Navigating Quebec's Health System on a Working Holiday Visa: A Detailed Guide

Table of contents

Navigating Quebec's Health System on a Working Holiday Visa: A Detailed Guide

The journey to Canada on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV) involves numerous steps. Even after you arrive, there’s a whole new world to understand, including the culture, transportation, and the health system. This article aims to help you navigate the Quebec health system and avoid potential pitfalls that could lead to serious trouble.

1. Public or Private Insurance?

Only a few European countries have social security agreements with Canada. However, under a WHV, you must obtain private insurance. Before selecting an insurance provider, shop around to find the best company and coverage that maximizes services while minimizing costs. You must present proof of insurance upon entering the country.

2. Read Your Insurance Contract Carefully

Insurance contracts vary between companies and can contain unexpected clauses. Take the time to thoroughly read your contract to understand what is covered and what is not. It’s crucial to know the specifics of your coverage, such as whether you have a deductible or if you need to pay upfront and request reimbursement later. Additionally, be aware of any coverage limits.

3. Keep Your Receipts When Visiting the ER

Some insurance companies require you to pay for medical expenses upfront and then submit a claim for reimbursement. In such cases, you will need the original receipts or copies for any health-related expenses. Your insurance provider might also require advance notice before visiting the ER to open a claim file. Regardless of your situation, keep detailed records of all health-related expenses, including the nature of the care received and the costs incurred.

4. Favor Private Clinics

If you’re not covered by the public health system, it’s highly recommended to visit private clinics instead of the ER. The costs at private clinics are significantly lower than the fees at the ER. In hospitals, you will have to pay for care, exams, and administrative fees. Additionally, waiting times in private clinics are usually shorter.

5. Get Informed Before You Need Medical Care

The best way to save time and money is to familiarize yourself with the health system and procedures before you need medical attention. When you’re ill or injured, you won’t be in the best condition to analyze information and make decisions. Preparation is key to handling medical situations efficiently.


Understanding the Quebec health system can be challenging, especially for newcomers on a Working Holiday Visa. By securing the right private insurance, reading your insurance contract carefully, keeping detailed records of medical expenses, choosing private clinics over the ER, and getting informed ahead of time, you can navigate the system more smoothly and avoid potential pitfalls. Preparation and knowledge are your best tools in ensuring a safe and enjoyable stay in Quebec.

Get started with Doctr

Learn More about our healthcare solutions.