Receiving medical care in other countries

Travellers from Canada may access medical care in other countries for different reasons. They may require medical care due to a medical emergency, such as an injury or illness. Injuries are the most common cause of disability and death in travellers. They may also travel to receive specific medical care, known as “medical tourism”, “health tourism” or medical travel.” 

There are risks involved in receiving medical services, elective or not, in other countries, and you are on your own if you decide to do so. It is important to remember that medical practices, health standards and infection control measures in other countries may differ from those in Canada and could result in lower quality medical care.

Medical tourism

“Medical tourism” means travelling to another country to receive medical care. For more information about medical tourism, consult Well on your way: a Canadian’s guide to healthy travel abroad

It is your responsibility to research the standards of the foreign health care facility and the licensing of the health care provider in your destination country. Find out how the medical services and facilities are accredited and how they are regulated. Verify the licensing of the facility or health professional and study any complaints, comments, reports and evaluations. Even if you research the facility and staff thoroughly, there is no guarantee that what you experience will match the information that you found.

Be aware of the implications of receiving medical care in other countries and be prepared. For example:

Recommendations for travellers

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

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