Vaccinations for adults and children
Vaccinations (also called immunizations) are one of the best ways to protect yourself and your children from getting serious diseases. In Canada, every province and territory has a vaccination program to protect adults and children from a number of diseases. You should ask a doctor what vaccinations you and your children need.
Before your children start school, you can arrange to have them vaccinated against certain diseases through your doctor or pediatrician (a doctor who specializes in treating children) or through a public health clinic. You will receive a vaccination record, which you may have to provide to your child’s school. Verify what your province or territory’s law is regarding vaccination.
Adults also need vaccinations throughout their life. If you were not fully vaccinated against preventable diseases before coming to Canada, you should contact a doctor or local public health clinic to schedule an appointment to be vaccinated. More information can be found at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/index-eng.php.
During the immigration medical examination you had before becoming a Canadian resident, you may have been told that you need to report to the “public health authorities” when you arrive in Canada. This is known as “medical surveillance.” You must contact the public health authority in the province or territory where you live within 30 days after entering Canada. Public health authorities will check to see if you are in good health and arrange any medical follow-up you may need. If you do not report to the public health authority, you may not be able to move on to the next steps in the immigration process, so it is very important that you do this as soon as possible. After you complete your required immigration medical assessment, no future changes to your health will affect your immigration status.
Pregnancy and maternity benefits
Contact your local health service centre or hospital to see a doctor or nurse, or for help and support before and after your baby is born. They can give you information about sexual health, pregnancy, prenatal development, childbirth and maternity. They can also provide information on registering the birth and obtaining an official birth certificate as well as prenatal courses, nursing care and a way to meet other new parents. Most importantly they offer medical help and advice.
Working mothers in Canada can take maternity leave. If you are pregnant and working, you may be able to take paid leave from your employer for a set period of time. Employment Insurance (EI) provides benefits to eligible parents who are expecting or have recently had a baby. You can get more information from the provincial ministry responsible for labour or from a Service Canada Centre (see the Blue Pages or www.servicecanada.gc.ca for a location near you).
Access to prescription drugs
All necessary medication given within a Canadian hospital setting is provided at no cost.
Most Canadians also have insurance coverage that pays part of the cost of prescription medicines. This coverage may be provided through public or private insurance plans. Provincial and territorial governments offer varying levels of prescription drug coverage, with different requirements and costs. Most publicly funded drug programs generally provide insurance coverage for the people who need it most, based on age, income and medical condition. Many employers offer private insurance plans for their employees.
For more details, please contact your provincial or territorial ministry of health.
Mental health and addiction services
If you or someone you know is experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, a psychiatric disorder, an addiction or any other mental health problem, there is help available. You can talk to your family doctor or visit a medical clinic. You can also call one of the distress service telephone numbers listed in the front pages of the telephone book. In a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
Source: Welcome to Canada: What you should know
www.cic.gc.ca, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2013.