New arrivals will be pleased to find that Canada’s clean and green capital city of Ottawa offers excellent healthcare facilities and first-rate practitioners. Generally, all doctors and medical staff will speak fluent English, French or both.

Medical facilities in Ottawa

Ottawa Public Health, the city’s arm of government health services, administers public healthcare in the metropolis.

Public hospitals in Ottawa provide a good standard of care, but waiting lists can be long. Another challenge expats face is finding family doctors or general practitioners (GPs). Most family doctors in Ottawa have long lists of patients, and many clinics place limitations on accepting new patients.

We recommend that expats ask co-workers and friends for information on any doctors still accepting new patients. Expats can also contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for assistance in finding a GP.

While waiting to find a doctor, expats can still visit their local walk-in clinic for emergencies or check-ups. Walk-in medical clinics in Ottawa provide prompt medical care for sick patients who do not have a family doctor. Nurses will generally see the patients for most minor illnesses, while those with potentially life-threatening cases will be referred to doctors for further investigation and treatment. Appointments are not usually necessary, but it is best to call before visiting to check the opening hours, as they are subject to change. 

Health insurance in Ottawa

Ottawa falls under the province of Ontario, so expats living in the city can access the province's publicly funded healthcare system, which is available through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Citizens and expats make OHIP contributions through automatic tax deductions from their salaries.

Expats should note that there is a three-month waiting period before OHIP coverage starts. They should therefore apply for their OHIP card as soon as they arrive in the city. Additionally, new arrivals should be sure to purchase private health insurance to ensure they are covered during the waiting period.

Prescription medicines, dentistry and optometry are not part of the OHIP coverage, except under special conditions, so expats will be required to pay for these services. Most expats living in Ottawa will have additional private health insurance, often provided by their employer, to cover these costs.

Patients typically have to pay out of pocket for prescription medicines and submit their receipts to their private health insurance provider to be reimbursed.

Hospitals in Ottawa

Below are some of the most well-respected hospitals in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Hospital 

Address: 501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa

Queensway Carleton Hospital

Address: 3045 Baseline Rd, Nepean

University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Address: 40 Ruskin St, Ottawa

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Address: 401 Smyth Rd, Ottawa

Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre

Address: 1145 Carling Ave, Ottawa 

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance -

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.

Get a quote from Cigna Global

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