By Iman Khan

Every fresh immigrant or newcomer to Ontario is entitled to state-funded health care benefits, or the OHIP. While most of your healthcare needs are covered under this plan, services deemed unnecessary from a medical standpoint (e.g. cosmetic surgery) are not paid for. OHIP also does not cover dental plans, unless you are a family with a gross annual income of less than CAD20,000 in which case you may be entitled to other options.

Follow these easy steps to apply for your OHIP photo health card today!

Click here to find out if you have a three-month waiting period before your OHIP coverage kicks in.

  1.  Identify a ServiceOntario Centre closest to you.
  2.  Determine your eligibility for OHIP. This option is open to Canadian citizens, permanent residence holders or newcomers belonging to specific groups identified by the government (including Temporary Residence Permit holders).  Newcomers, fresh immigrants, and permanent residents have to have the intent to establish residency in the province. It is also imperative that they have been in Ontario in person for duration of a 153 days within a 12-month period; and also be physically present in the province for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after establishing residency in Ontario.
  3.  Complete, sign and date the OHIP application forms for yourself and each one of your family members. Download the form here.
  4. Arrive at the ServiceOntario centre of your choice (at an early time if you plan on going over the weekend to avoid the late morning rush) and submit your application at a service counter. Do not forget to take with you all the necessary documents including proof of identity as well as proof of address (utility bills, copy of your bank statement etc)
  5. You will be instantly provided with an OHIP number that entitles you to health care throughout the province. Your photo health card is mailed to you within 4-6 weeks after registration.

TIP: If you are based out of the west-end of the GTA, and if it is within your means, give priority to the ServiceOntario center based at the intersection of Dundas St. and Erindale Station. This particular location has several counters and is well-equipped to serve a large volume of people at a time, is a designated bilingual location and takes health card services by appointment.

Visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for detailed information on the OHIP and how you can receive medical care for you and your loved ones in the province of Ontario.

About the Author

Iman Khan is a modest fashion evangelist and the creative founder of

Was this article helpful for you? Share with us on our discussion forum, your experiences at the ServiceOntario center and applying for your Ontario Health Insurance Plan.