The basics of Health Insurance in Vancouver, and How to Obtain It

No health insurance system is perfect, but Canada’s is considered world-class, and it functions under the believe that health care is a right for all people living here, not a privilege. Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and many persons on a temporary visa and work permit or study permit have the right to apply for health care from their province or territory of residents (health care and health insurance is the responsibility of the province or territory). The health insurance plan in Vancouver and British Columbia is called the Medical Services Plan (MSP). When you arrive, register to health care should be a priority!

To apply to MSP you have to be:

  • a Canadian citizen,
  • a landed immigrant,
  • a government-assisted refugee,
  • a post-secondary international student with a study permit, or
  • a temporary worker with a work permit for six months or longer

Sign up for Health Insurance in Vancouver:

Because there is a wait period of up to three months before your health insurance in Vancouver will be valid and effective, it is  important to register that you register for MSP as soon as you arrive. During this waiting period, if you need any medical service, you will have to pay for it and it may be very expensive. The best thing to do is to subscribe to a private insurance during this time. Learn more at the British Columbia provincial website here.

In some cases, employers, union or pension plans set up Health Insurance in Vancouver for their employees, so make sure to talk to your employer to verify whether or not this is the case for you. If it is, you don’t need to sign up for it yourself. However, you do not receive MSP from your employer, it’s you’re responsibility to sign up for health care in Vancouver.

To sign up for MSP, the first step is  downloading and completing the application for enrollment. Make sure to fill it out completely and accurately. Next, gather up supporting documents that verify your name and citizen or immigration status in Canada. Make photo copies of these and submit them along with the application.

What’s covered by Health Insurance in Vancouver:

MSP covers all “required” medical services. This includes maternity care, medically required eye examination, diagnostic services and x-rays (when ordered by a specialist), dental and oral surgery  (when required), or orthodontic services related to severe congenital facial abnormalities, and other procedures.

Medical care that is considered as “non necessary” is generally not covered by health insurance in British Columbia. This includes plastic surgery, dental services, acupuncture, prescriptions drugs (though you may get provincial PharmaCare prescription drug insurance), routine eye examinations, services from psychologists or councils and others.

For more information about the MSP, visit the official website by clicking here.

Learn more about’s services, expert relocation professionals and innovative online relocation platform.

Read more helpful information about Vancouver:

Photos: Ilmicrofono Oggiono,



About Yaolin

It wasn’t easy for my parents to relocate from China to Canada. But they worked hard and made their new country into a real home for us. Thanks to their groundwork, my siblings and I received a great education and lots of opportunity. As an adult, I have been able to open up a real estate agency, raise a loving family, and help others tackle their own relocations so they could comfortably settle into their surroundings. Here at, our goal is share our knowledge and understanding of the relocation process so you can realize your dreams, just like I did. // La relocalisation de la Chine au Canada n’a pas été facile pour mes parents. Mais ils ont travaillé dur et ont vraiment fait de leur nouveau pays notre maison. Grâce à leur travail, mes frères et soeurs et moi avons reçu une bonne éducation et beaucoup d’opportunités. A l’âge adulte, j’ai pu ouvrir ma propre agence immobilière, élever une adorable famille et maintenant je suis heureux de pouvoir aider les autres dans leur propre relocalisation. Chez, notre objectif est de partager nos connaissances, notre compréhension du processus de relocalisation afin que vous puissiez aussi réaliser vos rêves comme je l’ai fait.