Long-time resident or not, Ontario is one of the many provinces in Canada that offers free healthcare services to its people. With plenty of newcomers arriving in the country each year, the provincial government and the City of Toronto work hard to ensure that everyone has fair access to medical services and urgent healthcare.
Pregnant and New Mothers
The City of Toronto recognizes that the health and well-being of pregnant women and new mothers are essential. You can receive advice or a quick consultation on the phone or by email about the following:
- Having a healthy pregnancy
- Giving birth
- Child growth and behaviour
- Toilet training
Although many people can afford dental care through workplace policies, insurance, or school health plans, not everyone falls under these plans and many are unable to afford the full costs. If you cannot afford to pay for a dentist, you can call 3-1-1 to see if you are eligible to receive free dental care.
A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. Eating healthy foods protects against many chronic diseases and cancer. The City of Toronto recommends that you chat with the Toronto Public Health eChat for any questions regarding:
- Nutrition for both adults and children
- Shopping for groceries
- Community gardens
- Cooking programs
- Healthy low-cost meals
Immunization Services for Children
Immunization and vaccines are vital because they produce immunity to diseases and sicknesses. When you get vaccinated, you protect not only yourself but others as well. You can receive free immunizations even if you do not have a health card.
If you are a parent whose child has just been vaccinated, you must report it to Toronto Public Health due to the requirement of vaccinations being recorded on file. If it is not, your child may be suspended from school until the immunization record has been translated.
Toronto Public Health also provides free and anonymous advice about sexual health issues. Those who have questions or concerns about their sexual health and lifestyle can contact the clinic. They also provide other confidential services regarding:
- Free or low-cost birth control
- Pregnancy tests, counselling and referrals
- Free testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Free testing for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Tuberculosis Medical Surveillance for Newcomers
If you contract tuberculosis (TB), it is recommended that you reach out to Toronto Public Health immediately. From there, a TB nurse will be assigned to work with you and your health care practitioner while you are being treated. Treatment for TB is free, regardless of whether you have health insurance or not. Having TB does not affect your immigration status or family’s status in Canada either.
OHIP, which stands for Ontario Health and Insurance Plan, is Ontario’s primary health care plan. When people of Ontario access health-related services through OHIP, the costs are usually covered by the province. Today, there is no longer a waiting period for OHIP coverage. If you are eligible, you will receive immediate health insurance coverage. You will also receive an Ontario health card, which proves that you are covered by OHIP. Every time you see your doctor, access health care services, or have a medical examination, you will need to show your health card.
OHIP covers many health services, including:
- Appointments with your family doctor
- Visits to walk-in clinics and some other health care providers
- Visits to an emergency room
- Medical tests and surgeries
To apply for OHIP, you must visit a ServiceOntario centre. You will need to bring the following documents with you:
- A completed Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage form
- Three separate documents from the List of qualifying identification documents (photocopies not accepted)
- One original document that proves your Canadian citizenship or OHIP-eligible immigration status
- One document (original, printed, or digital/electronic document as noted on the list) that proves your residency in Ontario
- One original document that proves your identity
For qualifications and eligibility, please see here.
Learn More about Extended Health Coverage and Other Provinces
Source: Health Services for Newcomers
The information has been gathered as accurately as possible at the time of writing, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please check the official website and digital channels.