I came to Canada as a refugee. Am I eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?

The type of coverage you are eligible for depends on your status in Canada.

You may be eligible for the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) if you are a convention refugee or other protected person (as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada); this includes:

  • Government or Privately Sponsored Refugees
  • Inland Claimants that have
  • Protected Person

The IFHP is for resettled refugees, protected persons, refugee claimants, and victims of human trafficking. People detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are also covered.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) or the CBSA decide whether you are eligible for the IFHP. You can find the eligibility requirements on the IRCC website. Some people covered by IFHP will also receive the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage.

Humanitarian Reasons

You may be eligible for temporary OHIP coverage if you have an "emergency authorization" to enter and remain in Canada for humanitarian reasons and live in Ontario.

When your situation involves children or vulnerable people, like survivors of human trafficking, it may be possible to get discretionary IFHP.

Refugee and Asylum Claimants

Your eligibility for health care will vary depending on where you are in the process of your refugee application.

According to StepstoJustice.ca, if you are eligible to make a refugee claim, you have legal status in Canada as a "refugee claimant." You will get an identity document called a Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD).

Your Refugee Protection Claimant Document allows you to get essential healthcare services free of charge through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). IFHP coverage is similar to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

If you were not eligible to make a refugee claim and applied for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), you can still get healthcare through the IFHP. You will get a document called Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment to show to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers.

Undocumented or Without Status

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 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.

Services at Community Health Centres (CHC) help people in your community get health care and attend programs no matter what their OHIP or immigration status is. Most services at CHCs are free for eligible individuals. All services are confidential, and some, such as tests for pregnancy and HIV/AIDS, may be anonymous. You do not need OHIP to access most services at your local CHC.

You can find the Community Health Centre (CHC) in your community through the Ministry of Health's website or by contacting Ontario 211 by phone, text, chat or email. You should contact the location to see if you need an appointment or if they accept walk-in visits.

You can read more about who is eligible for OHIP and what documents you need to apply on the Ministry of Health's website.

For More Information

  • OHIP Eligibility -This webpage explains who is eligible to receive care under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). From the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • Refugee Healthline - Refugee HealthLine is a free, multilingual service and part of Health811 that connects refugees and people arriving through other exceptional humanitarian authorizations to healthcare providers.
  • Health811 - You can call 811 for various health-related questions and concerns. From the Ontario Ministry of Health.
  • TheHealthLine.ca - This website can help you find health and community services in Ontario. From Community Care Access Centres.
  • Pharmacies - Learn about the health care services you can get through your local pharmacy. From the Ontario Ministry of Health.
  • HNUC.org - Health Network for the Uninsured offers information for people without OHIP in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Last updated: March 30, 2023 4001297