Health Insurance for Returning Canadians & New Permanent Residents

Returning Canadian Residents

Do you have a Canadian passport, but have lived most of your life abroad? Are you returning to Canada to attend university? Read through the information below to find out how to get health insurance coverage as soon as you arrive in Canada. 

Health Care in Ontario

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is Ontario's health care plan. Through OHIP, the province pays for many of the health services you may need. You need to apply and, once approved, you'll get an Ontario Health Card. Your health card is what proves you are covered by OHIP, meaning you'll need to carry it with you at all times. 

What's covered under OHIP? 

OHIP covers a wide range of health services; however, it does not pay for services that are not medically necessary. 

  • Appointments with a family doctor;
  • Visits to walk-in clinics and some other health care providers;
  • Visits to an emergency room;
  • Ambulance services;
  • Medical tests and surgeries. 

What's not covered under OHIP?

  • Prescription drugs provided in a non-hospital setting;
  • Dental services provided in a dentist's office;
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses;
  • Laser eye surgery;
  • Cosmetic surgery. 

*For services not covered under OHIP, some may be covered by the Supplementary Health Insurance Plan that UTMSU provides*

OHIP Eligibility 

You may be eligible for OHIP if you are included in one of the following categories:

  • You are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or are registered as an Indian under the Indian Act;
  • You have submitted an application for permanent residence in Canada, and Citizenship and Immigration Canada has confirmed that you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada; 
  • You are a "protected person" e.g. a Convention Refugee or a person in need of protection


  • You make your primary place of residence in Ontario; 
  • You are in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately following the date you established residence in Ontario (you cannot be absent for more than 30 days during the first 6 months of residence);
  • You are in Ontario for at least 153 days in any 12-month period. 

Applying for OHIP

Step 1: Apply for OHIP

If you meet the above OHIP eligibility, then your first step is to apply!  

  1. You must apply for OHIP in person at a ServiceOntario Centre. It is free to apply! 
  2. You will need to bring the following documents:
    • ​A completed Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage Form
    • Three separate, original, identification documents
      • One that proves your Canadian citizenship or OHIP-eligible immigration status (e.g. Canadian birth certificate, Canadian passport, Permanent Resident Card)
      • One that proves you live in Ontario (e.g. Ontario Driver's License, Ontario Photo Card, recent income tax assessment, Proof of Residency letter for residence students)
      • One that supports your identity - must include name and signature (e.g. credit card, passport from any country, T-Card) 
  3. Once your application is approved, the clerk at the ServiceOntario Centre will give you a Transaction Record. It can take up to three months for your OHIP coverage to become effective after you apply, and the Transaction Record will state the coverage start date. 

Step 2: Opt-In to UHIP

During this three month waiting period, you can opt-in to the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). UHIP has equivalent coverage to OHIP, and will cover your medical expenses while you wait for your OHIP coverage to become effective. 

To opt-in:

  1. Bring your Transaction Record, T-Card, and Pre-Approved Health Care Plan Form (OHIP) to the International Education Centre
  2. The UHIP Office will enrol you into the plan and a charge of $57 per month will be posted to your ACORN account
  3. Once your OHIP becomes effective, you will use that plan moving forward

Visitors to Ontario

If you are visiting Ontario from another Canadian province or territory, or you are an international student, you do not qualify for OHIP. 

Students from other provinces should find out what your provincial/territorial plan or private health insurance plan will cover before you take your trip to Ontario. 

International fee-paying students are not eligible for OHIP, as they are covered under UHIP