Canada’s fascination with free health care is renowned worldwide. However, these services are primarily accessible to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Therefore, all international students in Canada must arrange for health insurance throughout their study program. This article provides a comprehensive overview of student health insurance in Canada across various provinces.

Canadian Health Care

Canada’s health care system ensures that all Canadian citizens and permanent residents have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital services without out-of-pocket expenses. The health care programs, mandated at the federal level, are operated by individual provinces and territories. Hence, the precise details of coverage vary depending on where a person resides.

Temporary residents in Canada are expected to pay for medical services unless they have private health insurance. Many immigration programs necessitate temporary residents to buy one for the duration of their stay in Canada. In the event of a severe medical emergency, all provinces and territories will provide free services, even if a patient does not possess a government health card.

Health Care Services for Students by Province

The health care system in Canada differs from province to province. International students should familiarize themselves with the health care offered by their province of study. Some provinces offer health insurance for international students under provincial health plans; others do not. Each province varies in the medical expenses and pre-existing medical conditions covered. Most provinces require students to register for private health insurance plans.

Many provinces requiring international students to secure health insurance offer health insurance packages through educational institutions. Some schools mandate students to register for their health insurance packages, while others allow students to opt out of the packages offered by the school if they prove they obtained private health insurance from another source.

All educational institutions will be familiar with the requirements for international students and if they are covered under the provincial health coverage offered.

Out-of-Province Medical Insurance

Provincial health care coverage, whether provided through a free government program or purchased through a private plan, typically only covers health care-related expenses within that specific province. International students wishing to travel outside of their province of study should consult their health insurance provider to determine coverage during their travels. If an international student’s health insurance does not extend to periods of travel, they may purchase private health insurance to cover medical expenses incurred during travel.

Healthcare Options

Several tools and resources are available for international students wishing to explore private insurance options offered within Canada:

  1. Find Insurance: This tool, operated by the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance, includes 99% of insurance programs offered by Canadian life and health insurance companies.
  2. OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI): Canada’s independent information service for consumers of Canadian life and health insurance. This organization also acts as an independent complaint resolution service for insurance consumers.

Ready to Start?

Let us help you become an international student in Canada! Complete our free student assessment, and an academic counselor from our International Student Program department will contact you to discuss your options.

Related Links

  • International Students in Canada
  • Get your study permits
  • Study Pathways to Permanent Residence

Canadian Immigration Options

Consider the following Canadian Immigration Options:

  • I want to immigrate
  • I want to study
  • I want a work permit
  • I want to invest
  • I want to sponsor


Sign up to our Newsletter to stay up-to-date on the newest programs & developments in the Canadian Immigration world.


Feel free to contact us for any inquiries. Our contact details are:

1455 Saint Mathieu Street Suite #100 Montréal (QC) H3H 2M4

Email: Phone: +1 514-989-9700 Fax: +1 514-989-9290

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *