Mental Health Resources | General Health - ICAN
Some information on general health services in Canada.
healthcare canada, general health in canada, provincial healthcare, OHIP, MSP, how to find a doctor in Canada
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Mental Health Resources | General Health

General Health

Is health care free in Canada?

People legally residing in Canada who meet the minimal requirements for the health care coverage in their province or territory of residence, could have access to a range of free (fully covered) and low cost (partially covered) health care services and some prescribed drug coverage. The administration and delivery of these health care services are different for each province or territory.

When you arrive in the province or territory of you plan to live in, you should start the process of signing up to the Health Plan. As most provinces and territories have minimum requirements that need to be met before you are eligible for provincial health care (e.g.: minimum period spent residing in a province, minimum employment period etc.), and there can be different lengths of waiting periods for your health care coverage to be approved and become active – it is extremely important to have private health insurance during this time.

To note: If you are planning to move to Canada on the International Experience Canada (IEC) work permit, you need to have health insurance coverage when you are entering Canada. This health insurance must cover: medical care, hospitalization and repatriation. The health insurance must cover the entire time you want to stay in Canada on the IEC work permit. If you don’t have sufficient coverage, you may be denied entry into Canada. Also, if your health insurance policy is not valid for the entire two years of your work permit, you may be issued a work permit that expires at the same time as your insurance. Even when you become eligible to start receiving provincial health care coverage – you still need to keep your private health insurance policy active for the duration of your IEC work permit.

To learn more about this important requirement see page: International Experience Canada: How to apply



  • Health cards |  > Scroll down to the province or territory that you are living in to see what the minimum requirements are and how to apply.




Click here if you want to learn about Maintained Status and Healthcare in Canada.

If you have any questions or require additional support, please contact I/CAN’s National Social Care Advisor for free and confidential information and signposting: I/CAN | Mental Health Resources

How to find a doctor?

Many people can find it difficult to get onto a doctors list when they first move to certain areas of Canada. Try phoning and/or walking into doctors’ surgeries in your local area to see if they are accepting new patients. If they offer a nurse practitioner that is taking on new patients, you could consider this option also.


Medimap is an online system where you can enter your postcode in Canada and it will show you all the walk-in clinics in your area, their opening hours and average wait times that day. If you find a doctor in a walk-in clinic that you would like to be your family doctor, you could ask them if you could go on their patients list. If they say they are full, you could always ask what their walk-in clinic days and times are and then book in to see them during those hours in the future.

To note: If you do not have healthcare coverage yet for the province or territory that you are living in and you need to see a doctor, you should always call ahead to ask how much the visit will be as the price of attending walk-in clinics can be different in each clinic.


Listen to a podcast that I/CAN’s National Social Care Advisor, Gillian recorded with Clinical Lead Manager for a Cardiac ICU and Cardiovascular ICU, Alan. Alan has worked in healthcare for over 20 years and in this conversation they discuss how looking after your health is important for everyone, that men can be more unlikely to put off getting a general check up, what provincial health care is in Canada and different ways you can book in to get a check up when needed. I/CAN Spotify

Where to go for sexual health check ups?

Looking after your sexual health and getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STI) is very important.

Who to call for non-urgent health issues?

24/7 cross Canada you can call 811 to be connected to the health information and advice phone line in your area. You can ask to speak with a nurse to describe your health concerns and they may advise you if you need to seek medical attention or will signpost you to medical resources in your community if needed.

Donating blood in Canada

To check if you are eligible to donate blood in Canada and to book an appointment visit Canadian Blood Services_Am I eligible to donate blood? page.

In November 2023 as Canadian Blood Services shared “You are now eligible to donate if you spent a cumulative total of five years or more in France and/or Ireland (Republic of Ireland) between January 1980 and December 31, 2001.”

Who to call in an emergency?

When fire, police or medical emergencies occur call 911 to seek help and guidance. Available 24/7 across Canada.


If you want signposting to any other general health information across Canada please contact I/CAN’s Social Care Advisor for free and confidential information and signposting: I/CAN | Mental Health Resources