Medical treatment

Doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacies

Medical treatment

In Canada, there are numerous types of doctors, from general practitioners (GP) and Family Doctors to specialists such as cardiologists, dermatologists, dentists, etc.

Doctors / GPs

For all non-emergency health matters, your first point of contact with the health system will be your General Practitioner (GP) or a Physician. All specialized services and treatment are then available through a referral from your GP. One of the first things you should do when you arrive in Canada is find a suitable General Practitioner or Physician. Ask your contacts or family, or even neighbours about finding one.


Pharmacies are located in many areas of major city centers. They are usually privately owned, but regulated by the provincial pharmaceutical body. Pharmacies will usually have all common medication in stock and provide prompt service for prescription medicines. Prices for prescription medications in Canada are regulated, so cost less than in some other countries, such as the US for example. There are also over-the-counter medicines for which you do not require a prescription, such as painkillers and allergy remedies. These types of medication can be purchased both in pharmacies and in drugstores.


Dental care is very costly in Canada and it is not covered by provincial health plans. Usually, you will need to purchase insurance that covers a portion or all of your dental expenses, or the coverage might be provided by your employer. Educational institutions in Canada require foreigners to sign up for their group health plans that cover some part of dental expenses.


Vision care is no longer covered by the public health plan in Ontario and other provinces. For regular checkups and any other vision related matters, you will have to pay for the services either by using your private coverage, or employment coverage or out of your own pocket.

Further reading

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