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Healthcare Access for Newcomers in Canada

Posted by: Gavin Au-Yeung Date: September 28, 2020 Category: Blog

"How can I access healthcare services in Canada?" This is a common question for many newcomers when they first arrive in the country. Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system is available to long-time Canadians and new immigrants alike. Continue reading to learn more about the country’s healthcare system and how newcomers can access these services. Read until the end to learn how internationally trained newcomers can access free career counselling services.

About Canada’s Healthcare System

Canada’s healthcare system aims to provide universal coverage for medically necessary health services. These services are provided based on need, and not on the ability to pay money.

Both the Federal and Provincial/Territorial Governments have a role to play in Canada’s healthcare.  Generally, the Federal Government sets and administers national principles under the Canadian Health Act. On the provincial level, the government delivers health and other social services to their residents. Learn more about your province’s unique healthcare plan by clicking here.

As a publicly funded system, Canada’s healthcare relies on funding though taxes. For example, this may include sales taxes, personal and sales taxes, and other forms of revenue. Some provinces may charge residents a health premium to help pay for these services as well. However, non-payment will not result in limited access to necessary healthcare services.

Healthcare for Canadian Newcomers

Under the Canadian Health Act, immigrants are eligible for health care coverage. Although, some provinces may have waiting periods of up to 90 days before newcomers can expect to receive health coverage. Newcomers may want to consider getting coverage during the waiting period by looking into private insurance as a "visitor to Canada."

For example, in Alberta, public healthcare coverage begins on the first day of the third month following the date you established residency in the province. We recommend you apply early as to limit the long waiting period. New immigrants to Alberta will need to apply within three months of establishing residency if they want to avoid longer waiting times. Individuals will also need to provide required documents. In Alberta, documents are required to prove your identity, Alberta residency, and legal entitlement to be in Canada. Learn more about getting health coverage in Alberta by clicking here.

Each province will have specific guidelines about eligibility for receiving public health care. Residents will most likely need to stay in their province for a specific period of time to be eligible. For example, Saskatchewan residents must be in the province for at least five months a year to receive health coverage.

Individuals who are unaware of newcomer services or who do not speak English may also benefit from dialing the local "211" numbers. This service helps by referring callers to appropriate agencies and organizations based on their needs. Learn more about Saskatchewan 211 and Alberta 211 by visiting their websites.

Are you an Internationally Trained Healthcare Professional?

Internationally trained professionals have a lot to offer the Canadian workforce. This is especially true in the healthcare sector where professionals are always in demand. As an internationally trained healthcare professional, returning to a healthcare career requires a bit of navigation. Some things to consider include: alternative healthcare career options, contacting regulatory bodies, and international credential assessment.

Related blog: Pathway to Healthcare

Returning to a healthcare profession may seem difficult at first. However, Career Loans is here to help internationally trained individuals continue their desired career in Canada.

We are here to help!

Career Loans is a free and completely-virtual program catering to internationally trained newcomers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. By registering with the program, clients will have access to our expert counsellors. The counsellor will discuss your career goals and work with you to develop a personalized action plan. Some clients may also be eligible for a micro loan of up to $15,000. Clients can use this micro loan to help pay for fees associated with training, education, exams, learning materials, and other requirements for you to continue working in Canada.

Career Loans is funded by the Government of Canada (ESDC) and coordinated by Achēv.

Learn more and register today by clicking here!

PrepCan-Online Newcomer Information Centre is coordinated and funded by:

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Career Loans provides career counselling and micro loans to Internationally Trained Individuals in regulated and non-regulated occupations and trades, who are looking to return to their chosen profession.

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PrepCan-Online Newcomer Information Centre is coordinated and funded by:

Centre for Education & Training Mississauga logo Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada logo


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