How can I find a family doctor?

There is a shortage of family doctors in some areas in Ontario. It may take you some time to find a doctor.

A family doctor is also called a general practitioner (GP). Family doctors are usually the first doctors to diagnose and treat most medical problems. If you need to see a specialist, usually, you will need a referral from your family doctor. Family doctors also order laboratory and other tests for general checkups.

How do I choose a family doctor?

Here are a few ways you can look for a family doctor:

  • Ask a friend or family member if their doctor is accepting new patients.
  • Register with Health Care Connect. This program refers you to a local doctor or nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients. You need to have OHIP to use this service and must not be currently registered with an Ontario family healthcare provider. It is run by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. You can register with this program by filling out an online form or by calling 1-800-445-1822 (TTY 1-866-797-0007).
  • Use the Doctor Search found on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website. This search is helpful for finding doctors who speak your language.
  • Ask the nearest community hospital if it has a family practice unit.
  • You can also ask a worker at your local settlement agency. They might have a list of healthcare providers who are accepting new patients or who speak your language. To find help, go to Services Near Me and search for "settlement services" in your area.

When you contact a healthcare provider's office, you should ask if they are accepting new patients.

Does the doctor need to see my Health (OHIP) Card?

Your doctor's office will check your OHIP card number, version code, and expiry date. If you haven't received your new card yet, you should bring the paper printout you received from the Service Ontario office with you.

If the service is covered by OHIP, the doctor will charge the fees to OHIP, and you do not have to pay. OHIP only covers services that are medically necessary.

Where can I get medical help if I don't have a family doctor?

You still have healthcare options if you don't have Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP). Some doctors accept patients with private health insurance or who can pay for their services.

If you are not covered by OHIP, you may be able to access care through a student-run clinic in your area. These clinics offer a variety of healthcare services. You can also go to a Community Health Centre (CHC). CHCs have health professionals such as doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners on staff.

If you are pregnant without OHIP and plan to give birth in Ontario, you may wish to contact a midwife. Midwives provide care to all residents of their catchment area, regardless of OHIP eligibility.

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For More Information

  • Your Health Care Options - Information and links about your options to get health care in Ontario. You can search the directory by location and type of services. It is run by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • Refugee HealthLine - Call this line (1-866-286-4770), for free, to register for help in being connected with a health service provider who can assist with initial medical assessments and referral to other health services. This is not an emergency or crisis line.
  • Rainbow Health Ontario Service Directory - This directory includes doctors and healthcare professionals who deliver inclusive LGBTQIA+ services.
  • Directory - Doctors accepting new patients in the Peel Region. From Trillium Health Partners.
Last updated: November 7, 2023 4001217