Health care in Canada: Find doctors and dentists

After moving to Canada, it’s a good idea to look for a doctor right away. Seeing your doctor is a good way to benefit from our unique health care system. On this page, you’ll find information that will help you find a doctor or a dentist.

On this page

Finding a doctor

You can find a doctor a few different ways:

Visiting a walk-in clinic

Due to COVID-19, many walk-in clinics are taking appointments instead of walk-in visits. Before you visit a clinic, call ahead or check their website for instructions.

Anyone who doesn’t have a family doctor can always go to a walk-in clinic for non-urgent care. At a walk-in clinic, you register when you arrive and you’ll see the first doctor with an available appointment time. If the clinic is busy, you may have to wait.

In most cases, you don’t need to have an appointment to see a doctor at a walk-in clinic.

If you don’t communicate in English or French

If you don’t communicate in English or French, bring an interpreter with you when you go to a doctor. You can find interpreters for spoken languages and sign language, depending on your needs and preferences.

An interpreter can be anyone, including

  • a family member or friend
  • someone else you trust

Some doctors and other health care providers have interpretation services for a range of languages. Availability will depend on the province, territory or region where you live.

If you’re having trouble finding help

Finding a dentist

You can find a dentist by searching online or asking someone you know for a recommendation. It’s very common for dentists to take on new patients.

While most public health insurance plans don’t cover dental care, some private plans do. Check with your employer before you go to a dentist or be prepared to pay on your own.

Find out what to look for in a dentist.

Getting emergency help

If you need urgent medical help

  • go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, or
  • call 911

It is free to call 911. All emergency medical services are free in hospitals.

Most health care plans don’t pay for ambulances. If you use an ambulance, you may have to pay for it.

In Canada, hospital emergency rooms prioritize care for people who

  • have trouble breathing
  • are bleeding
  • have broken bones

For any other urgent care that isn’t life threatening, visit

  • your family doctor
  • a walk-in clinic
  • your pharmacist

Ask your doctor if you should carry medical information with you on a medical necklace or bracelet if you have a serious medical condition, such as

  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • allergies to medication

In case of an emergency, carrying that information would be useful to health professionals.

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