O Sistema de Saúde no Canadá

Healthcare System in Canada


Canada has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Many people choose to move to Canada especially for this reason, ensuring their family has access to quality health care.

The healthcare system in Canada, also known as Medicare, is publicly funded through tax collection and is primarily based on principles of Medicare, é público e se baseia nos princípios de universality and equity, which means that all Canadian residents will have free and equal access to health care services based on necessity rather than the ability to pay.

Provincial and Territorial Plans

The roles and responsibilities for the health care services are shared between provincial and territorial governments and the federal government. Each province or territory has its own health plan and is responsible for the management, organization and delivery of the services to their residents. The federal government is responsible for providing funding support and administering national standards. This way, instead of having one single national health care plan, Canada has 13 provincial and territorial plans, each one with its own criteria to apply for and supplemental coverage.

The federal government is also responsible for delivering health care services to specific groups, including First Nations , Inuit, Inuits members of the Canadian Forces, veterans, inmates in federal penitentiaries and some groups of refugees.

The provincial or territorial plans can provide supplemental coverage to some groups of people, such as seniors, children and low income residents. The plans can also include certain services, normally not covered, like vision and dental care, prescription drugs, ambulance and home care services. Most people can get these services covered by insurance plans offered by their employer, otherwise they would have to pay for the services themselves.

Another principle of the Canadian healthcare system is portability. It means that, any cost you may have with health care, outside your province or territory, or even while traveling outside Canada, must be covered by the health plan within certain limits and conditions.

If you move to another province or territory, your plan will still be valid for a certain period of time. Afterward, you will be required to apply for the healthcare plan of the new province or territory. Provinces and territories require that you live a minimum period of time before you are eligible to apply for the health care plan.

Without a coverage plan, the costs with health services could be very high, whether you are visiting or moving to Canada, it is advisable that you acquire a private health plan during your stay or for the waiting period until you are covered by the provincial or territorial plan.

Public System, Private Practices

Although the healthcare system is public, the services are delivered to patients through private practices. Hospitals and doctor’ services have to follow federal and provincial or territorial standards, but are not run by the government. They are paid by the government for the services provided, eliminating direct charges to patients. For this reason, doctors can decide where and how many hours they want to work, and also they are responsible for the costs of their employees and place of practice.

The Role of the Family Doctor

The primary care services, if not emergencies, are provided by a family doctor, that will overlook the patient’s health, and usually of those in the family, hence the name family doctor. Their role is within a basic assessment and treatment, doing regular check-ups, prescribing medications when needed and encouraging preventive health care. Any specialized care, treatments and exams, can only be accessed by a referral from the family doctor.

Although the services provided by family doctors are covered by the health plan, therefore free of charge, doctors could charge patients for missed appointments, medical notes, prescriptions by phone and for transferring of files when changing family doctors.

To find a family doctor for you and your family, you can ask someone you know, contact an immigrant organization or look it up online on the province or territory’s health plan website. Until then, if you need to see a doctor, you can use one of many walk-inwalk-inavailable. These are clinics where you don’t need to make an appointment, and you will be assessed and treated for minor illnesses and injuries.

Healthcare System in Ontario

Healthcare System in Ontario OHIPOntario Health Insurance Plan, and it is available for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, , work permit, people who have a valid work permit and are working full-time in Ontario for at least 6 months (spouse and dependents also qualify). International students do not qualify for OHIP, unless their spouse has a working permit and is working full-time for at least 6 months. Educational institutions offer special private health plans for students. Tourists and visitors are not covered by the plan.

To be eligible for OHIP, you must:

● be physically in Ontario for 153 days in a 12-month period
● be physically in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after began to live in the province
● make Ontario your primary home

OHIP covers visits to family doctors or to walk-in clinics walk-in, hospital visits and stays, medical tests and most surgeries, ambulance services and some dental surgery done in hospitals. The plan also covers eye exams for persons 19 and younger and 65 and older, or in case of specific medical conditions. Recently, OHIP started offering funds to help cover the costs of fertility treatment to eligible residents.

OHIP Plus” is a plan that covers the costs of some prescription drugs for people 24 years old and under, enrolled in the OHIP and that are not covered by a private plan. It also helps to cover the cost of most drugs for people age 65 and older or that lives in a long-term care home.

How to apply for OHIP

You will need to go in person to a Service Ontariocentre, complete a registration form and provide 3 different and original identification documents that:

● prove your status in Canada (Canadian passport or Permanent Resident card)
● confirm your residency in Ontario (driver’s license or utility bill)
● support your identity (credit card or passport)

Healthcare System in British Columbia

The name of the healthcare plan in British Columbia is Medical Services Plan (MSP) and is available for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Some individuals with a study or work permit, valid for 6 months or more, may qualify for MSP. Tourists and visitors are not covered.

To be eligible for MSP, you must:

● be physically present in the province for at least 6 months in a calendar year
● make British Columbia your home

MSP covers medically necessary services provided by physicians and midwives, dental and oral surgery performed in a hospital, some orthodontic services, eye examinations for children up to 18 years old and for seniors older than 65 or if medically required, and diagnostic services including x-rays.

British Columbia offers the Pharmacareplan, that covers eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies through several drug plans for people enrolled in the MSP.

How to apply for MSP

Application can be done onlineand you will need to upload imagens of documents that support your name, date of birth and Canadian citizenship or immigration status ou estado legal de imigração (Canadian passport, permanent resident card, work or study permit are acceptable).

Healthcare System in Manitoba

The healthcare plan in Manitoba is the Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Livingor simply Manitoba Health and is available for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, , work permit, holders and their family (with a work permit of at least 12 months). Since 2018, individuals with a study permit are no longer eligible for the plan. Tourists, visitors and domestic students do not qualify for the coverage.

To be eligible for Manitoba Health, you must:

● be physically present in the province for at least 6 months in a calendar year
● have permanent residence in Manitoba

Manitoba Health covers doctors' services, hospital stays, x-ray and laboratory services. It also covers eye exams every 2 years for patients under the age of 19 and 65 years of age and over.

Other services covered are: chiropractors, with a maximum of 7 visits in a calendar year and placement in personal care homes for eligible residents.

The Pharmacare plan in Manitoba helps patients with the costs of prescription drugs depending on their total family income.

How to apply for Manitoba Health

Applications are done in person at a Registration and Client Services Office. You will have to provide a completed registration form and a proof of Canadian citizenship or immigration status ou estado legal de imigração.

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, the provinces and territories made some temporary changes for in-person application and waiting periods for the cover to start. For updated information, please visit the website of each province or territory.

By Janayna Sercheli




With highly qualified professionals and personalized service, our mission is to help our clients achieve their goal of studying, visiting, working or immigrating to Canada! With highly qualified professionals and personalized service, our mission is to help our clients achieve their goal of studying, visiting, working or immigrating to Canada!

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