The healthcare system in Toronto is publicly funded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), which extends coverage to all residents of the Ontario province.
This comes at a minimal monthly premium, automatically deducted from a person's salary in tax, and covers doctors, specialists and all necessary medical surgery. Co-payments are very low or non-existent.
Getting public health insurance in Toronto
Expats moving to Toronto will need written confirmation from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) stating that they are eligible to apply for permanent residence status in Canada.
At the OHIP office, all expats will have to do is fill out an application form and get a photo of themselves taken. A CareCard is posted to their home address three months later. This contains a personal health number and gives access to the public health insurance plan. This card should be carried at all times. In the interim, between applying for the CareCard and receiving it, expats should maintain some sort of private health insurance.
The OHIP covers its members throughout Canada, provided that Ontario is their place of residence and they spend more than six months of each year in the province. Significant medical costs are billed directly to OHIP by the respective provincial medical administration. For cheaper bills, such as doctor’s consultations, patients have to pay and they can claim back from the local health ministry upon their return to Ontario.
While the healthcare system is good and the medical professionals are of the highest standards, the system often falls victim to the downfalls of bureaucracy. Waiting periods can be long and it is often difficult to find a general practitioner still taking new patients due to the delays.
For this reason, some expats prefer to take out private insurance in addition to that offered by the public system. Not to mention that private insurance provides comforts not covered by the public insurance, such as private hospital rooms and the dental, optometry and ambulance services which are not in the public coverage.
Hospitals in Toronto
Below are some of the most prominent hospitals in Toronto:
Mount Sinai Hospital
Address: 600 University Avenue
St Joseph's Health Centre
Address: 30 The Queensway
St Micheal's Hospital
Address: 30 Bond Street
The Hospital for Sick Kids
Address: 555 University Avenue
Toronto General Hospital
Address: 200 Elizabeth Street