Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Advice - General #2

Provincial Health Care Eligibility - If you are relocating to Canada, you, and possibly your family, will need to be covered by your provincial health insurance plan. In Ontario one must be issued a work permit valid for at least six months to be eligible for OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). The employer's intent to hire the main applicant must be for three years for an accompanying spouse and/or children to be eligible. Note the difference. The intent to hire can be stated easily in a job offer letter (signed on letterhead). An employer unfamiliar with hiring a non-Canadian may be hesitant to put such a statement in writing. You may reassure them that by doing so, they do not waive their future right to terminate a lousy employee. The advice here is that communicating all this beforehand avoids possible long delays re-writing or amending offer letters to include the appropriate statements or dates. You will need the original, signed offer letter when applying for OHIP at Service Ontario.

Health Care Benefits Waiting Period - Depending on the province, you may have a waiting period to use the health care insurance plan. In Ontario for example, the wait is three months beginning on the first day of your residence. To get an OHIP card and take advantage of the benefits you must apply with Service Ontario during that three month period. Apply earlier rather than later as it may take several weeks to receive the card(s).

Oh, and...
If you, like Eric and I, make the decision to risk not having any health insurance during the waiting period, please note that in case of an unexpected sniffle, there are walk-in health clinics where one can pay cash for services at very reasonable rates.

Legal Canadian Work Status for Families - Your spouse or children may also be eligible for Canadian work permits if yours is valid for six months or longer. Other restrictions apply but, if HRSDC has issued an LMO, chances are those requirements already are covered. Work permit applications are processed and issued at the appropriate Canadian Consulate or by Immigration at a border crossing. All can apply together initially on one application, or the family can wait and do so individually after landing. As the main applicant, your work permit will be tied to a specific employer. Your spouse (common law partner) and children may apply for an "open" permit that will allow them to work anywhere.

In our case...
Eric's employer applied for a three year LMO. HRSDC issued the LMO for two years stating that the job market was too uncertain for a longer period. We applied for our work permits with Canadian Immigration at the Queenston/Lewiston Bridge at the border crossing near Niagara Falls, NY. Eric's work permit was issued for two years. I obtained an "open" work permit as his "common law" partner. In regard to provincial health insurance, we both qualified; Eric based on the length of his work permit and I based on his employer's intent to hire him for three or more years. As mentioned above, the intent was stated on the original, signed job offer letter (on letterhead) which we submitted to Service Ontario along with our residential lease (as proof of residency) and my own two year work permit. 


ErinOrtlund said...

For anyone reading who isn't moving to Ontario, definitely check with your province. There is no wait for healthcare in Saskatchewan, although it did take a few weeks to get our healthcards.

Adam said...

Yup. All depends. I altered my wording to make the point more explicit. Thanks.