Services in French
Unlike federal programs that must serve Canadians in both official languages, British Columbia is not required to offer its programs in French. However, services exist in your language.
Francophone Services are here to help patients navigate the health care system. You can contact Francophone Services.
The Provincial Language Services offers Interpreting
services in French for health authorities, family practice practitioners, specialist offices, and other allied health professionals.
Beyond the services of interpreters, translation and orientation, the Provincial Language Services finance or implement our partners' projects to facilitate the Francophone community's access to health services in the province.
- Low participation in health promotion and disease prevention activities
- Late requests for care
- Problematic initial access to most health services
- Increased risk of misdiagnosis
- Problems understanding and adhering to prescribed treatment
- Lower patient satisfaction
- Increased risk of experiencing adverse events
- Poorer chronic disease management
- Less effective pain management
The Directory of RésoSanté Colombie-Britannique and the Fédération des Francophones de Colombie-Britannique has more than 1,200 health and well-being professionals who can serve you in French in British Columbia.
BC's Medical Services Plan (MSP) (see L'Assurance Maladie
(PDF)) is the provincial health plan that provides universal, comprehensive coverage for essential medical care. As a province resident, you must join the medical plan and enrol your dependents.
To be eligible for coverage under the medical plan, an individual must be a resident of B.C. A resident is someone who meets all of the following conditions:
- must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident legally admitted to Canada;
- must have taken up residence in B.C.;
- must be physically present in B.C. at least six months per calendar year.
Dependents of Medical Services Plan beneficiaries are eligible for coverage if they reside in B.C.
As of January 2020, MSP coverage is free.
Certain holders of work or study permits issued under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other persons are considered residents.
But tourists or visitors to B.C. do not qualify.
If you have questions about eligibility or coverage:
- Visit the Medical Services Plan website; or
- Connect by phone at 604-683-7151 / 1-800-663-7100 and select option 5 to be served in French
- Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
You must complete the form if you are applying for a Self-Administered Health Plan account. You can:
If health plan coverage is available through your employer, union or pension plan, contact the appropriate office for information on group plan claims.
Once your group plan application is processed, the medical plan cancels existing self-administered accounts. People who receive – or are eligible for – medical care benefits through Health Canada (Aboriginal Canadians) or the Department of Housing and Social Development should contact these agencies.
Newcomers or people returning to settle in B.C. can receive coverage after a waiting period that usually includes the remainder of the month of arrival plus two months.
For example, if an eligible person arrives in July, coverage begins on October 1. If your absences from Canada exceed a total of 30 days during the elimination period, your eligibility for coverage may change.
You should apply for medical plan coverage as soon as you arrive, rather than at the end of your elimination period, to allow sufficient time for treatment.
During the waiting period, new residents from other parts of Canada should continue to be covered by their old insurance plan.
New residents from outside of Canada or those relocating to Canada should contact a private insurance company for coverage during the waiting period.
If you are awaiting a personal health number (PHN) and have had or need urgent medical follow-up, you should contact Health Insurance BC so that arrangements can be made to expedite the application process for your Medicare card.
On the other hand, if you consult a doctor without a health insurance card, you may be billed for the services rendered at the rates applied to non-residents (which are higher than the rates of the health care plan). The health care plan can only reimburse charges incurred in accordance with the MSC Payment Schedule and the data subject will be responsible for all additional charges.
In B.C., MSP coverage is now free.
Disclaimer: If there is any discrepancy between the information on this website and that provided by the Ministry of Health or Health Insurance BC, the information provided by the Ministry of Health or Health Insurance BC prevails.
The provincial drug reimbursement plan is intended to provide relief from the cost of certain eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies.
The lower your income, the more the government will help pay for your medications. There is no registration fee and no premium to be paid.
B.C. residents are already enrolled in Medicare.
For all family members:
- personal health number (found on provincial health card) and date of birth.
For yourself and your spouse:
- social insurance number;
- your net income from two years ago (line 236 of your income tax return); and
- the amount of any universal child benefit or registered disability savings plans you received two years ago (lines 117 and 125 of your tax return).
- If you were not in Canada two years previously or had no declared income, send your request to the following address:
Fair PharmaCare plan
Fair PharmaCare Administration
PO Box 9655 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9P2
By phone (in French):
- Vancouver & Lower Mainland: 604-683-7151
- From the rest of BC: 1-800-663-7100
Additional information on how Fair PharmaCare works is available in French: