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 minimal or non-existent.
Unfortunately, only those Toronto expats who have residence permits or work permits are eligible to take advantage of the tax-funded health insurance system, so those who don’t will need to rely on private health insurance coverage to fund any medical needs.
Getting public health insurance in Toronto
Expats moving to Toronto will need to visit a ServiceOntario centre in person to apply for their Toronto health care. Applicants must bring proof of identity (such as their passport), evidence of their OHIP-eligible immigration status (such as a Permanent Resident Card), and confirmation that they live in Toronto (such as a local driver's licence or tax assessment).
Once approved, the card is posted to the applicant's home. 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.
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.
For this reason, some expats opt to take out private insurance. Private insurance also provides comforts not covered by the public insurance, such as private hospital rooms and the dental and optometry 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, Toronto
St Michael's Hospital
Address: 30 Bond Street, Toronto
The Hospital for Sick Kids
Address: 555 University Avenue, Toronto
Toronto General Hospital
Address: 200 Elizabeth Street, Toronto