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Health and Safety

Canada is one of the best places in the world to live. As an international student in Canada, you’ll enjoy all of the same freedoms which protect Canadians – respect for human rights, equality, and a stable and peaceful society.

In Canada, each province or territory manages its own healthcare system, which covers the costs of Canadian citizens’ visits to hospitals and doctors. Each province and territory has their own health insurance plan. Make sure you know what your insurance plan covers by clicking here:

Virtually all Canadian tertiary institutions have medical insurance plans available for international students. Your IDP Education counsellor can provide you with more information on health insurance at your chosen institution.

Best Health and Safety Practices

Get Insured

Ensure your insurance covers you for the duration of your period of study in Canada. It is strongly recommended that you acquire coverage before your move to Canada as this will help if you get sick or injured when you arrive. Make sure you’re protected with the student health insurance that’s best for you.

Canada's Health Care Facilities

Most large university campuses have an on-campus medical centre with quality doctors. All other campuses have at least a trained first aid officer and rooms for sick or injured students waiting for a doctor to arrive in emergencies. 

There are medical centres and hospitals throughout all cities and towns, including many in suburban areas. There are 24-hour emergency centres at hospitals and in some suburbs.

Patients can request to see a male or female doctor. Due to the diversity in Canada, it may even be possible to find a doctor who speaks your native language.


If there is an emergency, call 911. Let the operator who answers know what your emergency is. Try to stay calm, speak slowly and clearly. Calls to 911 are free of charge.

Call 911 if:

  • You witnessed a crime or an accident.
  • Your life or property are threatened.
  • Someone is seriously injured or in need of immediate medical attention.

Safety Tips

At Home

  • Get to know your neighbours and look out for each other’s safety.
  • Always make sure your home is secure.
  • Verify the credentials of any tradesperson before you let them in. Do not let any strangers into the house.
  • Get a timer for your lights, TV and radio.

Out of the House

  • Be observant, keep a lookout for people who look suspicious and behave oddly.
  • Have your mobile phone with you always. If not, make sure you have money to make a call.
  • Avoid dark roads and paths and stick to well-lit, busy places at night.
  • Mix things up and avoid using the same route regularly.
  • Keep anything of value hidden from public view. Don’t carry big amounts of money with you.
  • Consider taking self-defence classes.
  • Don’t hitchhike.
  • Walk on the footpath that faces oncoming traffic.
  • If you use headphones to listen to music, make sure you keep one ear free always as you don’t want to be caught unawares, especially someone coming up behind you.

On Public Transport

  • If you feel unsafe, alert public transport staff and ask other passengers for help.
  • Plan your journey before you leave to minimise waiting time in the dark
  • Be alert and keep an eye out for suspicious people
  • If you park your car at the station, park close to the building and get your keys in your hand as soon as you leave the train, bus or tram.
  • Try to be seen and locate safety features such as emergency buttons, safety zones, and public transport staff while you wait for your transport.
  • If someone is picking you up from the station, call in advance and let them know you are nearby to minimize waiting time.

If You Feel Threatened

  • Keep a distance between you and the threat. Move towards people, if you are not alone.
  • Call 911 and report it. Try to remember the appearance of the offender, details of the weapon or vehicle (registration number, make and colour) if one is used.
  • If you are driving, remain in your car at all times. Obtain the registration number and report the incident to the police.
  • Do not go home if you are followed, drive to the nearest police or service station to get help.
  • If you are a victim of family violence, report it directly to the police or somebody can do it on your behalf. 

In a Car Accident

  • Move your car to the side of the road so you’re not blocking traffic. If you can’t move your car, turn your hazard lights, leave your vehicle and move to a safe place. 
  • Check on other parties involved and call for an ambulance if anyone is injured. If any public property is damaged, the other party drove off or is refusing to cooperate, please call the police instead.
  • You should also call the police if there’s any suspicion of drugs or alcohol being involved.
  • Don’t admit to being at fault as when you’ve been in an accident, we may not take all the factors into account. Always best to leave it to the experts to decide who is at fault.
  • Contact your insurer as they can organise a tow truck and your transport home (if required).
  • Don’t forget to get the following details about any other party involved in the accident:
    • Name, contact details and licence numbers of the owner and driver of the other vehicle/s.
    • Details of other car/s – registration number, colour, make and model
    • The other driver/s insurance details.
  • Remember that the person driving the car may not necessarily be the owner, or the insured party so make sure you ask and verify.
  • A summary of the accident – where and when it happened. Include photos of the scene.

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With so many reputable schools and courses in Canada, deciding where and what to study can be an overwhelming decision. Chat today with an IDP expert who can guide you through your study options and assist with your application.


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