Gaps in health care coverage when moving between provinces

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  • Simranjeet Matharoo says:

    I live in Ontario, moving to Alberta, in next few months, due to my eosinophil asthma, i am on a biological, which Ontario health subsidizes heavily according to our household income, its a very costly medicine around 4500$ every two months. My allergist specialist has recommended for the same. I cannot miss the dosage, how can i complete the transition to Alberta without ant hindrance to the availability of the care i am getting in Ontario.

  • Cyndy L Abraham says:

    I plan on moving to Nova Scotia from Ontario, I am on LTD and can’t have gaps in my care. Can I continue to communicate with my doctor in Ontario until I actually can get a doctor in NS.
    Will my Ontario health card be canceled once I have one in NS?

  • Mary Russell says:

    My 88 yr old mother from pei has been staying with us in Brampton since last year. I am trying to find out if she can get the covid vaccine here. She still has a residence in PEI. But I don’t want her flying back

  • Bernice tarrant says:

    My father in law who is 92 just moved from ontario to Nova Scotia to be cared
    For by his son. He has had to pay for his pills….He only took one month blister pack with him. How does he get reimbursed for this? He should be covered for three months right??

  • Melinda says:

    Did you get answer Darlene? How are things for you and your daughter now?

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  • Aimee Cho says:

    Very interesting. Thank you!

  • Ivon says:

    I am currently up for a job in Montreal, but scheduled for a hip replacement in Ontario in about a year (delayed due to covid). The surgeon uses a special system here that isn’t available in Quebec. Because I am scheduled, can I come back here for the surgery if I move or do I have to find a new doctor in Quebec? Anybody have a clue?

  • Les Robson says:

    Moving to new Brunswick from ont what are the odp in new Brunswick is it same as ont.

  • Joanne Plessl says:

    Hello Paul;
    My question is how does the provincial health coverage work when, for example, a late teenager moves say from BC to AB to attend at a college or university? She now has an AB address for approximately 6 months. Does she have to apply for AB health care or will her BC coverage work for her the Whole time while in attendance at the AB school?
    Please explain, thank-you Joanne.

  • carol bowman says:

    i need help to move my sister from nova scotia to b c she has terminal cancer how can i get her here and get her on her treatments

  • Kevin says:

    If the opportunity comes I want to move to New Brunswick permanently. I am almost 50years old. ontario health care is very Basic. sometimes I cant get looked after in Ontario and i have been here all my life. If i apply for the New Brunswick Health card will it be almost the same as Ontarios? or better?

  • Barbara Joyner says:

    transferring cancer coverage from Ontario to PEI – My husband and I want to move to PEI but I am a cancer survival patient with Multiple Myeloma receiving Velcade every two weeks from a hospital in St. Catharines. My question, would my Valcade be covered in PEI because I receive this drug on a compassionate use basis from OHIP? Are there haematologist specialist in PEI who could consult my Dr’s here in Ontario during my transfer of care? What City in PEI has the Regional Cancer office in PEI?

  • Reg Selby says:


  • John williams says:

    I’m a low income Senior who was living in Ontario up till March 1 2020 when I moved back to Alberta. I took a prescription or two to the pharmacy but Ohio refused to pay. I thought 3 months between March 1 and June 1 was covered by them. What gives?

  • sherry king says:

    I lived in B.C since I was about 20 yrs. old & moved to U.S when I was 58 yrs old. Now after 7 yrs, am planning to return to B.C. Am wondering if I have to re-apply & wait the 3 months to have health coverage?

  • Nola Bachiu says:

    If you live in Ontario and have since birth 60 years ago and you buy a condo in PEI or Nova Scotia where you plan to live June to October what happens to your healthcare? Basically I’d like to own property in two provinces and split my time between the two, but I would like to clarify the health care coverage issue first. Thank you, Nola Bachiu

  • Shona says:

    We have a permanent residence in Nova Scotia but we work in BC for part of the year . . . in a perfect world it would be six months per year in each province but of course with the seasons and work it sometimes varies slightly. Are we supposed to carry provincial coverage in both provinces or do we have to switch back and forth each time we are in the opposite province for longer than three months?

  • Suzanne Thomson says:

    Has anyone heard of Dan’s Law?. I am a thanatology student Looking for documentation on others who might have been in the same situation as Dan Duma.

  • ELIZABETH says:

    Ì have to agree that no matter which province I choose to relocate to I as a Canadian Citizen should have coverage. However, perhaps there should be some kind of legal agreement in their application to receive Medical Coverage for the new Province. Simple…a Canadian is a Canadian no matter what Povince they lived in and it should be their right to have coverage Canadian wide….PERIOD. Just saying.

  • Irene Carlson says:

    I am existing ”almost” in BC unable to obtain health care in BC Canada. No clinic or any medical service or family doctor support. No family doctor will accept my file for my rare and difficult condition to treat due to the lack of time clinics and Drs. have for patients shouting the lack of funding to treat chronic medical conditions such as mine… I’ve no help to save my life or to end it. Have been profiled as a ”mental patient” despite all records tests and diagnosis, a practice used wildly in BC when treatments prove costly and time-consuming. Aged and isolated patients without family or advocates, a voice for us, we are left to die suffering without as much as local community supports or medications …Several medical letters supporting this liable situation with full medical records and disturbing photos are available. Fighting for my life daily, isolated and fearing the very system and services I require to survive. A well-enlightened specialty doctor and several supporting letters from past retired doctors available and on record for these criminal medical actions against me.

  • Roy fizzard says:

    I currently live in Nova Scotia and plan to live in Newfoundland from November to the end of May, can I take my pharmacare plan with me or have my drugs renewals transferred to a pharmacy in Newfoundland.

    • Same says:

      You don’t bring your plan with you but you can bring your renewables with you. Once you run out of what the doctor prescribed you’ll have to have a new prescription from a NL doctor.

  • Jasbir Singh chohan says:

    If I visit outside Canada for 11 months and come back what will be the fate of my health card

  • Muriel Gayle MacDonald says:

    I am in health limbo. I moved back to Ontario after being away for 17 years. In total, previous to moving to New Brunswick, I lived and worked in Ontario for a total of 28 years. At that time I had an OHIP Card and number. I retired in 2015 and then went to work on a contract which ended in June of 2018. On July 1, I took up residency in Hamilton, Ontario to be near my children and grandchildren. I also accepted a half-time position as an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada. I have some additional health coverage from the UCC insurance for pensioners.
    So here is my problem, Ontario won’t issue an OHIP card until my 3 months is up. NB Medicae is supposed to cover my costs. I need to get a handicap tag for my car (the New Brunswick one is good to 2010, however, by Ontario provincial laws, I need to get a new letter from an Ontario doctor so I can have one for Ontario). No, problem I was told at Service Ontario (after paying $510 for a new motor vehicle inspection – though my NB one was done this Jan. – and new plates and a new driver’s license). I called a walk-in clinic and will have to pay $50.00 for a visit. I didn’t take the appointment, because I began to add it up: a visit to get a form for an new accessible parking card: a visit or two to get referrals to specialists I was to see in NB (but the wait list was too long) for a mandatory colonoscopy because of family history and an orthopedic specialist because my knees are in bad shape. I am considering paying the $50 each time, and then hoping that I don’t have to fight with New Brunswick to get the fees returned; but there is a principle here. Just because I can afford the fee at this time, should I have to pay it. What about patients who can’t? And why is health care for Canadian citizens reduced to can they pay a $50 fee? It is disgusting to say the least.

  • Lesley-Anne Evans says:

    How does coverage work for out-of-home-province, temporary resident, university students, please? My daughter is currently in Ontario from B.C.. She will be in Ontario until graduation and becoming employed and therefore any decisions regarding permanent residence will not take place until that time. Is her coverage still under BCMSP?

  • Pamela Wright says:

    I am going from Ontario Canada to Victoria British Columbia for 5 days to visit our son . Do I need to take out extra coverage or will ohip cover me

  • Lynn Chamberlain says:

    My son lives in Alberta but his son lives in B.C. can Kaiden (my grandson) be put on my sons Alberta medical card if Kaiden will still reside in B.C.?

  • Sandra Streber says:

    I have been told that Quebec MSP is not accepted in British Columbia. If my brother moves to British Columbia to live is this true.?

  • Dale F. MacCoubrey says:

    I would like to move from a Halifax, N.S. nursing home (where I have no family and no friends) to a Saint John, N.B. nursing home where I have both family and many friends.
    I think that living closer to to home N.B. would greatly enhance my happiness and therefore my health.
    How do I begin this process and is avaliable for me to at all?
    Could you please let me know at your ealiest convenience.
    Thank you for attention to this enquiry.
    Ms. Dale F. MacCoubrey

  • Dale Frances MacCoubrey says:

    If I move from N.S. to N.B., am I eligible for GAP?

  • gavin dewar says:

    How is New Brunswick health care compared to Ontario? I am thinking of moving to New Brunswick! I am 69. Moncton area.

  • Anisa says:

    My father is ,90 and is coming to visit me in Toronto as my mum passed away.
    He need help in giving bath and personal care
    What should I do

  • Terry Cecil Ellsworth says:

    I, my name is Terry, decided to move back to NL after living in Ottawa for 30 years.I have been on Trillium drug benefit program for 8 year.My medication is around 1800 a month.Been in NL for almost a month and half.I was wondering how long do i have with my OHIP and drug program before it runs out and i am getting low on my meds.I am a little stress.Please give feed back.


    • Sarah Ferguson says:

      There is a TERRIBLE lack of coordination of care when doing moves from province to province. You may have temporary coverage for emergency health care if you need to go to a hospital while you are in that 3 month waiting period, waiting for your new province to cover you. But for prescription drugs…. there is little to no help available, other than getting a private health plan to tide you over till you qualify for the new province’s drug programs (if they have one).

      Moving to another province is not a simple thing for anyone with health issues!!!

  • Shawn Stewart says:

    My mother in-law recently passed away, and the father in-law was already on a wait list for a home here in Alberta. My wife and I are from BC and are the beneficiaries of the 4 children they have. We are taking the children with us and want to move the father as well. We are hoping that BC will continue to assist in covering his costs in a home. Any suggestions or advice?

  • Maria says:

    I have

  • Maria says:

    I have my mom in a nursing home in Ontario. She is paralyzed on onside of her body . I live in Montreal the traveling back and forth is expensive. I would like to transfer her to Quebec and take care of her at home. What r the requirements in having all she needs from the the healt care system..?

  • Cathy Lebel says:

    My sister lives in Quebec and just found out she has stage 4 cancer, she has no support system in Quebec and would like to return to Ontario. She is in and out of the hospital for pain management how do we get her here without waiting the 3 months. She wants to be around family when she passes and we can better support her, it’s a 6 hour drive to visit and 6 hours back after a couple trips their has to be a better system in place.

  • Barb gibney says:

    My brother lives in Ontario in a nursing home and us on ODSP. Our only sister that lives there is moving to BC. Can we have him transferred there? And where would I start

  • Barb gibney says:

    I ha e a brother on Ontario disability and living in a nursing home. His sister that lives there now is moving to BC. He will have no family in Ontario after that. Can his disability and care home be transferred to BC when there is availability. He can not manage on his own and will need to be guaranteed disability in BC. Is this possible?

  • Vurla Birnie-Lefcovitch says:

    My parents live in Montreal and are 90 years old. They recently have health crises. My mother has just been admitted to hospital>. My father has just been discharged from hospital> their care status has changed and they are not able to live independently, requiring nursing home care, My sister lives in Ontario. I live in NL. What is the process for making application & moving my parents to an Ontario nursing home in Hamilton.

  • Gail Santoro says:

    Just so you know, in BC you pay a premium for health care unless you are in the lowest tax bracket. So if you don’t pay, you aren’t covered. If you move from BC without coverage to Saskatchewan, you will wait 3 months for medical insurance. This is fact. Living proof. I needed to see a physician in Saskatchewan and paid for the privilege. Government of Saskatchewan advised they would cover this cost, but to date, they have not reimbursed the charge. Like I said, just so you know.

  • Hugo Avila Hernandez says:

    WHAT..? I am a senior resident of BC receiving a pension for living at this time..receiving …But i am not entitled to any free prescripcion drugs , even when iam living with my wife under a pension payment for both of $ 1400.00 and something …I wonder where we can get that generous payment of our prescrived drugs for blood presure and Diabetic 2

  • Karen P says:

    The website to apply for a Saskatchewan Health Card is
    You will also find contact information there.

  • Vicky says:

    I have just moved over the bridge from Ottawa to Gatineau (ontario-Quebec) and have about 11 more weeks to switch my licence and health insurance. I am having a surgery soon (awaiting the surgery date) but the doctor said I need to be covered under ohip in order to continue with the surgery in Ontario. It has been a year in preparation for this surgery and if I do it in Quebec I will have to go through the whole program again. Is there anything I can do? Will my ohip continue to be valid even after I have Quebec health insurance?

  • Shirley Biron says:

    My husband has Parkinson’s, we are living in Mexico at the moment, would like to be back in Canada with family in New Brunswick as Canada has more progressive treatments available for Parkinson’s. My question is where are the best treatment centres for Parkinson patients. He is bed bound with a stomach tube and catheter and would have to return in an air ambulance. Don’t know what kind of facilities would be able to look after him in this condition or where they are located. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • Gordon Barrett says:

    Gordon Barrett: Why are our medication not covered when we moved from Quebec to Ontario ? Please answer as we are a senior couple with limited cash resources and we received a letter from RAMQ saying that Quebec would not pay for our needed medication. My wife phoned RAMQ and was told that the provinces had made a “deal” which no one included the pharmacy where we went heard about, in fact we had to show them the letter from RAMQ before they believed us. If in fact such a deal was made and assuming that it is legal why was it not made public so people could at least prepare and save for the cost of staying alive in Canada. All they had to do is cover us for three months until OHIP covers us,

  • Lois Mills says:

    My husband and I plan to move to BC in a few months to be with family already living there. We both have OHIP and are covered as well through my former employment for health care and medications. My husband has several health issues and takes many medications daily. I also take several daily. Sun Life is the carrier for our coverage and I would like to know if
    there is a Sun Life in BC?
    Thank-you in advance for your response.

  • James Taylor says:

    I am in my 80’s and am moving from BC to AB to live close to my family. At present I have too take a number of prescription drugs for a number of different reasons and pay I believe 30% of the total cost with a couple of the very expensive ones free because of some kind of form which the cardiologist sent to BC medical.My wife and I basically live on our government pensions and OAS. I believe that the amount of income in AB to allow for certain extras is higher than BC and our total income although above the cut off amount in BC is below the amount in AB. I am a handicapped person.

  • Cathy says:

    We are moving to B.C from Nov to May .will I have coverage or do I have to buy travel insurance to cover myself and my husband for that time we are out there ?

  • Jessica Heitt says:

    I am going through a different problem but I am not finding an answer anywhere so I am hitting message boards now. I live in SK, my children currently reside in AB. While there is a temporary guardianship agreement in place, and currently the children are being claimed by the guardians as dependants, I have learned that medical views them as my dependants. My question is this: Which province offers better coverage when it comes to minors? Do I switch them to Sask Health even though they live in AB, or should the temp guardians claim them as dependants through health care and keep the AB health?

  • tina nikoukar says:

    this is tina nikoukar and I like to know who I should contact to remove the charges from both of my health cards from alberta and ontario as I had both coverages but they sent me to collection agency. I like to know who should I contact to remove and sending the prove that I was covered but they charged me. If anybody knows what I should do, please contact me at my email. Thank you

  • Amanda says:

    Wondering the opposite of this. How long am i able to stay on sask health after moving to manitoba? I had been told by local health nurse I would be alright until cards expiry date.

  • Sandra Smith says:

    I am moving to Saskatchewan from Ontario. Can I apply for a health card right away?

  • Cindy says:

    Moved my elderly parents from BC to Alberta, dad had to go in a facility right away costing 7500.00 a month mom with me but needs to go into assisted place I work full time I’m the only child please help so expensive….

  • Valerie Pusey says:

    I am a senior thinking of moving from BC to Alberta. Overall, would I be better in Alberta or BC re drug coverage, wait times if ever necessary, care facilities if I ever need such, etc.? Should I stay in BC or make the move?!

  • Nousa says:

    Please help. I am a single senior small pension, I need to move from Alberta to Toronto to be close to family.
    Give me information please.
    When is a good time to move?
    How much senior living coast?
    How much of med does O.N government help with?
    Thank you

  • Penny says:

    My brother has prostate cancer and is a resident of PEI. He has no family in PEI and wants to be near his daughter in Alberta. During the 3 month transition will PEI cover him for medication and possible Dr. and a hospital stay if he gets sick?

  • sdigras says:

    i have a friend with MS who is a permanent resident. He livesin Ontario and all his MS drugs are covered. He would like to move to Vancouver. What can he expect the Provincial Pharma plan to do pay? What are the big differences healthcare costs between the two provinces.

  • Marni says:

    I will be visiting Quebec from Ontario when my vaby will be due for his 2 month vaccination. Will I be able to take him to get this in Quebec with his Ontario healthcard?

  • darlene says:

    I can’t seem to get a straight answer from any one province, maybe you can help me. I’ll try to make this short.

    I am a retired mother of 3, caring full time for a disabled 40 yr old daughter diagnosed 12+ yrs ago with Neuro-Behcet’s Syndrome. She is collecting disability benefits for 4+ yrs in BC.
    What I need to know is: because she’s on monthly medications would BC medical still cover her prescriptions until she’s accepted in Alberta? [That is our goal, to relocate to Alta. for a family support system, which we do not have here.] Also, this being my main question: how would we go about relocating to Alta. without interruptions to disability benefits? Thank you for any help you can provide.

  • Audrey M. Urjasz says:

    While living in bc I was on medical disability covering my medication, dental work. I have now moved to Sask. I finally have found a DR here. How do I get my medical coverage in Sask???

  • Chelsea_mew says:

    I’m pregnant and said to deliver in march/26/2017 i plan from moving to BC from ON in January/?/2017
    I plan on delivering the baby in BC will there be any problems with that since i will have a Ontario health BC
    Will have to pay a “baby delivery fee” since i am in BC and not in ON?
    I am a Canadian. Born and raised in ON but….i want to live in BC with me and my baby..
    I just want a heads up if there will be a fee for giving birth in a province not my own..

  • Kaye Pont says:

    Living in BC and when you call Fraser Health and inquire about what steps need to take when moving a person from Ontario government assistance home to an other province ( From Ontario To BC ) their costumer service claims you need to wait 3 months before you can get any heath assistance . Why are government employees not educated they have no clue how the 3 month period works. Extremely frustrating

  • Bev says:

    I’m living in bc and I’m collecting pwd2 plus federal survivors benefits in cpp .if I move to Quebec what is the amount of money I would receive from both in total

  • Micheline Mercier says:

    I have a friend that lives in BC and is on disability there but would like to move to Ontario would be possible for him

  • Michelle Arcand says:

    My mother is moving from Quebec to British Columbia. How long does she have to wait for her medical to kick in. Is Quebec the same as the other provinces and is 3 months?

  • Margareth says:

    What happens if I have a surgery booked but move to another province?

  • Shannon Loomer says:

    I am moving my elderly mother from Nova Scotia to be closer to us (in a nearby nursing home) in Ontario.
    She needs to be set up to see specialists for Parkinsons and other illnesses. We can’t rely only on emergency care.

    What is the process to ensure she gets a GP and the specialists required during the 3 month wait for her OHIP card?
    IS there a gap in coverage for those appointments? Can she even get set up with a GP etc before her OHIP is ready?

    Thanks for any info you can provide.

  • Suzanna says:


    My husband is planning to move to Manitoba next spring to expand his farming interests. He has no pre-existing health conditions. My two sons are also going to join him in Manitoba. My eldest boy is 25 years old and has Type 1 Diabetes (insulin dependent). I have been seriously ill for the past five years and I’m on a downward trajectory of a multitude of auto-immune conditions; 37 to be exact with Type One Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteo- Arthritis, Inflammatory Arthritis, Celiac Disease, Diffuse Systemic Sclerosis-Scleroderma, Obstructive Lung Disease, Pulmonary Hypertension, Vascular Hypertension and on and on and on. I receive my medications through the Trillium Drug Benefit Program as the cost of my yearly meds is close to $70,000.00 per year. I receive IvIg (intravenous gamma immuno-globin as a last resort treatment in hospital every three weeks with a 60g dose, with roughly each treatment costing OHIP about $10,000.00 per dosage). To say that I am medically compromised would be a complete understatement and add to the fact that I am medically fragile at the same time means to me that I would be a huge expense to another Province. My specialists here in Ontario are telling me that I will not be accepted into the Manitoba Health program because I am huge liability to any other province that would take me on as I am chronically ill and I am looking at a very shortened life span. I am 51 years old and I am a medical nightmare. My husband seems to think that I would automatically be accepted into the Province of Manitoba’s health program because in Canada we have universal health care coverage no matter where we live. I had always thought that if a person is really chronically ill with a complicated and expensive health care liability that I could be refused by any new province that my husband may want me to move to at some point in time. For now, he is moving to start to get things set up and I am staying put for the foreseeable future right here in Ontario where I know that I am covered. Are there any truths to what I have said here as I really need to know exactly where I stand before I ever make a move that may jeopardize my health and well being. Many thanks for your help.

  • Marizel says:

    I would like to know if a new immigrant of Saskatchewan ( just arrived in Saskatchewan last August 16,2016) can still avail health benefit if the mother and son moves to Edmonton, Alberta without the father accompanying them. Please I want to know the answer

  • Navneet gill says:

    I am planning to move to British Columbia from Ontario. I m 5 months pregnant I looked at the website for the health branch of the B.C government and discovered I will have to wait about three months before I am eligible to receive health coverage. Why is that? I am a Canadian citizen. Shouldn’t I be entitled to immediate medical benefits in my new home province?

  • robert chamberland says:

    I am going to Victoria bc. for a month will my Ontario health card cover me completely for any medical case

  • Sam says:

    Recently, I moved from one province to another. As a result, I applied and have been accepted into my new province’s healthcare plan. That said, who is responsible to possibly cancel my healthcare plan in my former province? On a side note, both of these provinces do not charge a monthly premium for healthcare, as some province(s) do.

  • Retta Mann says:

    Very good information, clear to the point. yes, ambulance is costly in Manitoba……more than the cost of the insurance.

  • Oleg says:

    Hi, I am living in Saskatchewan .I have injured in my work plays WCB pay me every month.Now I want to move to Ontario forever to be stay .Please how I can apply for WCB to get my average payment from the WCB or it’s dose not working.Maybe you have all any of information about this role

  • Stephanie Kinney says:

    Ask Paul, What if you are from the USA and cannot get the medication you need for RA. You have been fighting insurance until you are so frustrated that you are at loose ends. Your planning to move to Canada and establish citizenship so you can live a better life, with the health care you need. Does Canada cover a transplant US citizen that is looking for help. I’m send this for my daughter I will give you her name and e-mail. Thank you

    • Paul Taylor says:

      You would have to establish permanent residency status in Canada before you are eligible for health care in Canada. Aside from all the paper work, that usually takes three months of living in one place in Canada. Canada’s health care system covers medically necessary hospital stays and doctor appointments. However, Canada does not have a national Pharmacare program. In some cases, drug costs are covered – but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. So, you would still need private health insurance to cover drug expenses or pay out of pocket.

      I hope this helps.


  • Neil Peden says:

    I have moved to Saskatchewan from Alberta and have been told that my coverage won’t start till my wife moves here which won’t be till December. She is staying at her job till the end of the year. Then we still won’t get our new cards till 3 months after that. Why is it that I am living in Saskatchewan now and am considered a resident but have to wait till my wife gets here before I can get SK coverage.Will Alberta cover me for 9 months or more?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Do you mean that you will not be considered a resident of Saskatchewan until your wife also moves to the province? That sounds a bit odd. Who gave you that information? I realize that every province has slightly different rules. But you may want to ask again to make sure you have been given the correct information.

      • Neil Peden says:

        Hi Paul
        I contacted Saskatchewan health and it was them that told me I had to wait till my wife moved here. They said Alberta will cover me till then.They sent me a letter to send to Alberta I have not sent it yet but I am going to. Also my wife filled out the application same time I did for Sask health but she let them know the date she would be here. They said they have no info on her. So I have no idea what is going on. I use to live in Sask and still have my old health card it expired the end of 2014 but they won’t just renew it for me so I guess I wait.
        Neil Peden

  • Amanpreet kaur sandhar says:

    Hi, i need some advice
    i am permanent resident of Canada and had BC care card and am in low income.i will move Winnipeg In next month.i want to know there is medical monthly free and this bc care card is valid for some time in Winnipeg till am not get new care card

  • Audrey m Urjasz says:

    I have recently moved from BC to Sask. I was on medical disability in BC. Do I have to re-apply in Sask or is the medical disability transferable. How do I proceed???

  • j bourgeois says:

    i am moving from alberta to bc. i have a physciatrist of years & have many medical problems. i have a GP in alberta as well. i understand from grapevine there are no doctors taking patients in salmon arm…
    what is the difference in ongoing coverage of my mental health needs between these provinces?

    • Christina says:

      In Alberta you pay health premiums depending on your yearly income. You have to have group or employee benefits to pay for prescriptions, optimitry and other health benefits. In BC you too are charged a fee as well depending on last years taxes or…. if your financial situation has changed drastically and you make below a certain limit ie. you moved and have no job in BC yet. Then your medical is free or close to it. They advise You may apply for and obtain BC’s MSP and farmacare applications as soon as possible or prior to your move date in BC in order to avoid any lapse in coverage. You are given 10 free chiro/physiology per year( dec-dec), medication coverage on most all meds, ambulatory care, medical service equipment rentals ei. Walker, tub grip, canes, parking passes, recreation passes to fitness centres, home care helpers, etc… whatever degree of disability you have. Oh! and a free eye exam and $200 towards glasses or contacts every two unless your conditions are high risk. They require a doctors note as to why you need more of any service. IMMEDIATELY contact MSP and farmacare IN BC. They will request a piece of mail or pay stub/letter from employment for proof of residency in the new province(BC). Your Alberta health care will cover basic costs such as doctor visits. I believe prescriptions and health care including ambulances and hospital visits are paid by Alberta health for up to 3 months after arrival…but you have to pay upfront for non general practioner expenses and submit the reciepts for rebursement to Alberta health. BC MSP And farmacare may also open a file for you as a temporary resident, and issue a number for you. Are you working? Laid off? It’s best to go online and apply for basic ministry service help so you get in the system and are given an application package for provincial disability. Disability forms are filled out by you and a doctor. Seeing that you have a psychiatrist you could have him refer your file to one in salmon arm or kelowna who is one option to fill the application. Or the salmon arm health centre (they issue the PLan G for psych meds) (they also have allll the resources of new doctors and ones that help to have your application filled. If your mental health has created job loss you can apply at any service canada for medical ei, or the local ministry office for temporary emergency medical, dental, clothes and moving costs, etc. . If you have move for a valid reason such as finding better health facilities, to follow a family member, to land a better Paying or more stable job. CMHA (Canadian mental health association) will welcome you in salmon arm and it will be covered no matter where you’re from. It is there they can guide you to other programs bridging outsiders. If you are low income and require assistance such as the ministry and disability then have your GP in Alberta write a letter called a special authority. This will be given to the workers at the Bc provincial disability and assistance office and put on your file. He may or may not be an approved person to fill your app. If not, bring the letter to your doctors visit in salmon arm. There is actually a few doctors in salmon that are taking new patients. And you could save time by having your old records transferred to them as the new doc will want to see you numerous times before putting his knecknout filling an app for a client he barely knows. And the disability board may question his ethics as well if it shows he’s only met you twice. After a worker has reviewed your file you will or will not be approved for PWD(Persons with disability) in bc. If denied, ask to be connected with an advocate to help you appeal their decision. Sometimes it’s just the wording in the application or a discrepancy with a new health care provider. At this point you have a new health plan that covers all medications, special health service, basic and some preventative dental, eye glasses, diet supplement and or nutritional supplement if deemed necessary as well as a yearly bus pass, car costs of about $800 yearly to pay for insurance if you are unable to ride transit for numerous reasons. A disability gas tax rebate, child care, subsidized housing or rental fees, free camping and recreation passes throughout all bc provincial parks, a $1 fishing license, free nutritional counselling, medical transportation costs to specialist appointments out of town and much much more to try and improving your quality of life. You are encouraged to work if able and can make up to approximately $12000 a year without them deducting pay from your monthly PWD. If you make more than the amount set for the month/year, it will be reviewed and they will decide how much will be deducted from your next cheque. They assist in paying damage deposits and utility hook up fees that they will then slowly deduct from your monthly cheque at approx $20 increments. You get a special Christmas bonus and can get help paying for emergency enspenses (they must preapprove) such as, clothing specific for a new job, blankets, house hold items or a knee braces for a temporary injury. All of your specialists are paid for, blood work, greyhound and train discounts needed for family emergency. They have special housing programs for women, women and children, families, and men. Rent surprisingly around $350 for a new condo or townhouse if you have kids. They also assist in funding to attend a large variety of treatment facilities to help with addictive behaviour and trauma. Children’s counselling and fitness programs. If you are capable, a connected program called WORKBC is a great centre that counsels you in job hunting, resume writing, worshops and job ticket certification like first aid, H2S, etc. finding the right career path and funding you to obtain that career. The ministry office in salmon arm is by far the best location to be based. It is very frustrating and time consuming trying to get proper paperwork and such to the workers in the larger centres. Especially around the days cheques are released. So I recommend direct deposit. You do however, have to have a tenant agreement filled out by you and said landlord, whether your renting a room or buying a home. You are only allotted a certain amount for housing. Again depending on your current marital status and number of children living with you. At some point you will be asked to have a CPP application properly filled out and sent to determine whether you qualify for Canada Pension Plan disability. This is greatly beneficial as you not only get just slightly more money(first portion paid by CPP depending on the last ten years contributions and then topped up by BC provincial gov). Once on CPP. You must apply for the disability tax credit. This amount varies by year and once approved you could possible re-evaluate and recieve retroactive payments, some up to $40,000, depending on the type and length of certain disabilities. You can then immediately contact the wealth and investment part of your bank to open an RDSP (Registered Disability Savibgs Plan). Each bank has slightly different rules to contribution and withdrawal. This great plan allows you to contribute amounts up to ?? a year, that, which is matched at varying levels by the government up to your 49th birthday.* if your family makes less than $26000 a year you get an automatic bond of $1000 a year. Then if under $89000 income the gov Will match your deposit up to %300, %200 or %100 depending on how much you contribute… and if opened before the age of 50 you may recieve up to $90000 in grants and bonds. This is a tax free benefit which effects nether your CPP or PWD benefits!!!…. as long as you follow the 10 Year Rule! Depending on your bank.. I believe, after 10 years of the last government bond or grant payment, you are able to withdraw certain amounts for specific endeavours (mortgage, renos, car, without penalty) If money is withdrawn prior to this, it must be less than the amount contributed including the government grants and bonds given. Then of course, you will be Penelized, possibly paying back a portion of said grants/bonds… and you would be required to use the withdrawal as taxable income. Apologies I took off on a rant here but hoping it’s helpful.

  • Vino says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for this comprehensive article and for all the answers that you have been providing. I was hoping you can give me a solution as well.
    Me (living in Quebec) and my husband(living in Ontario) have been work permit holders for the past two years. Our baby (currently 2 yrs) was born in Quebec and she has been covered by my status and had a health card here in QC. We became Permanent Residents last week and moved to Ontario. When contacted ON health, I understand the 3 month wait period for myself, since I was previously living in Quebec. However, they say the same 3 months apply for my baby, even when we put her under my husband’s health card. So essentially, a born canadian, moving out of province from QC to ON, is left without health insurance for 3 months. What is the solution other than a private insurance? Any insight is appreciated.

  • Margot Derhak says:

    Upon return to your home province from another province in Canada, do you have to let me health know that you are back?
    Thank you.

  • Joanne Stuart says:

    I’m glad to have found this site, thank you!

    My situation is a little complex I am afraid. I am moving from BC to Ontario but can’t make a ‘clean break’. Due to custody arrangements and job restrictions, I need to be in BC part time at the same time as starting my life in Ontario. My fiance and I live common law in Ontario but I need to travel back to BC for one to two weeks each month until 2018. I currently have BC Medical coverage but would like to be added to my fiance’s (Ontario) coverage plan as his common law spouse. He works for a large bank that exists across Canada. I’m not sure how to connect extended benefits with basic medical. Should I remain on BC Medical or should I be applying for OHIP? I am aware of the three month delay, but in my case I will be in both provinces for two years. I continue to file my income taxes from BC (in case that information helps).

  • Stephanie D. says:

    I moved to Ontario from Quebec with my 13 year old daughter on November 3, 2015. This was a permanent move and I started working and my daughter started school in Toronto as soon as we moved. I wrote on the OHIP applications that we moved to Ontario on November 3rd and this is the date Revenue Canada also has. My daughter had to go to the Emergency department at a Toronto hospital on March 7, 2016 and required a minor surgical procedure which I had to pay the Emergency physician directly before he would perform the procedure. I was billed the hospital fee of $309 by the hospital and the bill was mailed to me. I unfortunately had not applied for Ontario health coverage at the time of her hospital visit. I went the next day, on March 8th, and applied for Ontario health coverage for both of us. The temporary paper they give you showed that my daughter’s coverage was effective February 1, 2016 and mine said it was effective March 8th. The hospital called me last week to ask if I was going to pay the $309 for her visit and I told them she now had an Ontario health card. They took the number and said they would bill it directly to OHIP. I just got a new bill and it says that Ontario did not cover the visit as she was not covered on March 7th. I called the Quebec health department and they said our coverage with them ended on January 31st as that is when our 3 months out of the province ended. I don’t understand that as Canadians moving between provinces we have no health coverage from any province from February 1st to the day our health cards were issued. Mine was issued on March 8th and my daughter’s was issued on April 8th. Could you please give me some advice on this situation and let me know if there is anything I can do. We should of been covered from February 1st and there should be no gap between coverage from provinces. As a single mother living on a very tight budget there is no way I can afford to pay for my daughter’s Emergency visit. Please help. Thanks.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      There are fairly strict rules for applying for health care when you move to a new province.

      You may want to contact your local MPP. Sometimes politicians can help their constituents navigate the bureaucracy.

      If that doesn’t work, you may be able to seek the assistance of Ontario’s new patient ombudsman, Christine Elliott, who starts work in a few months.

      And if you still find yourself owing money, you may be able to pay in monthly installments so it’s more manageable for you financially.

      But, hopefully, the issue will get resolved before that point.

  • Durrah _ wife name says:

    My wife Canadian and she is going to move to Ottawa as soon as possible.
    She is pregnant in her 6th month and for sure once she arrive, she will stay with her friend.

    pregnant and she is Canadian, she still has to wait 3 month to get her insurance card.
    consider that, there is no health insurance give good coverage to cover the amount for the doctor following up to baby devilry.

    What is the solution. ?

  • Nancy Spence says:

    Can you provide any advice for someone considering moving an aging (87) parent with a variety of health issues from Ontario to Alberta?

  • Tangwystyl says:

    I would like to relay my story as my last son was born out of province. I had BC health care but was working in Alberta when my son came early on October 20th, 2011. I left the Alberta hospital 12 hours after he was born in Edmonton, he was not seen by a paediatrician but by an intern before release, while I was getting baby ready a nurse came in and handed me a bill for $500.00 in my sons name that had a little check mark beside the box that said “Uninsured Canadian” … I said to her there had to be a mistake, she said she didn’t understand it either but I’d have to clear it at the finance office in the hospital before my son would be released to me …. I was covered by BC for all my obstetrician visits in AB, by MSP and the delivery etc. but would not repay me for my sons care because technically he wasn’t a BC resident. Can someone explain this to me? I thought there was a catch-all Universal Health Care for Canadians. I’m so very grateful that my son was delivered healthy for I fear I would not have been able to pay the ransom/bill to keep him had it been higher.

  • John Dancho says:

    I am planning to move from BC to Ontario, both my wife and I are in our 80. What should I do about health care pertaining to drugs. We pay 156 per month but then we must have at least 2 thousand in expenses before there is a deduction of 7 5% . What is available in Ontario???

  • Jenny says:

    I frequently travel between BC and ON because of my husbands job. In Ottawa I must pay for my doctors visit and then claim it back from MSP. There is no clinic that will accept my CareCard, and it usually cost $75 per visit. HOWEVER, not only does it take several months to receive money back, but for some reason I only get HALF! When I called MSP it was explained to me that in BC a general visit would have cost $35 so that is how much they will reimburse, but when I am in BC I noticed that a visit without coverage will cost $60-$75 as well. So where does this $35 amount come from, and is there a place where I can claim the rest of my money back??

    In one instance I had a physical in ON for $150 and only received ~$60 back….

  • Mother says:

    What happens if mydaughter moves back to Ontario from U S….she is a Canadian citizen, but has lived and worked in U S for fifteen years.
    .she has private health care coverage, but it is not valid outside U S…she has been diagnosed with advanced cancer, and wants to return to family surroundings..and I want her close by too!
    Not sure she could get private health insurance, given her health condition.
    Will sh be able to get health care, includng chemtherapy, during the three month wait? What if she needs hospitalization?

  • Tina says:

    My brother moved from Moncton, Newbrunswick to Montreal with me. He applied for his medicare but they can,t see info on his birth certificate, so they told him he needs to apply for a new one . Meantime, he has prostate cancer, Rheumatoid arthritis, Intelectual Disability, learning Disability, Illiteracy,Bladder sling, Hernia repair, Varicose vein stripping, possible Brochopneumonia, to top it off severe depression, and suicide thoughts, made several attempts in the past.. No one , hospital, walk in clinic, or his Dr. here in Mtl. ( when he gets medicare ), will not help him in chronic stomach pain, and throat is dry – cough , hoarse, and painful . He will have to pay, which he refuses , cause he has no money, so he stays in bed, suffering. What can i do, or where can i get help, now.

  • Louise says:

    Hi Paul
    My father is an Alberta resident who was just diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. He will start palliative chemo treatments right away. We have a family cabin in Victoria that he wants to make his permanent residence. Will he be eligible for BC health care?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      I am sorry to hear that your father has advanced colon cancer. He will have to live in B.C. for roughly 3 months, before he qualifies for B.C. health care. Alberta will be responsible for his doctor bills up to that point. But as my blog explains, there are gaps in other types of health coverage. You will need talk to his health care providers to get an idea of his medical needs – and determine what will NOT be covered during the transition period. A big concern may be in the drug coverage and home-care services. Indeed, many doctors have complained to me about the challenges faced by cancer patients who would like to spend their remaining days in another part of Canada – often to be closer to family. Unfortunately, the way our health-care system works doesn’t necessarily lead to a smooth transition of care from one province to the next.

  • says:

    I am born in Quebec, lived most of my life in Ontario, currently study at university in Montreal, I have cancer.
    I am treated by an Ontario oncologist. I have learned based on an evidence based paper published in the NCI in the USA that a treatment is available in NYC. This treatment is non invasive, non toxic using HIFU and the evidence based paper indicates a very good recovery at a fraction of the cost of the oral and systemic offerings found in the NCCN.
    I know that Ontario does not have a pharma plan, Quebec does. I am told that Ontario (OHIP) will not cover such treatments although Ontario offers HIFU but for fibroids. What can I do to obtain treatment without bankrupting me?

  • Merry-lynn says:

    I have just moved back from Vancouver BC to Winnipeg and need to know how to transfer my disability,

  • Irene says:

    I am trying to find out how to solve a problem that I have.
    I moved from Ontario to BC in October 19,2015 and applied for BC coverage that will start in January 1st,2015. I am pregnant and I am receiving midwife services(both cover in Ontario and BC) that I needed to paid from my own pocket because my midwifes couldn’t accept my Ontario health- card.
    I claimed Ontario for the money back for the visits and I received a letter saying that midwifes out of province are not cover. Health Canada told me that Ontario will cover me until BC coverage starts . I don’t know what to do to get my money back. Looks like I am in one of the gaps that you said in your article.
    Any idea of how to proceed?
    Thank you

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Irene:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think you can expect to get your money back from Ontario. Most provinces advise people who are moving to buy additional private health insurance to supplement basic coverage during the transition period.

      The only thing I can suggest is try to make a medical claim when you file your income taxes at the end of the year. (Of course, you would have to meet certain conditions to qualify, but it might be worth considering.)

  • Yang says:

    My brother is on dialysis and is just recovering from a stroke. He wants to move from Vancouver to Toronto to live with my sister..What are the processes to follow and put in place so that there is a seamless access to health services particularly to dialysis and other support services. Are there any other issues we need to be aware of.

    Any information and advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you

  • Bonnie says:

    My husband and I are considering moving from BC to Ontario. I’m originally from Ontario and had OHIP coverage until my move 12 years ago. Would I have to apply for a new Ohip number or just reinstate my old one? My husband, a born Vancouverite, recieves disability CPP. Does he have to re-apply in Ontario.

  • Mark Stein says:

    I am conducting research on OHIP’s Out of Province (OOP) services in regards to medical traveller’s coverage. What can you tell me about the advantages and/or areas for improvement concerning this policy? Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

  • Claire says:

    Hi, I was wondering about a palliative care patient moving from Montreal to Toronto to be close to family. If she is strong enough to be moved would her care be covered?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Claire:

      The same basic rules that apply to every other patients should also apply to a palliative care patient. The patient’s current home province, Quebec, should cover her basic medical expenses, until she becomes a “permanent” resident of Ontario. But there is a catch. Palliative care patients often have a lot of additional needs such as home care. You may find there is a big difference in the type of care provided in the two provinces. Quebec also has a more comprehensive provincial drug benefit plan than Ontario. And I am not sure if Quebec will cover drug costs of a patient in transition period. You will need to call up the ministries of health in the 2 provinces and ask about the differences in coverage. Most provinces also recommend that patients get some form of private health insurance to cover the costs of services that may not be paid for by the provincial plans. I’m not sure how ease it would be for a palliative care patient to get private insurance. You will also need to find an Ontario doctor who is willing to assume care of the patient. You may want to call the local Community Care Access Centre in you part of Ontario to find out what services might be available to the patient. I don’t want to make this sound too complicated. But there is a lot to consider when moving patients to another province – especially patients with existing medical conditions. You may find the move is indeed worth it. However, you will need to do the some homework first.

  • Margaret says:

    I am thinking of moving from Alberta to BC. With the waiting period in BC for health coverage, can I keep my ahcip active until I have BC coverage.

  • Linda Bloor says:

    Thinking of moving to Victoria BC so I can be closer to my brother. But I a lot of health problems. What does ohip cover or is mostly out of pocket expenses?

  • Julie English says:

    Just sold our house in Alberta due do to job losses and will be living in our RV temporary in BC. Do I have to register for BC health care?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      It’s important to establish the date on which you become a resident of the province of BC.

      Google the B.C. ministry of health to learn more about qualifying for health insurance.

      The website says:

      If you are new to BC, you must first enrol by
      submitting an MSP enrolment application to
      Health Insurance BC, and then, go to an ICBC DLO
      to complete your enrolment and apply for your
      BC Services Card.

  • Matt says:

    I moved from AB to NS in May and established a place to live and moved bank accounts and all that.

    Having been laid off in Feb I have the time and freedom do some travelling. (10 days in June, 7 weeks in July/Aug/Sept) and intending to do another 2 months in late Oct.

    NS tells me I’m not a resident since I haven’t been here 90 consecutive days. They say I need to get a 1 yr temp absence from AB. AB says since I have no ties, residence, or intent to return, I’m not eligible for anything more than the 3 month cross over period, which has already passed. So, now I find myself a citizen living in NS, but who’s prone to adventures out of country with no insurance. Something seems amiss if a citizen who spends one day out of province at the end of their 3 month waiting period would now be without coverage for 3 months as the waiting period starts over.

  • Scott says:

    I moved from Ontario to BC for a 6 month mat leave contract. I may go back to Ontario at the end of the contract … or I may stay in BC if I find more work out here.

    So should I apply for MSP or stay with OHIP? I maintain a permanent residence in Ontario (my wife lives in Toronto).

    It seems foolish to apply for MSP if I’m returning to Ontario in six months … but it’s not guaranteed that I will return. I was in Ontario for the 153 days this year so I guess I’m covered by OHIP until at least the end of this year.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Such short moves do make things complicated. I don’t want to give you advice that turns out to be wrong — and you end up without health coverage. I really think you are going to have to call the ministries of health in both those provinces and explain your situation – and let them advise you on the best thing to do.

  • Sarah says:

    I moved fr Ontario to saktchewan and now back to Ontario. Will my healthcare be able to carry over less than three months? I also have my old Ontario health card will it still be valid?

  • Pamela Allen says:

    My husband is in BC at the moment but wants to bring his son home to Ontario where he was born.
    There are multiple health issues such as Hep C and he is in the final stages of liver failure. the prognosis is not good and we would like to have him home with family. My step-son has been on government assistance in BC for many years and will have to be on assistance again once he arrives in Ontario. My husband and step-son cannot fly home as the son does not have any ID (has been a street person for many years). They will have to drive through all provinces. My concern is health care should he need to go to hospital during the trip home and what procedures do we need to follow once they arrive in Ontario.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hello Pamela:

      The same points outline in the article above should apply to your step-son’s case. BC will continue to cover his basic medical bills during the 3 month transition period before he becomes a full- time resident in Ontario. That means, if he has a medical emergency while travelling across Canada, B.C. should cover the bills for insured physician services or a visit to a hospital emergency department. If he does need to visit a hospital emergency department, present his BC health card during the registration process. The hospital may bill the B.C. ministry of health directly. If your husband is billed, make sure he keeps all the receipts in order to be reimbursed. Not all services — such as ambulance services — will be covered once he leaves the province. Please phone the BC ministry of health to confirm these details for your step-son’s situation. You may be advised to take out private health insurance to cover non-insured services.

  • Anna says:

    Hello Paul. If a patient starts chemotherapy at one hospital but would like to transfer to Sunnybrook, what would be the procedure? A referral was sent by the treating Oncologist as well as the GP but Sunnybrook has denied the referral. What steps can be taken or who else can I speak to in order to make this transfer happen? I live in Ontario and pay taxed towards the OHIP system. I feel I should be able to choose where I receive treatment. Any advise or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Luvleen says:


    The info is really helpful. I am a new immigrant who landed in calgary, alberta. Now I have got a job in BC. I am pregnant and would need monthly medical check-ups. Would I be covered as discussed above or do I need to purchase a private health insurance. Another question. Does the three months time period start from the day I enter BC or will it be determined by something else?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      I’ve heard some people have problems establishing their “start” date. You may want to contact the B.C. ministry of health directly to learn the specific rules that apply to that province.

  • Bob Gomm says:

    I live in Ontario. My brother has been in BC for approx 14 yrs and is a widower. He has no family in BC.
    His daughter lives in Ottawa. My brother was a palliative care patient in BC having oral cancer and was receiving home care. I offered to look after my brother at my home in kingston where he will be close to family He moved here July 7. It appears BC does not cover costs of community care which is a lot of the care he requires. His BC coverage is paid to either Sept or Oct of 2015. Is this correct that BC does not have to cover his home care costs through to when his OHIP coverage begins?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Bob:

      What is covered differs from one province to the next. You will have to contact the BC provincial ministry of health to find out what specific services will be covered in your brother’s case. Overall, what you will find is that there will be some gaps in coverage.

  • Ilya says:

    Except if you are moving from Quebec it seems like. In that case you are treated like a foreigner for that first 3 months. Thanks Quebec for being different!

    • jabalong says:

      When it comes to health care in Quebec, every province is different and in this Quebec is no different. ;)

  • Jana says:

    Here is our issue: My husband, our two year old daughter and I moved to BC from Ontario. We left Ontario on April 28th, stopped over in Alberta for 2 days, and arrived in BC on May 1st.
    Ontario says that they will cover our health insurance for three months, the month we left, plus two month: April, May, June with OHIP coverage ending June 30th ( I have a letter from OHIP confirming end of coverage June 30th)
    BC says, there is a three month waiting period after you arrive in the province: May, June, July, with MSP coverage beginning August 1st.
    i.e. neither province wants to cover us for the month of July!

    I have called both provincial health insurance providers multiple times and both continue to insist that is the OTHER province who is responsible for the month of July.

    We do not have any health issues and do not anticipate any costs but we can’t be without health coverage for a month! I even tried calling Health Canada and they told me to talk to the provinces.

    Any advice? what does the law say on this? Thank you!

  • cat says:

    Hi. I need some advice.
    I am a permanent resident of Canada and had an Alberta Health Care Card. I moved back to Australia for 18months and now am back to settle in BC. how do I go about getting a BC card? Do I have to pay monthly for this?
    Thanks in advane.

  • Sarah says:

    To add to my previous comment. I have contacted the provincial health care – the answer is “I don’t know”

  • Sarah says:

    What if you need ongoing medication that has to be prescribed by your medical doctor. This prescription cannot be forwarded to another province because it is considered a narcotic. For eg. Migraine medication.
    This is fine if your medical doctor can send you off with a 3 month supply.
    However, if you have a spouse in another province (lets say spouse is waiting for house to sell and children to finish school year) I am told that I do not get a health card until my spouse arrives. This is waved after a year without your spouse.
    Also, I cannot get a doctor without a health card. Therefore there ends up being a possible 12 month waiting period before you can get medication through a medical doctor.
    This also includes car insurance in some provinces. Ontario will only insure for 1 month after you leave the province. Manitoba will not insure you until you have been in the province for 3 months.
    Is one expected to drive without insurance for 2 months?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Unfortunately, you are dealing with one of the failing of the Canadian health care system. In fact, it is not one system – but 10 separate provincial systems, plus the territories. Although some efforts have been made to smooth transitions between provinces – significant gaps still exists. And you will find different rules in many provinces regarding the control of narcotic mediations. These rules are suppose to prevent drug abuse, but they sometimes end up hurting patients who have a legitimate need for the medications.

      But there is one thing I don’t understand in your question. You say that you won’t get a health card until your spouse arrives. (You have to be in the province for three months to be considered a resident.) If you are a new resident in a province, the three-month wait for a card should begin with your arrival – not the arrival of your spouse. I wonder if you have been given some wrong information.

      • Sarah says:

        I spoke with Service Ontario, I was advised to call Manitoba Heath back and escalate it.
        However there are other provinces that have the same issue with not providing health care until all family members are residence. This is just the way it is.
        Ontario establishes health care with an individual person, not a family as a whole.

        So how do we fix this? Who do we bring these questions to? Who do we ask for a resolution. I know I am not the only one as the Service Ontario representative has had this question before.
        Let me know your thoughts.

      • Paul Taylor says:

        That’s certainly interesting. You have taught me something new. I didn’t know that the entire family had to be settled in Manitoba before the clock starts ticking for your 3- month residency requirement to get a provincial health care. It does seem somewhat unfair. But it also helps to emphasize my early point: the rules and regulations often vary from one province to the next.

        So what can be done about it? Well, we live in a democracy – and we have a federal election coming up. When the politicans come knocking on your door, asking for your vote, give them an earful.

        Let them know that you’re not satisfied with the status quo. And ask them how they specifically plan on helping you.

      • Sarah says:

        Paul, I work close with a news media station, I have brought this to their attention in hopes that they will bring this issue public.
        I will definitely be letting the politicians know when they come knocking.

        This is unacceptable! I pay my taxes on land, food, imported products, gas, water, hydro, and services in this province. Health care should not be with held based on who I reside with – not to mention they pay their taxes too.

        Hopefully my resources will prove to be useful.
        Thank you for your response.

      • Andi says:

        Good luck with that. politicians don’t give a flying f*&ck about you.

  • Martin says:

    I am Canadian citizen and moved to BC from ON 2 weeks ago. Now I am in ON for family visit. I want to visit the doctor in Toronto for complete physical exam before heading to Chicago. I wonder if that will affect or delay my BC health coverage application process? Many thanks.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Martin:

      I really think you need to connect with the ministry of health in B.C. It depends on when the ministry considers you to have become a resident of the province of B.C. I assume you have already contacted the province to notify officials there of your change of address. Follow up with them – just to be sure that an appointment was a doctor in Ontario won’t alter your residency status. In theory, it shouldn’t be a problem because Ontario is responsible for your MD and hosptial bills during your first three months in B.C. But it’s certainly worthwhile checking with BC


  • Jane G says:

    I will be moving from Edmonton to Salt Spring Island in BC. Since there is quite a waiting list to get a family doctor there, how do I get my prescriptions renewed while I am waiting to get a G.P.?



    • PAUL TAYLOR says:

      OHIP should pay for your basic medical coverage, such as doctor appointments and hospital visits, during your first three months in B.C. I don’t see why your pension wouldn’t keep being deposited in your account. But it’s always best to check directly just to be sure. You raise an interesting idea about getting your prescriptions filled before you move provinces. I assume you must be over the age of 65 and qualify for the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan. Sounds like a smart move. Talk to your doctor to see if that’s possible for the drugs you are prescribed. Each province has its own drug plan. In general, the B.C. plan provides more extensive benefits than the Ontario plan. But you will have to be a resident of B.C. for three months before you qualify.

  • John says:

    Good day!
    Could you pls help me to find the right answer. My wife and I live in Alberta and we have Alberta Health Care. All my family and friends live in Ontario. My wife is expecting a baby. I work 14/7 , and I want her to go and deliver a baby in Ontario, because Iam worried that I can be out of town for work. Does Alberta Health Care cover her delivery in Ontario?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi John:

      It should cover the cost. But don’t just take my word for it. Contact the ministry of health in your province and confirm for yourself. But the bigger challenge could be finding a doctor willing to take on a new patient (your wife) from out of province. You’re going to need a doctor (or a midwife) to delivery the baby in Ontario. Not sure how a doctor is going to feel about caring for a patient who arrives just before the delivery. That’s something you will also need to consider.

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this information. I was wondering if there is anything else I should know when moving from Ontario to Alberta with my month old son? I will be getting his 6 month shots here in Ontario but will the next be covered?

  • Kim says:

    If we move from Alberta to BC and were on long term disability, can we still get it in BC? I am on disability for health reason and I get Cpp and Asih a disability income from Alberta does BC have something like this. Thanks for your help. Kim

  • jayo says:

    im on disability in bc and I plan on moving to Ontario…I receive $906 a month in bc so im wondering if I would still receive this for the 3 months in Ontario as I wait for the Ontario disability to kick this how it works

  • ernest skinner says:

    In a move from BC to Ontario. Once one applies to the Ont. health care system, to whom does one pay the premium for those 3 months. Surely there is no double billing?

    • Paul Taylor says:

      HI Ernest:

      The system is set up differently in the two provinces. Ontario doesn’t charge individual premiums. Instead, the money for publicly funded health care in Ontario comes from general tax revenues.


  • Genny says:

    I would like to know this as well as Tom, which province has the best services, drug coverage, etc.

    • Paul Taylor says:

      It is an excellent question. But it would take a lot of time and effort to collect the information from all the provinces and territories and then analyze it in a rigorous fashion so the comparisons are valid. That’s a job for a research institute. But possibly one of our readers knows of an existing study that had already tackled this issue. Suggestions anyone?

  • tom says:

    So which province is it best to be sick in? Which has the best services, drug coverage, etc.?

  • bob Kaine says:

    currently am on long term disability with ab blue cross. is this eligible in the province of BC

    • Paul Taylor says:

      Hi Bob:

      In your email, you note that you have disability insurance with Blue Cross.

      There is a lot of variation in insurance policies – so it is hard to make blanket statements about what’s covered.

      I would suggest you get in touch with you Blue Cross and ask what happens if you change provinces.

      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,


  • Margaret Buttignol says:

    Thank you for the info above.

    What happens when an elderly senior with multiple health issues and dementia is moved from Ontario to BC to be close to family (not living with them),

    I understand that basic care would be covered but what about long term extended care in a facility or even the services that are provided in Ontario through Community Care Access: nursing visits one hour a day for med. compliance and dementia; personal service worker 1-2 hours a day for bathing and personal care?

    • Ane White says:

      Margaret Buttignol

      Did you receive an answer. I would like to know how to move an elderly senior with dementia from Ontario to BC to be close to family but to live in a subsidized residential care facility.

    • Lily Spamer says:

      I would like to know the answer as well – my mom needs to move from a nursing home in AB to one in BC, where my mom lives. The residency requirement seems ridiculous in this case. There must be a way around it.

      • Lily Spamer says:

        oops I meant where my sister now lives…

      • mary says:

        Hi Lily, Im in the same position with an elderly relative in Edmonton, just had her leg amputated, is of fit mind yet has been dumped into a dementia lock up. We want to bring her back to a care facility in BC near to us where we can look out for her as she has no one left in AB. Have you got any advice yet on how to do this?

    • Lori MacKelvie says:

      I’m inquiring about the same questions as Margaret Buttingnol, Ane White, Lily Spamer & Mary. Moving my Mother from BC to MB. Is there any coverage over and above basic. ie. Home Care
      Anybody get an answer

      • Ladybug says:

        Same question here. We need to move my grandmother from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. She is in a senior apartment complex now with 8 care hours per day with Red Cross, subsidized. We have been told if she leaves NB, she will immediately lose that subsidy. She has to wait 3mths to get insurance here, and we can’t put her on a wait list for a memory care home until she has insurance in this province.

  • Erika Bird says:

    I’m trying to find out how many provinces are like BC, where I live, that issue a monthly bill for healthcare. I grew up in Quebec where I never saw my healthcare expenses – I just knew that I and everyone else I knew was covered. In BC, unless you have a stable life and a stable income, like as not you don’t pay that bill, or you fall behind for months. Then you avoid medical help unless it’s critical. I have a hard time thinking of this BC system as “Universal.” What other province issues a 20 year old or older person a monthly health care bill?

    • Michael says:

      I was wondering this myself. It would appear that if you moved from BC to Ontario late in the year, say November, you would have paid the BC Health tax monthly all year and then because you are a resident of Ontario on December 31st you would be liable for the Ontario Health tax based on your yearly income and tax filing in Ontario – thus taxed for health care twice.

      • Darlene says:

        I have that exact problem! Moved in Nov. and was paying BC Med through my pension. I couldn’t get a new local doctor till the following October and had to travel a distance out of town to get the medical coverage changed to OHIP. And because I was unable to get to an out of town Service Canada, in Person , I could not get changed over until October , so I had to continue with BC Med until then. Now the income taxes are charging me for Ont.Health and I already was paying out of pocket for BC Med. (which is more expensive) . Now I am trying to get financial statements to show my BC payments, but it isn’t easy. Each Service says to go to the other! The portion (50%) that was paid by Pension, shows up as Income (it’s taxable) so I get taxed again.( the BC Medical for a couple was $150/month). There is no one to talk to and if you don’t have receipts, it’s a lost cause. but I’m working on it! Wish me luck!

    • Ryan says:

      I got hit with almost 3000 in a f up and . didn’t cancel card. Which in my mind more Canadian so it should have been cancelled once I obtain my new card at my new Providence

  • Chris Hayes says:

    %featured%Great commentary…another issue is repatriation…had a friend who had a traumatic injury in one province but really wanted his care to back on Ontario, where his was based. Good thing he had third party coverage as inter-province transport not covered by provincial health plan.%featured%


Paul Taylor


Paul Taylor is a health journalist and former Patient Navigation Advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he provided advice and answered questions from patients and their families. Paul will continue to write occasional columns for Healthy Debate.

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