Introduction to Health Care in Canada
Did you know that Canada has a publicly funded universal health care system in which accessibility to medical services for all eligible residents is guaranteed? The delivery of health care in Canada is regulated by the Canada Health Act, which requires that all insured persons have access to health services without having to pay a fee per use of a service. Canadians and Permanent Residents of Canada are covered by a provincial health plan in the province in which they reside; as such, Ontarians are insured and covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
International students from the United States may be interested to learn that the health care system in Canada is largely funded by the public sector, compared to the US where health care facilities are primarily operated by the private sector with a few exceptions (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid,…etc). Generally, essential and basic health care is fully covered in Canada and costs to medical service providers are paid for through income tax funding; patients are not involved in the billing.
A minimal part of the Canadian health care system is operated and funded by the private sector. Services such as dental care, vision care and prescription drugs are privately funded. Privately funded services are largely insured by employers. For students, their college or university may have an arrangement with a private company.
To secure access to health services in Ontario, CIE enrols all international students in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). UHIP, which is similar to OHIP, guarantees access to essential medical care for our international students while they study in Ontario.
Many international students may be pleased to learn that U of T also enrols students in a Supplementary Health Plan. This plan insures you for many of the things that UHIP does not cover, including dental care, vision care and prescription drug coverage. U of T’s supplementary plans are administered by U of T's Undergraduate Student Union (UTSU) and/ or U of T's Graduate Student Union (GSU).
When you arrive at U of T, you will be welcomed with a host of orientation activities and all the hard work you put into preparation for your arrival will have paid off.