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HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Health Insurance in Canada
Discover how the system works in Canada
Canada's national healthcare system is made up of thirteen provincial and territorial health plans. They are funded by both the federal government and the provinces and territories (except for British Colombia and Ontario which are funded slightly differently) and provide all citizens with free access to primary care (visits with a GP, emergency care and basic hospital care). Dental and optical care are not covered unless they're provided at a hospital. Each province has it's own system so eligibility and pricing can vary. If you move to another province, you have to register with its health system - a process that can take up to 3 months.

To find out more about healthcare in Canada, please go to: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

The local healthcare system in Quebec.
The public health scheme in Quebec is funded by income tax and is managed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services. It provides all citizens with free access to basic medical and hospital care via a health insurance card that's known as the “carte soleil” (sun card). This card is issued by the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ) within three months after application. During this period, applicants have to pay their own expenses. However, agreements with Denmark, Finland, France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and Sweden enable reimbursement of medical services provided during this waiting period. You will just have to present your RAMQ a certificate proving enrollment with the healthcare system in any of these countries.

Some treatments, like dental and orthopedic care are not covered by the healthcare system, so we recommend you take out international private health insurance too.

To find out more about the healthcare system in Quebec, please go to: www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca
Visiting a doctor in Canada
GPs
Canadian GPs or family doctors provide routine and primary care (cold, flu, etc.) to patients from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm or 6pm and on Saturday mornings. They speak English and in Quebec, New Brunswick and North Ontario, they speak French too. Fees vary from one province to another and depend on the treatment provided. Consultation fees range from 50 CAD to 85 CAD on average. If you don't have health insurance you have to pay before the consultation.

Doctors are in short supply and it can be difficult to get an appointment. If you can't find a GP, you can go to a medical clinic ('walk-in' clinic) without a prior appointment.

Specialist Doctors
If you need specific treatment, your GP will refer you to a specialist doctor. As there are only a few specialist doctors, waiting times to get an appointment are long so certain treatments (gynecological examinations for example) may be provided by your GP. Some specialist doctors like ophthalmologists do not require a referral.

GPs in Quebec
There are different categories of doctors in Quebec:
- GPs who accept the health insurance card: you don't have to make cash advances and the doctor will be paid directly by the RAMQ.
- "Opted Out" doctors: you pay the consultation up front and send the bill to the RAMQ to get reimbursed.
- "Non-participating doctors who do not accept the health insurance card: you support all expenses and the consultation is not reimbursed by the RAMQ.

Always check your doctor's status before booking a visit.

Doctors in Quebec receive patients from 8am to 4pm or 6pm Monday to Friday and on Saturday mornings. They speak French and often English too.

There are not enough doctors in Quebec and waiting times to get an appointment can be very long, like in the other provinces of Canada.

Specialist Doctors in Quebec
If you need specific treatment, your GP will refer you to a specialist doctor. Once again, specialists are in short supply and waiting times can be long. Only book an appointment if the case is serious. For example, for an eye test and prescription glasses, you can go to an optician. However, for cataracts, you should book an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Being admitted to hospital in Canada
Canadian hospitals
Hospitals use advanced technologies and provide high-quality medical devices and staff. Basic care may be provided at public hospitals but waiting times are often long. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you will need to pay before your consultation as is the case for GPs. Consultation fees at private hospitals range from 150 CAD to 400 CAD on average.

Emergency services
Emergency services are open 24 hours a day in most hospitals but waiting times are also long. If you do not have health insurance coverage and need to receive emergency care, the hospital will ask you to pay a 1,000 CAD deposit.

Walk-in clinics in Canada
These are “consultation centers” that generally operate during working hours and provide routine or emergency care without a prior appointment. As they are much appreciated, waiting times may be long. Consultation fees are not higher than those of GPs.

In case of emergency, call 911.

Hospitals in Quebec
Basic care may be provided in public hospitals but waiting times are often long. Emergency services Emergency services are open 24 hours a day in most hospitals but waiting times are also long. The most serious cases will be taken care of in priority.

The walk-in clinics
In Quebec there are walk-in clinics that generally operate during working hours, as is the case in the other Canadian provinces. If you have trouble finding a GP, these clinics provide basic care and consultations without a prior appointment. As they are much appreciated, waiting times may be long. However, consultation fees are not higher than those of GPs.

In case of emergency, call 911
Buying medication in Canada
Any medication prescribed and delivered in a Canadian hospital is covered and subsidized by the government. Outside the hospital setting, coverage for medication varies depending on the province. Over-the-counter drugs can be found in supermarkets but prescription drugs have to be purchased in specific shops.
In Canada, medication is delivered on a personalized basis: you will receive the exact number of pills or capsules required according to the length of your treatment. 

Buying medication in Quebec

You can buy over-the-counter drugs in supermarkets but prescription drugs have to be purchased in specific shops.

Like in the rest of Canada, medication is personalized: you will receive the exact number of drugs required to cover the length of your treatment. 
Get your health insurance for Canada
MSH can help you design the best international health insurance plan to suit your needs.

Going for less than a year?
We have the right health insurance plan to cover you for 1 to 12 months, whether it's for a personal project, an apprenticeship, a working holiday or any other reason.

Going for a year or more?
Explore our comprehensive and highly flexible health insurance solutions to protect you and your family while you're abroad.
QUICK FACTS
OFFICIAL NAME
Canada
MAIN CITIES
Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary, Edmonton
CAPITAL
Ottawa
GOVERNMENT
Federal parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
COMMON LANGUAGES
67.1%
English
21.5% French
2.6% Chinese
FIND OUT MORE
Canada on Wikipedia
Client Stories
Client story: I woke up to MSH

Rachel lives in Togo and has been with MSH since 2002. After routine surgery, she fell into a coma that lasted 2 months. Her hospitalization cost more than 200,000 euros - but it was all covered by MSH, without her having to get involved. Thanks to the reactivity of the team and their smooth handling of the situation, Rachel's family were able to avoid any extra stress - as was Rachel when she woke up.  
Client story: they were there for my baby

Laure and Robert moved to Singapore in 2014 for work - but they ended up starting a family there too! She told MSH that she was pregnant and was amazed by all the support she got. First she received a practical guide on pregnancy (what to do at each stage, medical exams etc.) and then a member of the team called her to explain all her guarantees personally and advise her on the best place to give birth. The day her daughter was born, a gift pack arrived with a growth chart and a baby toy, with all good wishes from MSH. And now there's another one on the way...
Client story: my second opinion

Petra was very worried about the surgery she'd been prescribed following an accident at home. Before making her decision, she wanted a second opinion. Thanks to her private health insurance, which included the Second Medical Opinion guarantee, she quickly saw another doctor and got all the answers to her questions. The second doctor agreed that surgery was necessary and Petra went to hospital feeling reassured and confident.
DISCOVER THEIR STORIES
WHV Canada
Essential Information
Length: 12 months (non-renewable) 
Cost: 126 CA$ + 100  CA$ 
Leadtime: about eight weeks
Application Requirements
Application Requirements are quite similar for all nationalities, however some have to supply more documents.

To apply for a visa in Canada, you have to:                                                         
-  Be aged 18 -35 inclusive
-  Have a valid passport 
-  Have proof of adequate savings
-  Have international health insurance to cover the length of your stay 
-  Have never had a working holiday visa for Canada before (1st participation)
How to get your Visa
Please note that the number of places assigned for a WHP in Canada is limited. You need to be ready and properly organized when the application process starts and go to https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/come-canada-tool.html.

Then, you just need to follow the procedure detailed on the website.
Stay Covered
The best health insurance solution for your working holiday abroad is Start'Expat - our ready-to go package for international coverage from 1 to 12 months.
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