- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Vancouver Guide (PDF)
Canada offers its residents a universal, government-funded health system that has long been the subject of debate. The Canadian healthcare system is managed on a provincial level, and although it remains uniform for the most part, it is ultimately subject to the adjustments of the separate provinces.
Expats with permanent residency in Vancouver qualify to enrol for this public health insurance, called the British Columbia Medical Service Plan (MSP), and should do so as soon as possible.
There is a three-month waiting period between application and when coverage begins, and during this time it’s crucial that expats maintain their personal or employer-sponsored private health insurance. Expats can start to take advantage of MSP once they receive their CareCard with their Personal Health Number.
Those who don’t qualify for the state-sponsored health insurance plan should be sure to take out private health insurance for the duration of their stay.
Regardless of how expats finance their healthcare in Vancouver, they can rest assured that top-quality healthcare is available in British Columbia.
Expats should note that the MSP does not cover dental, eye care, prescription medicines or extended health services, such as ambulances. It is necessary to obtain private coverage for this. In many cases, this is offered by an employer.
Hospitals in Vancouver
Below is a list of some of the most prominent hospitals in Vancouver:
St Paul’s Hospital
Address: 1081 Burrard Street Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1Y6
BC Children’s Hospital
Address: 4480 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3N1
BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre
Address: 4500 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3N1
Mount Saint Joseph’s Hospital
Address: 3080 Prince Edward Street, Vancouver, BC, V5T 3N4
►Getting Around Vancouver provides an overview of transport options in the city
►Areas and Suburbs gives an insight into neighbourhoods in Vancouver
"Vancouver’s healthcare is world class. Residents of British Columbia have a BC Service Card that provides medical coverage at any hospital in the city. Residents pay a reduced fee for healthcare service that is just a fraction of what similar healthcare in the United States would cost. Sometimes people complain about the healthcare (long waits for non-emergency surgeries) –however, the system has many positives and relieves the stress of millions of people in the province."
Read more about American expat Cyrus's experiences in Vancouver.
Are you an expat living in Vancouver?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Vancouver. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
GeoBlue is one of the best international health insurance plans for US expats abroad or internationals residing in the USA. The GeoBlue Xplorer plan includes worldwide coverage and great customer service with access to a premium international network of hospitals and doctors including the Blue Cross Blue Shield network in the USA.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.