Medical Services and Insurance
As an exchange or study abroad student, you must have medical insurance for the entire duration of your studies at SFU. If family members are accompanying you, they should also have adequate medical insurance during their stay in Canada. The Canadian health system provides a high standard of health care, but care is very expensive if you are not insured. Without insurance, you could pay thousands of dollars per day for a hospital stay or even be refused certain services. In Canada, there are generally two types of insurance: primary and secondary.
Primary medical insurance
Covers medically-required services, such as visits to doctors, hospital stays and diagnostic medical testing.
International exchange or study abroad students: you will be automatically enrolled in a mandatory 4 month primary medical insurance plan through guard.me@SFU. Depending on how long you are studying at SFU, you may be applying for the BC Medical Services Plan (MSP) as well.
Domestic (inter-provincial) exchange students: within Canada (including students who are international students at their home institutions), you are expected to maintain primary medical insurance in your home province.
Secondary medical insurance
Generally covers services such as vision care, prescription drugs, dental care, and more.
Exchange students (paying tuition to home institution): you will not receive a secondary medical insurance plan through SFU. You may wish to purchase coverage through a private insurance agent. The guard.me@SFU plan includes some limited secondary benefits.
For more information on medical insurance, including how to apply or opt out, see the appropriate page on the SFU Medical Insurance website:
- 1 Term Exchange
- 2-3 Term Exchange
- 1 Term Study Abroad
- 2-3 Term Study Abroad
- Domestic Exchange (If you are currently studying at one of SFU's exchange partner institutions in Canada)
Canadian medical system
You may find that the medical system in Canada is different from what you are used to back home. It's important that you develop an understanding of how the system works in Canada before you need to use it, to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible if you become ill or injured. In this section, you'll find tips to help you get comfortable with Canadian health care.
In the event of a medical emergency off campus:
Call 911 or go immediately to the nearest hospital’s emergency room. Emergency calls are free from any phone.