For many Canadians, access to medical specialists via telehealth is essential for receiving timely advice for non-urgent matters. Telehealth is an excellent healthcare option for those not located in major urban centres or for people who are seeking alternatives to the ER or urgent care.
Fortunately, Canada has a national 811 line, and each province has its own telehealth structure delivering healthcare to people where and when they need it, through their provincial medicare. We created this guide so Health Insiders can quickly access telehealth services by specific province or territory.
National 8-1-1 Healthline
By dialling 8-1-1*, citizens across the nation have free, 24/7 access to Registered Nurses who can confidentially address health-related inquiries.
*Residents of Manitoba call 204-788-8200 to access Health Links-Info Santé in lieu of 8-1-1.
Beyond the national 8-1-1 initiative, each province and territory across Canada has a distinct telehealth framework for its respective insurance plan.
BC Virtual Visit is a secure virtual health platform that enables video visits with a health-care provider using a personal smartphone, tablet, or computer. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if a telehealth visit will meet your care needs.
All BC Virtual Visit services are free to residents with a BC Services Card.
If you are an Albertan interested in virtual care, ask your healthcare provider if telehealth is an option for you. If it is, your healthcare provider will review available options to determine your preference. They will provide you with information about the benefits and limitations of virtual care and will send you appointment information, usually by email or telephone. If you cannot join the appointment virtually, you will be provided with a phone number.
See here for more information.
Specific supports include AHS Zoom & Telehealth and Real Presence Desktop:
- AHS Zoom is an enterprise version of Zoom, using cloud-based video conferencing integrated with the My AHS platform.
- Telehealth and Real Presence Desktop uses videoconference technology to deliver health-related services and information to citizens remotely.
If you do not have a primary care provider, dial the 811 Healthline for access to the national telehealth platform.
The main services offered through Saskatchewan’s telehealth program include mental health, genetics, oncology, surgery, nephrology, respirology, neurosurgery, rehabilitation, group patient education, and neurology. Residents contact a telehealth coordinator to get started.
Alternatively, after a physician visit, a referral request will be sent to a specialist office and a telehealth consultation will be scheduled if appropriate. One week prior to the scheduled appointment, patients are contacted by a local telehealth coordinator to confirm the details of the appointment and the session will take place at the nearest telehealth site.
As well, the Saskatchewan Virtual Visit Program is a service that is currently being rolled out. Patients are unable to independently apply. They must be invited to a clinic via email or consult with their healthcare providers to determine if they are offering the service.
Both the patient and their doctor must be in Saskatchewan at the time of service to use the Virtual Visit Program for free.
MBTelehealth provides residents with access to health services by using telemedicine.
Individuals can participate in:
- Videoconferencing: room-based sessions in which participants can communicate with two or more locations
- Virtual visits: using Microsoft Teams (or Zoom), patients can have scheduled visits in their home
- eConsult: health care providers can ask questions and send images of non-urgent conditions to a specialist without the need for patient travel.
Residents complete and submit the MBT Intake Form to begin the virtual care process. Once submitted, a member of the telehealth team will contact individuals for further discussion.
Ontario Telehealth Network (OTN) services are offered for free as a part of Ontario’s publicly funded healthcare system. As OTN operates through an individual’s health care provider, residents can contact their doctors to see if telehealth is an option available to them. With OTN you can see your health care provider via secure video from your local health centre, your computer at home, or on-the-go via tablet or smartphone with eVisits, which can either be completed at home or at a local health care centre.
Other telehealth services such as Teleophthalmology, Indigenous specific services, French language healthcare delivery, and Telehomecare for people with COPD, and Congestive Heart Failure. Ontario also offers a telehealth at-home Palliative Care program.
In Quebec, telehealth practice is regulated just like in-person professional practice. Specialized provincial services include:
1. Telethrombolysis: patients who have had a stroke can access timely diagnosis and care
2. Virtual wound care services: remote professionals specializing in complex wound care aid
3. Virtual meetings in oncology: remote follow-up service with an Oncology Pivot Nurse with a comprehensive sign and symptom assessment
4. Telehealth in Long-Term Care Facilities: video consultations and exchanges with specialists
The Québec TeleHealth Network coordinates remote clinical services in the province. Through Telehealth, patients can discuss treatment options, complete consultations, and participate in diagnosis.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Virtual Care NL is offered for free to residents with valid Newfoundland and Labrador MCP Cards. Both facility-based virtual care and home-based virtual care are available.
Facility-based virtual care allows patients to go to a health clinic near them to attend their virtual appointments. Individuals have access to a private video conference room that is set up for their appointment with the aid of clinic staff.
Home-based care allows patients to attend their appointment from the comfort of their homes.
Prince Edward Island
All of Health PEI’s virtual programs are offered free of charge to residents with PEI Health Cards. Citizens are eligible to see a healthcare provider virtually if they meet one of the following criteria:
- Their provider believes that visits can be completed via telehealth.
- They are seeing an off-island specialist through one of Health PEI’s clinics.
- They do not currently have a primary care provider*
Through remote health services, care providers can virtually assess, treat, educate, and provide support for patients. Physicians can also write some prescriptions and fax them to a preferred pharmacy, and order additional assessments such as image requisitions and blood work.
* Without a primary care provider, residents can be treated through Maple. Individuals who have never had a primary care provider on PEI or those with providers that closed their practice are eligible. Signing up for Maple will not affect a resident’s position in the provincial patient registry.
If a resident gets a new family doctor, they are no longer eligible to use Maple for PEI’s free telehealth programs. Their Maple accounts will be converted from the unaffiliated virtual care program to the paid version of the service.
eVisitNB allows residents to register for video, phone or messaging consultations for common illnesses, injuries, and mental health concerns. Services are offered between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. every day of the week.
As this service is covered by the government of New Brunswick, individuals with a valid New Brunswick Medicare card receive free care.
Primary Health Care is the first point of health care in Nova Scotia. Primary Health Care Virtual Care allows citizens to connect with family doctors or nurse practitioners.
Most private offices and collaborative family practice teams provide virtual care and patients are encouraged to contact their Nova Scotia Health/IWK Health providers directly for information.
For residents on the Need a Family Practice Registry, free and online visits with primary care providers are offered through Virtual Care NS. Services are available Mondays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For Virtual Care NS, residents need a valid Nova Scotia Health Card number, must be in the province and have an email address. Existing Maple accounts can be converted to obtain this service.
Additionally, registration can be completed either online or by calling 8-1-1 for individuals who are not yet on the Need a Family Practice Registry.
Telehealth in Yukon is free and available to all communities within the territory. Individuals can book an appointment at any of the three Yukon hospitals to use videoconferencing technology for a variety of services including:
– Physio, occupational, and speech therapy
– Discharge planning
– Family visits
– Emergency radiology consults
– Diabetes education, nutrition counselling, and nutrition education
Residents can contact the Telehealth Coordinator with Yukon Health and Social Services.
NWT Virtual Care is a joint initiative between the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority (NTHSSA), Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency (TCSA), and Hay River Health and Social Services Authority (HRHSS).
To access the service, citizens can call their local health centre or clinic. Staff walk individuals through all the necessary steps, provide information regarding whether an appointment can take place via phone or video. All residents of the Northwest Territories can use NWT Virtual Care.
All Nunavummiut can access Telehealth for either clinical or non-clinical use.
Clinical services include consultation, assessment, referrals, follow-up, counselling, and debriefing. Non-clinical services include long-term and home care family visits and health education.
Residents must fill out a Telehealth request form to access Nunavut Telehealth. You must complete a Nunavut Telehealth request form and email to GN.Telehealth@gov.nu.ca. Call 867-975-6411 Option 3 for more information.
Telehealth is helping Canada create a health system that is more accessible and convenient than ever. Whether an in-person visit is inaccessible to you, or just undesirable, telehealth can help Health Insiders receive the care they need. With this Insider knowledge at your fingertips, you can save time, money, have greater flexibility with your physician.
Interactive map detailing telehealth offerings covered by Medicare in your province/territory.
Have you or a loved one used telehealth to manage your healthcare? We’d love to hear your story. Send us your feedback or share your story by emailing email@example.com