Ontario's OHIP card: The Definitive Guide

James Rodriguez James Rodriguez  updated on 2021-12-03

Do you live in Ontario? If so, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan is a critical part of your health care insurance.

The OHIP card is your key to accessing Ontario's public health insurance plan, or OHIP, for short. Ontario residents eligible for OHIP can gain access to its healthcare benefits through their OHIP card. Our guide below covers how to apply for, renew and replace your Ontario health card.

What is an OHIP card?

An OHIP card provides proof of Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage when receiving treatment or other health care services. Ontario residents who are eligible for OHIP will receive an OHIP card within four to six weeks of submitting their application.

You are required to show your OHIP card every time you see a doctor, visit an emergency room, have a medical test or surgery. It proves that you have coverage and is requested by participating doctors and health care providers throughout Ontario.

The card itself looks like this:

sample ontario health insurance plan card with labels
Specimen of an OHIP card

To learn about what OHIP covers, eligibility and cost see our guide: What is OHIP? All about the Ontario Health Insurance Plan

While you are applying for you OHIP card, remember that the Ontario Health Insurance Plan does not cover everything you might need.

Services NOT covered by OHIP include:

  • Prescription drugs provided in non-hospital settings (for patients under 65)
  • Dental services provided in a dentist’s office
  • Eyeglasses, contact lenses
  • Alternative medicine consultation treatments, including Chinese medicine, homeopathy and Reiki 
  • Chiropractic services 
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Cosmetic procedures 
  • Immunizations for travel

Non-covered services can be expensive and come as an unpleasant surprise when you are least able to deal with surprises. We highly recommend getting a private insurance plan. Our tool can help you find great rates.

Compare coverage and rates of
Canada's best health insurance plans

Get a quote in seconds

How do I apply for an Ontario health card?

To apply for an OHIP card as a first-timer you will need to visit a ServiceOntario centre in person. The list of documents required depends on your status as a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, permanent resident applicant or other.

Citizens and permanent residents applying for an OHIP card

First-time applicants need to:

  • Complete the Registration for Ontario Health Coverage form 0265-82 below:
  • Submit appropriate original supporting documents proving:
    • Your identity (Passport, permanent resident card, old age security card, etc.)
    • Residency in Ontario (Ontario driver's license, pay stub, school transcript, utility or tax bill, mortgage or rental agreement, etc.)
    • Canadian citizenship or OHIP-eligible immigration status (passport, birth certificate, certification of Canadian citizenship, etc.)
  • If you are applying under your married name for the first time, you will also need your marriage liscence

See below for a list of documents that are accepted as proof.

Bring original documents. Photocopies will not be accepted.

Permanent residency applicants applying for an OHIP card

In addition to the documents required for citizens, applicants for permanent residency are also required to provide a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: (IRCC)

The letter must:

  • Be on IRCC letterhead, addressed to you as the applicant
  • State that the IRCC has confirmed you meet the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada and that you have not yet been denied.
  • Include an IRCC document (work permit, visitor record, temporary resident permit or study permit) with a note confirming that you have applied for permanent residence, met the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residency and have not been denied.

For other immigration statuses applying for an OHIP card:

Applicants with other immigration statuses may be required to following documents:

  • A letter from the Immigration and Refugee Board confirming Convention Refugee or Protected Person status
  • Protected Person Status document
  • Verification of Status (IMM 5716 or IMM 5715)
  • Written confirmation from IRCC that you are eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship under section 5.1 of Canada’s Citizenship Act.
  • A temporary resident permit (case types 86 through 95 only)
  • A work permit (proof of full-time employment in Ontario is required)

The work permit must be an original document (contract or letter) on a company letterhead signed and dated by your employer, which states the name of the company that you will be working for in Ontario. It needs to confirm full-time employment, your job title, the start date of your employment and that the employer intends to employ you for a minimum of six months.

A full list of accepted documents is at the bottom of this page. Note that original documents are required. Photocopies will not be accepted.

How do you apply for an OHIP card online?

The OHIP card can only be renewed online. First-time applicants are required to physically go to the nearest ServiceOntario centre to apply. To renew your expired OHIP card continue below.

How do you renew your OHIP card?

Did your OHIP card expire? You can renew your Ontario health card for free online at ServiceOntario or in-person at a ServiceOntario centre. Both older red and white OHIP cards and newer OHIP photo cards are eligible for renewal. After submitting your renewal request, you can expect to receive your new OHIP card by mail within four to six weeks. 

Renew your OHIP card online

You will need: 

  • Your most recent health card
  • Your current driver’s licence

After renewing online, you will be able to print temporary documents to prove your status until your new card arrives in the mail.

If your mailing address is up-to-date, you should receive a renewal notice. To use the OHIP online renewal service you must be eligible for OHIP coverage. Your photo health card must expire within 90 days or have been expired for fewer than 90 days. You will also need to have an up-to-date photo and signature on your health card.

If your address has changed within the last 90 days, you will not be eligible for online renewal. In this case, you will need to renew your OHIP card in person at your nearest ServiceOntario centre. See here to update your address on the ServiceOntario website.

Renew your OHIP card in person

You will need: 

People between the ages of 76 and 80 are required to renew in person to take a new photo.

People 81 or older are eligible to renew by mail.

Where can you get an OHIP card?

Eligible Ontario residents can get their OHIP card in person at a ServiceOntario centre.

The first time, the application must be done in person. If it is for a renewal or a replacement for a lost card, you may be eligible to do it online. After applying for OHIP, you will have health insurance coverage once your application has been processed.

To learn about what OHIP covers, eligibility and cost see our guide: What is OHIP? All about the Ontario Health Insurance Plan

How long does it take to get an OHIP card?

Getting your OHIP card is a relatively quick process. Once your OHIP application has been received, you can expect to receive your OHIP card by mail within four to six weeks. Before that, you will receive temporary paperwork to prove your coverage.

How do I replace a lost OHIP card?

To replace an unexpired lost, stolen or damaged OHIP card, visit your nearest ServiceOntario centre. Alternatively, you may call 1-800-664-8988.

If you are someone whose Canadian citizenship or immigration status has changed since you received your most recent OHIP card, you will also need to bring your original citizenship or immigration documents. 

What happens if your OHIP card expires?

If your OHIP card is expired when you seek medical care, doctors and private hospitals may refuse to treat you. While for major medical emergencies, you are still likely to receive care, they could bill you directly if you are unable to quickly renew your OHIP card. Because of this, it is best to always keep your Ontario health card up to date.

Note that as of January 2020, red and white cards are no longer accepted as proof of OHIP coverage. They have been replaced by photo cards.

If you need to replace an expired OHIP card you must visit your nearest ServiceOntario centre along with original documents proving your identity and residency in Ontario.

Remember that OHIP is not comprehensive, you can still have to pay significant costs out of pocket for prescriptions, dental and vision care or a private hospital stay. A private supplemental plan on top of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan can ensure you are provided with full coverage for the services you need. For a personalized quote in just seconds, try our free health insurance comparison tool

Compare coverage and rates of
Canada's best health insurance plans

Get a quote in seconds

How do I change the address on my OHIP card?

If you have moved or are considering moving, you will be required to change the address of your OHIP card within 30 days of your move. Making sure that your address is updated will help to ensure that you receive important information regarding your OHIP card and health insurance.

Your address can be updated in the following ways:

  • Online: To change or update your address online click here 
  • In-person: You can update or change the address on your OHIP card at your nearest ServiceOntario centre
  • Submit a letter: You can submit a letter to your local ServiceOntario centre with the following information: 
    • Your name
    • Your health number
    • Your telephone number
    • Your current address
    • Your new address including the postal code
  • By mail: The 1057-82 Change of Adress form below:

Can I get a temporary OHIP card?

If you have applied for your OHIP card for the first time, or have recently applied for a renewal, your printed documents will act as a temporary card. Four to six weeks after getting these you should receive your card in the mail. You should be sure to carry these temporary documents with you receive until your OHIP card to prove health insurance coverage.

Once your eligibility has been confirmed, you will be assigned a unique 10-digit health number which will be used to provide you with free OHIP insured health services.

List of Documents for applying to OHIP:

Whether you are applying for your OHIP card for the first time or renewing your old red and white card you may be asked to prove your status, your residency and your identity. See below for a list of accepted documents.

Proof of Canadian citizenship:

To prove you are a Canadian Citizen or have OHIP-eligible immigration status, you will need to provide one of the following original documents:

  • Canadian passport (valid or expired within the last five years)
  • Birth certificate issued by Ontario or another Canadian province or territory
  • Canadian Certificate Of Registration of Birth Abroad
  • Canadian Certified statement of Live Birth
  • Certificate of Canadian citizenship
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Registered Indian Record
  • Temporary Confirmation of Registration document

Proof of permanent residency:

  • Permanent Resident Card (valid or expired with the last five years)
  • Canadian Immigration Identification Card
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residency (IMM 5292, 5688)
  • Record of Landing (IMM 1000)

Proof of other immigration statuses:

  • Verification of status (IMM 5716 or IMM 5715)
  • Protected Person Status document
  • An Immigration and Refugee Board letter confirming your statues as a Convention Refugee or Protected Person
  • Written confirmation from IRB confirming eligibilty to apply for Canadian citizenship
  • Temporary Resident Perment
  • Work Permit

Proof of identity:

To provide proof of your identity, you should use a document that is different from the one you provided to show proof of residence, proof of citizenship or OHIP eligible immigration status. It is important to verify that these documents include both your name and signature. Accepted documents include: 

  • Valid Canadian or foreign passport
  • Permanent resident card, Ontario driver’s licence or temporary driver’s licence or photo card
  • Ontario motor vehicle permit
  • Canadian Immigration Identification card
  • Certificate of Canadian citizenship (plastic card)
  • Certificate of Indian status (paper or plastic card)
  • Current employee ID card
  • Current professional licence
  • Old age security card
  • Credit card
  • Student ID card
  • Union card
  • Record of Landing (IMM 1000)

Proof of residency:

To provide proof of your residency in Ontario, documents include:    

  • Ontario drivers license, or photo card
  • Utility bill, phone bill, or property tax bill
  • Monthly bank account or credit card statement, a registered retirement savings plan, registered retirement income fund, registered home ownership savings plan all of which can be registered at a bank, trust company or credit union.
  • Insurance policy (home, apartment, car or life)
  • Mortgage, rental or lease agreement
  • Property tax bill
  • Most recent income tax notice of assessment or child tax benefit statement
  • Statement of direct deposit for Ontario Works or for Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Statement of Benefits (T5007), statement of Employment Insurance Benefits Paid (T4E), or Statement of Old Age Security (T4A) or statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits (T4A) (P)
  • For employees: a pay stub or a letter from your employer on company letterhead.
  • For students: a report card or school transcript from a school, college or university

Want to know more about what OHIP covers, eligibility and cost? See our guide: What is OHIP? All about the Ontario Health Insurance Plan

32 comments on "Ontario's OHIP card: The Definitive Guide"
David, on 2022-06-20

December 3rd 2021 I went and had my health card renewed. I have not received my new card yet, this is over 7 months now.

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-06-21

Hi David,
You can directly contact the OHIP services regarding this issue - health cards normally don't take more than 6 weeks to get mailed.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Susan popoff, on 2022-06-17

Hi
I have an expired OHIP card. It has been six years. Today I went to a service ontario center to renew my card and the employee refused to do it. I had myCanadian birth certificate. Proof of my Ontario address and my expired card. Why wouldn't it be renewed?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-06-20

Hi Susan,
If you've had an issue with a renewal in a Service Ontario center, please contact directly the OHIP services to find the source of the problem.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Sam, on 2022-06-11

Hi,
we will move from Germany to Ontario in Summer this year. My kids and I are Canadian citizen. We will apply for OHIP as soon as possible after arriving. how long will it take to get the Health card and will we be covered while waiting for the card?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-06-13

Hi Sam,
Once your application is accepted, your card will be mailed to you. It will take one to two weeks to arrive.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
J. thomas, on 2022-05-19

Can I use a colour photocopy of my OHIP card? The original is kept on file in the Long Term Care home where I live and it's inconvenient to keep asking for it for a dr. or hospital visit.

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-05-20

Hi,
No, unfortunately you cannot use a photocopy of your OHIP documents.

Have a nice day,
The Hellosafe team

Reply
Kie, on 2022-05-16

I am a newly landed migrant, will I have to wait 3 months before applying for my health card? or does it mean if I apply now, I would have to wait 3 months before it is approved?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-05-17

Hi Kie,
You can apply for your OHIP card as soon as you want or need. Once your application is approved, there will be a period of three months during which you won't be covered yet.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Ann, on 2022-03-29

Hi there. when a child is born, are they assigned a "temp" health card number and then a permanent one is issued?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-03-30

Hi Ann,
If a newborn meets the three criteria of eligibility (born in Ontario, at least one parent is a permanent Ontario resident, and will be staying in Ontario for at least 153 days after they're born), they can be issued a permanent OHIP number directly at birth.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Maria corazon, on 2022-03-28

Hello, I am a student, my partner is also an international student, can we apply for OHIP card already? We arrived in Canada last December 15, 2021.

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-03-29

Hi Maria,
You must meet several requirements in order to apply for an OHIP card. You must be physically in Ontario for 153 days in any 12‑month period as well as being physically in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after you began living in the province.
You can find the detail of these as well as other criteria directly on the Ontario Government website.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Amin, on 2022-03-05

Hi
I am PR and moving to Ontario from abroad.
I am wondering to know how long it will take to get my OHIP card and am I covered by insurance during this time?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-03-09

Hi Amin,
It usually takes four to six weeks for your OHIP card to get delivered. You will be covered as soon as you receive it.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Martin, on 2022-03-02

Hi, if I apply for OHIP, it covers my wife too? Or she need to go separately? Thanks

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-03-02

Hi Martin,
No, your wife is not covered by you OHIP protection. She needs to get a separate coverage.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Sam, on 2022-02-22

does new landed immigrant need to wait for 3 months before applying for OHIP?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-24

Hi Sam,
You can apply to OHIP as soon as you want, but you won't get get a Health Card until after the three months.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Dallas baker, on 2022-02-08

I applied for my new OHIP card in August 2021 and have not received it.I went to Service Ontario on Jan 6/2022 to inquire but I still have not received it.What should I do?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-08

Hi Dallas,
Unfortunately we cannot help you. This issue has to be solved with Service Ontario.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe Team

Reply
Darlene o'neil, on 2022-02-06

Mother is 92 outdated Ohio card
No credit card
No utility billls
New address as well
What does she she need to get a new card snd does she have to be present?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-07

Hi Darlene,
In our article called "What is OHIP? All about the Ontario Health Insurance Plan" you will find a section called "How do I renew my OHIP card ?". You can find all the information you need there.
You can click on this link to access it.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe Team

Reply
Tatiana khovanskaia, on 2022-02-06

I am 80 years old Can I renew my health card on line ?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-07

Hi Tatiana,
You will find every information you need to renew your OHIP card online at this adress.

Have a nice day,
The HelloSafe team

Reply
Hajarat, on 2022-02-02

Does the 3 month waiting period apply to me as an international student on a work permit and as been working full time for about 7months?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-03

Hello,
Yes, it does apply.

Have a nice day,
The Safe team

Reply
Jacqueline joll, on 2022-01-25

I received an OHIP renewal form, filled it out, and mailed it in early November 2021. I have not received my new card. Please let me know when it will be issued. Thank you.

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-02-01

Hi Jaqueline,
We cannot help you. You should probably take contact with the Ontario Ministry of Health regarding this issue, for example by filling the form on their website.

Have a nice day,
The Safe team

Reply
Catherine welburn, on 2021-12-20

what if i move back to another province? Does OHIP cover me for a while?

Reply
Our expert
Gaulthier, on 2022-01-18

Hi Catherine,
When moving permanently to another province in Canada, OHIP will cover you for the same services, until the last day of the second full month after you leave Ontario.

Have a nice day,
the Safe Team.

Reply
Comment's content is required.
Your name is required