Manitoba Healthcare

The Manitoba Healthcare Services Insurance Plan is funded by the Provincial and Federal Government and is only provided for eligible residents of the Province. As with all of Canada, it is imperative to have some kind of health insurance as the cost of healthcare is very expensive.

If you are a Canadian citizen, or have Immigration status and a resident of Manitoba who physically lives in the Province for at least 6 months of the year, you are eligible for Manitoba health coverage.

Ordinarily, you have to be in Manitoba for three months before you become eligible for health coverage, although, there are certain classes of newcomers who may be eligible from the date they arrive in Manitoba. These are returning Canadians, permanent residents and people who have a work permit that is valid for at least 12 months.

Everyone must register for Manitoba Healthcare coverage to be eligible for benefits. Once the application has been approved you will be issued with a Manitoba healthcare card. You must carry your card at all times to present if you require health services.

As the health coverage in Manitoba only covers necessary medical treatments it is highly recommended that you have additional coverage.

Prescription drugs, dental care and even a trip in an ambulance can be very expensive. Benefit packages that cover your healthcare in Manitoba are sometimes offered by employers or alternatively you can purchase your own, private plan.

Health Issues

As a whole there are very few serious issues that concern Manitoba healthcare. The two major illnesses that have hit the headlines in the past few years are the SARS outbreak (2003) and the continued threat of West Nile Virus. SARS originates form the Far East (China in particular) and the main outbreaks were in Toronto and Vancouver. Several other canadians contracted the illness through Far Eastern travel. From 2004 onwards there have hardly been any confirmed cases in Canada and hopefully, effective treatment and vaccinations will reduce the threat further.

With the arrival of the summer comes the Mosquito. Unfortunately mosquitos are everywhere - especially near water - and some carry the West Nile Virus that is known to cause illness in humans to varying degrees. It does seem that the younger you are the less prone to the effects, though this is by no means clinically proven.

The best protection is to avoid being bitten in the first place, so wear long sleeves and pants (trousers) with a good quality repellant. The best one we have found is "Deep Woods Off" that also comes in a kids formula. Stay away from bodies of still or stagnant water especially around evening time when they are most active. If you feel the symptoms (see link above) see a doctor as soon as possible. Both subjects are also covered with local information on the Ministry of Health website linked above.