All Canadian citizens and permanent residents may apply for public health insurance.

When you have it, you do not pay for most health-care services as health care is paid for through taxes. When you use public health-care services, you must show your health insurance card to the hospital or medical clinic.

Each province and territory has their own health insurance plan. Make sure you know what your plan covers.

Students in Canada are usually required to opt into some sort of health insurance plan, be it public or private.

The following provinces and territories offer health coverage to international students:
  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Saskatchewan
The eligibility requirements, as well as the types of health services offered, will vary from province to province. For instance, students may be eligible for coverage in Manitoba if they hold a study permit valid for a period of at least six months. On the other hand, students in Alberta are not eligible unless their study permit is valid for a minimum of twelve months.

Some provinces, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, begin health coverage for international students immediately upon arrival. In others, health coverage does not take effect until after a period of residency, usually 90 days.
The following provinces and territories do not currently offer health coverage to international students:
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
Students in these provinces often must purchase private health insurance. However, certain exceptions may apply that allow specific students to apply for provincial healthcare. For instance, Quebec has signed bilateral social services agreements with nine European countries.

Students from these countries may be eligible to receive public healthcare while studying in the province. Also, while Ontario does not offer health insurance to students under its public program, a program called the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) has been adopted by most universities in the province.