International Teaching Assistants

Note: Both Primary Insurance and Secondary Insurance are required.

Note: Both Primary Insurance and Secondary Insurance are required.

For a detailed description of how to get medical insurance coverage as a current TA/TM/Sessional, please visit the Human Resources website

Are you a Research Assistant? 

Benefits for Research Assistants depend on grant holder approval. To be eligible for benefits, your grant holder must provide written authorization to Human Resources stating that the grant will be responsible for 50% of the monthly premiums.


Staying in BC for 6 months or longer? Under the Medicare Protection Act, enrollment with the Medical Services Plan (MSP) is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependents.

Apply for BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) and OPT OUT of

If you already have valid coverage through BC Medical Services Plan (MSP), are studying at SFU under a government sponsored scholarship program, or you are outside of Canada you may be able to opt out of the Plan. To opt out of, visit their website before the deadline

Cost: $281/ term*
Enrollment: Automatic (upon enrollment in classes)
More Info: website

TIP:  Upon request, SFU will provide a partial reimbursement of the premiums for single, couple, or family coverage that you are enrolled in or purchase through the plan. Bring proof of payment (screenshot of student account activity & electronic invoice from for family enrollments) and a copy of your and your family‚Äôs (if applicable) cards to Human Resources for processing.

Common Questions:

What is is a short term primary medical insurance coverage. The goal of is to help you transition while you are waiting for your BC MSP. If you plan to live in BC for more than 6 months, under the Medicare Protection Act, you must enroll with the mandatory BC Medical Services Plan.

How do I get the policy/ certificate number?

You can pick up your card at International Services for Students, Maggie Benston Centre 1200 at the Burnaby Campus. 

You will receive an email from regarding your enrollment, attached will be your policy information which you have to keep for future reference as you will need it for direct billing or to submit a claim. If you have not received an email from, please contact them at

How and when can I opt out of

You should opt out of once you have applied and received proof of your BC MSP enrollment (scan copy of your valid BC CareCard/Services Card, a current invoice or a letter confirming coverage). If you are a TA, you may contact to request a confirmation letter.

 To opt out of, visit their website. Click the "graduate" category and follow the opt-out instructions.

The opt-out periods for are the following:

Fall term: First day of classes until September 30

Spring term: First day of classes until January 30

Summer 2020 term: First day of classes until June 15

Note: changes may not be reflected right away.

Opting-out with BC MSP

In order to successfully opt-out from, please follow the instructions below.

How can I make claims?

When visiting any of the SFU Health Clinics, present your card. They will collect a copy for each visit and will directly bill on your behalf. No additional claim is required. 

For clinics that do not allow direct billing, you will need to pay upfront for the visit. Keep copies of all your payment receipts. To submit a claim, please visit to create an online account and upload copies of your receipts. 

I received my Carecard (MSP) before the end of my first term. May I apply for a partial refund of the 4 month policy?

You may be eligible for a refund of the unused portion of your insurance if you have not made a claim and there is more than 1 month of coverage remaining when you apply through Your application for a partial reimbursement must be received by before the last month of the term (that is, before April 1, August 1 and December 1). If approved, your partial refund will be applied to your SFU account.

Cost: Employee Benefit*
Enrollment: Apply through Human Resources upon arrival
More Info: Human Resources website

No longer a teaching assistant?

Effective September 1, 2019: 

$75/month for study permit holders studying at the post-secondary level*
($37.50 BC MSP premium + $37.50 health care coverage fee)

$37.50 per month for international K-12 students holding a study permit*
($37.50 health care coverage fee)

Effective January 1, 2020:

$75 per month for all study permit holders*
($75 health care coverage fee)

Enrollment: Submit a TSSU Request for Continued Benefit Coverage form prior to your termination, or contact MSP directly to pay as an individual.
More Info: BC MSP website

Common Questions:

What is BC Medical Services Plan (MSP)?

Students staying in BC for 6 months or longer are required to enrol in the British Columbia Medical Services Plan under the Medicare Protection Act. There is a wait period of 2-3 months for newcomers. In order to be covered during the wait period you may purchase a private medical insurance plan through

BC MSP provides primary medical coverage such as:

  • services provided by a doctor
  • X-rays, lab tests (as required by a doctor) 
  • emergency dental and oral surgery in hospital

How and when can I apply for MSP?

You must apply to enroll yourself (and any dependent family members) in the group plan upon arrival. Once you have received your TSSU appointment form, attend a benefit information session and submit a group MSP enrollment form to Human Resources in Strand Hall, Room 2171. If you are an international student, take a copy of your study permit (and immigration documents for your dependent family members), and your Social Insurance Number. If you have questions, please contact

As a new resident of Canada, there is a three month waiting period before MSP coverage can begin (the balance of the month of arrival in BC plus two full calendar months). The plan is designed to provide medical coverage during the waiting period, until you obtain MSP coverage and opt out. Guard Me coverage is automatic for international students. Dependent family members (i.e. spouse and/or dependent children) can be added by applying online.

How does BC MSP work?

When visiting a health clinic or hospital, you will be asked to show your BC Services Card as proof of enrollment. You will not be required to pay for the visit, they will bill BC MSP directly for eligible expenses. 


Graduate students who start their graduate programs in September or January of a given year are automatically enrolled into the GSS Benefit Plan. (May-start students must self-enrol for their first semester at SFU.) If you have an active TSSU appointment, you may also choose to opt into a private extended health plan (Pacific Blue Cross). For more information, visit the Human Resources website.

Cost: $460.48/ academic year*
Enrollment: Automatic (except if entering in summer term)
More Info: GSS Benefit Plan website

Common Questions:

What is the GSS Benefit Plan?

The Graduate Student Society (GSS) health and dental plan is in place to complement primary medical coverage (ie. BC MSP). Coverage includes: vision, dental, health, and travel benefits. 

How and when can I opt out of the GSS Benefit Plan?

You may opt out of the GSS extended health plan if you have existing secondary coverage in BC. To opt out, you will be required to upload proof of coverage on the GSS Health and Dental website during the Change-of-Coverage Period. This will be during the first two weeks of each term. 

Please visit their website for more information. 

How can I make claims?

You can submit health and dental claim forms directly to the insurance company. You may also file claims online through the ihaveaplan mobile app. For more information, and to download the app, click here.

*prices are subject to change without notice