system called the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP). You can apply for OHIP after you've lived in Ontario for 3 months and if you have a certain immigration status. For example:

  • you're a Canadian citizen, , or a “
  • you've been found eligible to be a permanent resident or Canadian citizen
  • you have a valid work permit that is good for at least 6 months, you must be working full-time in Ontario, and you must have a letter from your employer saying you will work for them for at least 6 months
  • your or parent is a foreign worker who is eligible for OHIP
During COVID-19, the 3-month waiting period is being waived. After COVID-19 ends, the 3-month requirement will likely return.

OHIP pays for many medical services in Ontario. Some of the services covered by OHIP include:

  • going to the doctor for routine checkups or to see a specialist
  • emergency medicine
  • most of the cost of ambulance trips
  • hospital stays
  • medical or surgical abortions

OHIP can also pay for some:

  • dental surgery in hospital
  • vision care
  • foot care

To have your services covered by OHIP, you must show your Ontario Health Card. If a service is covered by OHIP, the government will pay for all or most of it. In some cases, you will have to pay a part of the cost.

If OHIP doesn't cover the cost of a medical service or procedure, then you might have to pay the full cost. In some situations, there are community groups or charities that can help to pay for your treatment.

People can also use private health insurance to help pay for medical services that OHIP doesn't cover. There are many different insurance companies in Ontario. You can find a list of them here. For more information about health insurance for newcomers, see here.

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