Basic healthcare in Ontario is free to Ontario residents through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).  You need to show your OHIP health card each time you go to a doctor, clinic or other health care provider. OHIP does not pay for services that are not medically necessary, such as cosmetic surgery.

If you are looking for information in your own language on healthcare topics for your children, visit the Caring for Kids New to Canada website. They provide information for parents and also for health professionals. The goal of the website it to provide quality care to immigrant and refugee children, youth and families. It was developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society with experts in newcomer health.

In an emergency, go to a hospital or call 9-1-1 for help.

Clinics and hospitals

Basic medical care and first aid can be done in doctor’s offices or clinics. Doctors will sometimes refer you to a hospital for specialist care. If you are not insured, you will have to pay for treatment. There are five hospitals in Durham Region.

There are many walk-in and urgent care health clinics in the region. These include walk-in and sexual health clinics. You don’t need an appointment for these clinics.

Dental services

Dental services are not covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Some jobs offer employee benefits that include different ranges of dental coverage for you and your family. You can also apply for private coverage.

Low-Cost Dental Clinic

Durham College operates a low-cost Dental Clinic for Durham residents. The clinic offers dental examinations and cleaning to clients over the age of four. Services are provided by Dental Assisting and Dental Hygiene students under the supervision of teaching staff. 


Healthy Smiles Ontario

Healthy Smiles Ontario offers free dental care to children and youth 17 and under. Children must qualify for the program. Healthy Smiles Ontario covers basic or emergency dental needs.  

If you have questions about Healthy Smiles Ontario, call 1-866-853-1326 extension 4569 or email

Ontario's Seniors Dental Care Program

Ontario's Seniors Dental Care Program covers basic dental care including services such as examinations, x-rays, preventive services, fillings, extractions and denture care for eligible seniors. Learn more about the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.

Canada Dental Benefit

The interim Canada Dental Benefit is intended to help lower dental costs for eligible families earning less than $90,000 per year. Parents and guardians may be eligible if they pay for dental care for a child under 12 years old who does not have access to a private dental insurance plan.

Depending on your adjusted family net income, a tax-free payment of $260, $390, or $650 is available for each eligible child. You can apply for a maximum of 2 payments per child.

Applications are open until June 30, 2024 for:

  • dental care received between July 1, 2023 and June 30, 2024
  • one additional payment if you meet the criteria

Benefit payments are administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Finding a doctor

Find a doctor or healthcare professional in the region. See what services are available for you, including regular checkups and illness prevention.

To find an LGBTQ-positive doctor, visit Rainbow Health Ontario. The organization lists health providers and programs that have expressed a commitment to providing welcoming and knowledgeable care to LGBTQ people across Ontario.

Health and wellness

The Durham Health Connection Line can help you access the information and resources you need to protect and promote your health. Public Health Nurses provide health information on topics such as parenting issues, breastfeeding, immunization, nutrition and healthy living. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

If you or someone in your family needs help in your home, you should contact the Community Care Access Centres (CCAC). CCAC offers in-home and community-based health care.

Alternative or complementary healthcare is any practice of medicine that is not considered to be conventional in North America. There are many forms of alternative or complementary healthcare, such as naturopathic medicine , acupuncture, midwifery, chiropractic services or other forms of holistic medicine. Many of the practitioners in these areas are licensed and fall under Provincial Regulated Health Professionals legislation. OHIP may not cover the full cost of these services; private healthcare plans normally cover a percentage of services.

For more health and wellness information, visit the Region of Durham’s website. There are public services and resources available through the Health department.

Health insurance (OHIP)

Most healthcare in Durham Region is covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). You must meet certain requirements to be eligible for OHIP.

Visit Service Ontario to find the office closes to you to submit your application for an OHIP card. You can also get more information from Service Ontario by calling toll-free 1-800-267-8097 during their Monday to Friday office hours of 8:30am to 5:00pm or TTY/Teletypewriter toll-free 1-800-268-7095. 

You can expect to wait up to six months after arriving here before you are eligible. You should apply for OHIP as soon as you arrive.

Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) gives limited, interim health coverage for resettled refugees, protected persons, refugee claimants, and victims of human trafficking. People detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are also covered.

The IFHP is for people who do not yet have provincial or personal health coverage. That is, people who cannot get or do not have Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage.

Learn more about the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP): Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) - Durham Immigration.

Local health services

See the local healthcare services and options to find what’s right for you in your area.

Mental Health
Newcomer Mental Health Services

Community Development Council Durham (CDCD) offers mental health services for newcomers in many different languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, and more. They offer short-term counselling and can provide immediate mental health support and guidance, as well as referrals to other mental health and wellness services.

For more information, or to book an appointment with a mental health worker, please call 647-925-8929 or 1-877-761-1155.

Connection Campaign

The Connection Campaign focuses on the mental and physical health benefits of connecting to self, and others. Isolation and loneliness are significant contributors to poor mental and physical health. Research has shown that building connections with self and others can help mitigate poor health outcomes and improve health overall. The campaign highlights that there are layers of connections such as: connection to self, connection to others, and connection to community. 

Visit the Region of Durham's website for information and resources on the Connection Campaign.

Other Mental Health Resources

Visit the Region of Durham’s website for information and resources on mental health.
Uninsured people

If you do not have health insurance or are waiting for your coverage to begin, you can find primary health care and treatment services at Community Health Centres and uninsured clinics throughout Durham Region.

Public Health also provides a number of services like flu shots to all community members.

You can also get free medical advice from Telehealth Ontario. Call any time toll-free at 1-866-797-0000. To reach them by toll-free TTY, dial 1-877-797-0007.

 KI Pills

Durham Region has two nuclear stations - Pickering and Darlington. In the highly unlikely event of a nuclear accident, KI (potassium iodide) tablets are key to keeping you safe. KI (potassium iodide) can help reduce how much radioactive iodide enters your thyroid. All homes and businesses within 10 kilometres of either station are required to have KI tablets readily available. You can order KI tablets to be mailed to your home. 

Learn more by viewing this video. To order a free supply of KI tablets, visit the Prepare to be Safe website.

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