Health care in Canada & WHV: what you need to know for Quebec

last updated on 13 August 2021 at 9:00 am (Montreal time)

The health care system in Canada Canada's health care system is among the best in the world and stands out from its American neighbour. An efficient health care system is one of many reasons for which Francophones from all over the world decide to settle here.

Canada has many modern facilities and many reputable specialists providing high quality care. Despite the quality of Canada's universal healthcare system, it has had to adapt to the changing needs of the population and consulting a doctor can be very expensive if you are not well insured. Familiarise yourself with the Canadian healthcare system and the insurance requirements for your WHP or young professional expatriation.

Canada's health care system & WHV: Health insurance, drug insurance and group insurance: what you need to know

Health insurance

The Quebec Health Insurance (RAMQ) is the equivalent of the French CPAM and covers routine medical care, expenses related to doctors' consultations and basic hospital services.

As a result, some care is not covered, such as

  • Consultations in private clinics
  • Dental and optical care (except in special cases)
  • Alternative medicine (acupuncture, dietician, naturopath...)
  • Doctors and practitioners who do not accept RAMQ

Group insurance

Group insurance (equivalent to a mutual insurance company in France) is a private insurance often offered by employers that will reimburse expenses not covered by the public system (dental, optical, massage therapy, etc.) 

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Prescription medication coverage

Drug insurance is compulsory and covers the costs of exchanging prescription medicines. The drugs are not free and you will pay a portion of the cost (your contribution). When you register with the RAMQ for the first time, you are also registered for drug insurance.

Please note that if you have private group insurance (for example, through your employer or your spouse's employer), the drug insurance is covered by this private insurance plan. You will need to notify the RAMQ to deregister from the public system.

Healthcare System in Canada: How the health care system works in Quebec

In order to benefit from Canadian public health services, you must be affiliated to the Quebec plan: the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). Please note that these services are reserved for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and holders of certain work permits valid for more than 6 months (e.g.: young professional permit, open permit attached to a closed permit...).

Pvts with an open work permit (not attached to a closed work permit) are unfortunately not eligible. You can consult here the eligibility requirements.

For your eligibility to the RAMQ, you must observe a waiting period that can last up to 3 months after your registration. This period is called the " waiting period ". An agreement with France has been put in place to avoid the 3-month waiting period: you will have to fill out the attestation form relating to the totalization of periods of maternity health insurance, known as the SE 401-Q-207. Once you are affiliated to the RAMQ, you will lose your rights to your health insurance in your country of origin (e.g. CPAM)

To obtain the form you must make an appointment at the International Relations Department of the CPAM.


Canada's health care system: why buy insurance before you leave on a WHV or Young Professional (YP)?

To go to Canada under the EIC program (PVT, young professional...etc), international health insurance is mandatory. It will cover you for repatriation, hospitalisation and urgent or unexpected illnesses.

If you do not have this document, the Canadian authorities may refuse you access to the country. The attestation must be for the same duration as your work permit (generally 2 years). If you decide to take out insurance for a period shorter than that of your work permit, you may also be refused entry or have it shortened by the same amount of time as your insurance certificate. Here is an extract from the official website :


As you can see, health care and hospitalization will be covered by the RAMQ (if you are entitled to it according to your licence) but not repatriation.

Repatriation As repatriation is compulsory to arrive in Canada, you must have travel insurance covering repatriation to Canada.

Canada's health system: travel insurance for peace of mind

A health insurance is imperative to allow you to enter the country but also in case something happens to you during the waiting period or after, depending on your work permit.


Canada & WHV health system: how to protect your health in Canada?

Chapka, a leading player in travel insurance, offers insurance solutions to protect your health abroad. To guide you in your journey to Canada, Cap Working Holiday, from Chapka will be the perfect solution for your departure via the EIC programme.

The offer Cap Working Holiday includes : 

  • 100% reimbursement of your medical expenses and hospitalisation abroad
  • Coverage under COVID-19 (the certificate you will receive will comply with the requirements for entry into Canada)
  • Medical repatriation in case of emergency;
  • Baggage insurance in case of loss, theft or destruction;
  • Assistance guarantees (legal aid, early return, visit to a sick relative, etc.).


Exclusive MAPLR partnership:
Get 5% off your travel insurance!


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