Home » Blog » #immigration » Introductory Guide to OHIP/MSP Waiting Periods

Last updated on December 21st, 2021

Excited to start your new life in Canada? Or returning home after a long time abroad? Your bags are packed and tickets booked but is there something missing?

Whether you are landing in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Yukon or Saskatchewan – in most cases you will have to wait until provincial coverage kicks in. Make sure you familiarize yourself with those limitations and the ways to protect yourself during your stay.

During the waiting period, you may be able to purchase private health insurance through a private insurance company if you meet the company’s eligibility requirements.

Feel free to ask us any questions regarding your waiting period or private coverage while you wait for provincial health care to kick in. We’ll get back to your shortly.

And here is the breakdown of waiting periods in each province:

OHIP – Ontario

The waiting period begins on the date you establish or re-establish residence in Ontario. If you are an eligible temporary resident, such as a foreign worker who meets the citizenship and residence requirements described in Ontario’s Health Insurance Act, the waiting period begins on the date you establish residence in Ontario.

Your coverage begins after the waiting period expires – after 3 calendar months.

You have to also be physically present in Ontario for 153 days of the first 183 days after the day you apply for OHIP. Violations may result in any claimed amounts to be clawed back.

Visit your local ServiceOntario centre to learn more about your eligibility for OHIP.  To find the nearest ServiceOntario centre, go to ServiceOntario.ca/findservices.


MSP – British Columbia

New residents or persons re-establishing residence in B.C. are eligible for coverage after completing a wait period that normally consists of the balance of the month of arrival plus two months. For example, if an eligible person arrives during the month of July, coverage is available October 1. If absences from Canada exceed a total of 30 days during the wait period, eligibility for coverage may be affected.

You should apply for MSP coverage immediately after arriving in B.C., rather than at the end of the wait period, to allow time for your application to be processed. To be eligible the person must be physically present in BC for at least 6 months in a calendar year.

New residents from other parts of Canada should maintain coverage with their former medical plan during the wait period. New or returning residents arriving from outside Canada should contact a private insurance company for coverage during this period.

Visit your local Service BC Centres to learn more about your eligibility for MSP.

Some individuals may be deemed residents and therefore are eligible for MSP. You can contact MSP for more information.

MSP Important Information

Saskatchewan, Yukon and Quebec

Generally speaking, if you arrive in Québec from outside Canada, even if you are a Canadian citizen, you will be eligible for the Québec Health Insurance Plan after a waiting period of up to 3 months following your registration.

You will not be reimbursed for healthcare you receive during the waiting period. To save you from having to pay for any healthcare services that you or your family members may need, it is strongly recommended that you take out private insurance within 5 days following your arrival in Québec. Thereafter, coverage is more difficult to obtain.

Saskatchewan health care waiting period is similar to that of MSP BC.


To find out about the private coverage during the waiting period you can refer to the insurance calculator:



#immigration | #insurance
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