Canada has been rated one of the best places to live because of its health care program. All residents of Canada have access to medical care. This is based on their need and regardless of their ability to pay.
In Canada, health care is publicly funded by both the federal and provincial governments. Nova Scotia’s Medical Services Insurance (MSI) is the provincial plan. It pays for the cost of:
- Medically required doctors’ services
- Some dental and optometric services
- Doctor referred specialist visits
- Certain hospital in-patient and out-patient services
Many employers offer their employees additional health care coverage to help cover the costs of prescriptions and other health services (ex. physiotherapy).
You can also apply for private health care insurance on your own.
NOTE: You should apply for your Nova Scotia Health Card (MSI) as soon as you arrive to Canada. To apply visit the Government of Nova Scotia website.
Hospitals and Clinics in Nova Scotia
To see all hospitals and clinics in Nova Scotia listed by the District Health Authority, visit the Nova Scotia Provincial Government website.
911 is an emergency only contact number that can be dialed anywhere in Nova Scotia. Wherever the call is made, you will be connected to the nearest emergency service provider. If you call it for anything other than an emergency, you could be fined.
Ambulance services are available throughout Nova Scotia, for both emergencies and patient transfers. Both types require a fee.
Medications and prescriptions
A doctor or nurse practitioner may choose to prescribe a medication to treat your condition. You can take a prescription to one of many pharmacies in drug stores, large grocery stores and some hospitals. A pharmacist will take the prescription and issue medications. It is important that you share any health problems and allergies with your doctor or nurse practitioner and pharmacist, and tell them what other medication you are currently taking.
Your pharmacist will tell you about any possible complications that can arise from using the prescribed medication. They can also answer questions and address your health concerns.
Prescription medications are not covered by MSI. Private or complementary health insurance may help with the cost of prescription drugs.
In Canada, seeking help or counselling with your mental health is not looked upon as a sign of weakness. It is accepted as a way to improve our emotional well being.
When immigrating and settling, your mental health can sometimes be affected. There are many factors that could be a source of distress such as unemployment, being away from family and friends, financial instability and language or cultural differences.
The Nova Scotia Hospital offers a broad range of mental health programs in the Capital Health district. Resources such as the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Public Health Agency of Canada can help you with information on mental health, and direct you to other resources.
211 community and social services
211 is a service offered in Nova Scotia to help residents find community and social services. By dialling 211 on your phone or visiting the 211 website, users will easily and quickly be connected to the community and social services they need, wherever they are in the province. 211 offers interpretation services for over 100 languages.
811 non-emergency health information
When you dial 811 on your phone, a registered nurse can answer your health questions, and give you advice and information you need. 811 can support callers in more than 120 languages. More information can be found on the 811 website.