Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding from Pexels
As part of the relief effort to help Ukrainians fleeing the war, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will soon be implementing immigration options for Ukrainians who want to come to Canada both temporarily and permanently.
For those who want to establish a temporary home in Canada, our government will create a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel.
There is no quota on the number of people allowed to apply and come to Canada. With this measure, most of the normal visa requirements are being lifted or simplified. It is the single most efficient and safest way to come to Canada for Ukrainian nationals displaced by the armed conflict in the region. All citizens of Ukraine will be able to use this new stream to apply to Canada with a possibility of extending their stay for up to 2 years after a background and security screening.
The Government of Canada has also announced that these programs will have exemptions for unvaccinated and not-fully vaccinated individuals from Ukraine who wish to come to Canada.
In the meantime, Ukrainians are urged to apply for other immigration streams and their application processing will be prioritized.
The Canadian Government also realizes that immediate and extended family members of Canadian Citizens and permanent residents might want to relocate to Canada. There will be a special family reunification pathway program for permanent residence. More details will follow and we will promptly update our website with new information.
All Ukrainian nationals who come to Canada under one of these programs will be able to apply for an Open Work Permit making it easier to hire Ukrainians for Canadian employers. All of these measures will be introduced for people who cannot safely return home.
Health Insurance for Temporary Residents and Visitors to Canada
It’s worth noting that Canadian health insurance programs are severely limited for people coming to Canada as temporary residents such as tourists, international students and work permit holders.
More specifically to the current situation in Ukraine, while people coming to Canada will be able to apply for a work permit shortly after landing they would have to meet other eligibility requirements in order to receive provincial health medical coverage.
Unfortunately, not every province and territory in Canada allows work permit holders to apply for provincial insurance unless they are employed full-time i.e. in Ontario or meet other conditions depending on the province of their residence.
As for people staying in Canada on a visitor’s visa, such privilege is not available and they would need to purchase private insurance for Visitors to Canada.
Medical Coverage for Newcomers and Returning Canadian Residents
As permanent residents and, depending on the province of residence, work permit holders can apply for coverage under Canada’s health insurance system. However, they may have to wait before becoming eligible for the Provincial Health insurance.
For example, in Ontario, Yukon and Quebec the waiting period is 3 months, while in BC it is 2 months plus the remainder of the month they arrived in Canada. As for Saskatchewan, you can receive provincial insurance on the first day of the third month after arriving in Canada.
On the other hand, in Alberta, Manitoba and some Atlantic provinces there is no waiting time to get the coverage if you arrive from another country.
With that said, you may have to wait for up to 3 months prior to getting public health insurance.
It is highly recommended to obtain temporary private health insurance policy to cover any emergency medical care needs you may have during this time. This insurance is often referred to as the Visitors to Canada insurance that is also designed for temporary residents including temporary foreign workers, returning Canadian nationals as well as new immigrants to Canada.
How does Private Insurance in Canada work?
Temporary health insurance will help protect you from unexpected losses due to emergencies. When you are a new immigrant or a work permit holder, the last thing you need is to be burdened by medical bills, which could be extremely high in case you or your family member end up in a hospital or have a medical emergency.
Private insurance in Canada offers substantial financial protection against the unforeseen medical care needs. Most commonly, temporary health insurance policies include the following benefits: hospitalization, ambulance, diagnostic services such as x-rays, paramedical treatment, prescription medications and physician’s services.
In addition, dental emergencies are usually covered as well, up to a certain amount, depending on the insurance company. You are also covered should you decide to take a trip outside of Canada as long as the majority of your coverage period is spent in Canada. However, you should monitor Canada’s travel advisory to keep up to date with the latest developments since COVID-19 pandemic has not been declared over.
There are still a few things worth mentioning about the Visitors to Canada policies. Firstly, this is the only type of insurance that is available to newcomers and returning Canadians awaiting their provincial health coverage. It is also important to remember that these plans should be purchased before the arrival to Canada in order to avoid any waiting period.
We get many questions about whether this insurance covers regular check ups, pregnancies and child’s immunizations. Unfortunately, these are all considered “routine care” in the insurance world and, therefore, are not covered.
Please call us at 1-877-211-4301 or send us an email to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you find the best coverage for you and your family. Being financially secured during your settlement in a new country should be the least of your worries!