According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CIBE), there were 265,377 international students studying in Canada in 2012. That number continues to grow. Based on Statistics Canada reporting, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island lead the country, behind only British Columbia, in international student populations at Canadian universities. Again, this is a number that is steadily on the rise.

The decision for an international student to study in Canada is not typically a straightforward and simple one. In addition to leaving friends, family and the comfort of their home cultures, there is the cost associated with a significant move, the work of applying to schools abroad, visa requirements that must be met, housing to be found, and sometimes, language issues to contend with. One essential aspect of international study that many Canada-bound students may not recognize, however, is the need, and in some cases the deal-breaking requirement, for health coverage. Students considering a post-secondary education in Canada should take the following factors into consideration.


The facts are that health coverage is required for international students studying in Canada, and each province determines whether or not these students are covered provincially. What is available in one province, may not be available in another. In Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, health coverage is not offered by the province, and so each student is responsible for obtaining private health coverage if it is not provided by their campus.


A primary factor to consider when looking at health coverage is ensure that your coverage suits the length of time you will be studying in Canada. For students here less than six months, usually emergency or short-term coverage will take care of your needs.


In some cases, students may already be covered by health plans depending on the coverage provided by the policies of parents and spouses. These cases are rare, but can include military, diplomatic and other similar situations.


Students bringing family members with them to Canada will have to consider coverage for them as well. Typically, your best line of action is to contact Student Services at the institution you will be attending to discuss requirements and options available to you, regardless of circumstance. The experts at Cooke Insurance Group can also guide you in obtaining the best coverage to suit your particular situation. We offer a wide range of personal and health care options, and with your regulations and requirements met, international students studying in Canada can put the preparatory work behind them, and focus on school. Cooke is always happy to help new Canadians – short term and long term – in realizing their goals. Click here or call 1-800-566-5666 for an estimate before class is in session.

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