A question came up in the Facebook group regarding Canadian citizenship, travel insurance and keeping your basic provincial health care while traveling long term.

Our experience had been different than others who posted, so we decided to write to the federal government to find out their official position on traveling and how it affects your eligibility for provincial medical coverage.

Believing it would take weeks, or perhaps months to hear from our government, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from them within a week! Sometimes the wheels do move…

The overall position of the government is that a Canadian can reside anywhere in the world and for any length of time without affecting their citizenship. There are no restrictions.

So that answers that.

Your provincial health coverage may vary from province to province on how long you can be out of province before your benefits cease and you have to reapply for them.

They say, “… Canadian provincial medical insurance rarely covers the full cost and does not pay upfront. If you seek treatment out-of-country without prior approval from your provincial health insurance plan, you may be required to pay the full cost of the services received…” and as such, you should purchase the most comprehensive supplemental insurance you can.

The suggested norm is one must reside within their province of coverage for 180 days per year to ensure your benefits remain active.

The bottom line is that your provincial health insurance is not valid outside of Canada. Your province or territory may not pay any or a portion of medical bills incurred out of country. Some foreign hospitals demand funds upfront in order to treat you.  An example they use is a Canadian’s provincial health insurance had lapsed three weeks when involved in an accident overseas.  The person’s family had to raise 300K to have the individual treated and returned to Canada.

So, you need to look for a package of travel insurance that will, at the minimum, cover you for medical treatment/hospitalization, medical evacuation and repatriation to Canada in case of death.

You will want to try to find something that will cover you if you have a pre-existing condition, as well as trip interruption, loss of luggage, and other travel related benefits.

There are numerous ways to find and buy travel insurance and you will have to do your own due diligence in finding what you need.   Buy the best insurance you can afford. If you ever need it, it will pay for itself.

Your next choice, if you stay out of Canada long enough or are planning an extended trip during which you will go over your 180 days, is replacement insurance or expat insurance. There are a number of providers of this type of coverage.

Nora Dunn has written an excellent blog on this subject and well worth a read. She has written another blog on comparing basic travel insurance and expat insurance. These two articles will bring you well on your way to determining which you need and which works best for you.

Below are a number of other sites you can browse. We don’t have any relationship with the listed sites nor do we vouch for any of them. Personally, we utilized All State Travel Insurance and it worked well for us.

Safe Travels




Government of Canada : https://travel.gc.ca/travelling
Citizenship and Immigration Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/
Nora Dunn The Professional Hobo: http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/about-the-professional-hobo/
Well on our way – A Canadian’s guide to travel abroad: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/publications/well-on-your-way#travel_health_tips

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