Medical Insurance

In Canada, health care can be very expensive if you are not covered with proper medical insurance. Strava College requires that all international students have basic insurance and extended health insurance for the duration of your studies.

Your first three months

If you have just arrived in British Columbia (BC), you will require private medical insurance for your first three months. You may register for private medical insurance through the Strava College International Office. The rate for the private insurance is $1.55 per day (fee subject to change).

After three months

International students will qualify for the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP) after living in BC for 3 months. The monthly costs for MSP coverage are (fees subject to change):

  • $72.00 for one person
  • $130.50 for a family of two
  • $144.00 for a family of three or more

International students must also have a valid study permit to qualify for MSP. Your BC Services Card (Care Card) will expire on the same date as your study permit. When you receive a new study permit, you must send a copy of your study permit to the MSP office to extend your BC Services/Care Card. Otherwise, your medical insurance will no longer be valid.

MSP covers the cost of basic medical care within BC and Canada including most physician and hospital services.

The Medical Services Plan (MSP) provides the following benefits:

  • medically required services provided by a physician enrolled with MSP;
  • maternity care provided by a physician or a midwife;
  • diagnostic services, including x-rays and laboratory services provided at approved diagnostic facilities when ordered by a registered physician, midwife, podiatrist, dental surgeon or oral surgeon;
  • dental and oral surgery, when required to be performed in a hospital

For more information please visit the Ministry of Health’s website: or call 1-800-663-7100


Pharmacare Program

What is BC Fair PharmaCare?

Fair PharmaCare is a provincial income-based program, designed to provide fair access to coverage for prescription drugs – the lower your income, the more assistance the government will provide toward your eligible drug costs. For example, if your net income from two years ago was $15,000 or less and you have registered for Fair PharmaCare, you will have 70% of your eligible prescription drug costs covered immediately, with no deductible, and 100% of your prescription drug costs covered after $300.

How does it work for B.C. residents?

Once you register, Fair PharamaCare coverage will kick in once you’ve reached your assigned deductible that Fair PharmaCare calculates based on your income tax data from two years ago. In the meantime, your UVSS Health Plan covers your prescription drug costs (up to 80% per policy year).

Once you have reached your deductible, the majority of your prescription drug costs will be paid by Fair Pharmacare instead of your UVSS Plan, allowing the UVSS to allocate coverage to other areas such as vision and dental care.

Fair PharmaCare will also assign a maximum amount of coverage per policy year, based on your income. Once your maximum reached, Fair PharmaCare will cover 100% of the cost of your prescription drugs. For most students, with incomes under $25,000, the maximum will be between $300 and $750.

How do I register?

I’m a B.C. resident with current MSP coverage under my family plan:

You need to call Health Insurance BC to establish your own MSP account (separate from your parents) and register for your own Fair PharmaCare coverage at the same time. Typical response time is prompt and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. See below for what information you will need.

Health Insurance BC: 1 800 663-7100
Monday to Friday from 8 am – 8pm
Saturday from 8 am – 4pm

You will need:

  • Your Personal Health Number (found on your BC Services Card/CareCard)
  • Your birth date
  • Your Social Insurance number
  • Your individual Net income from Line 236 of your income tax return from two years ago

I’m a B.C. resident (including international students) with my own MSP account, but I haven’t registered for Fair PharmaCare before:

You can register online or by calling Health Insurance BC at the number above.

You will need:

  • Your Personal Health Number (found on your BC Services Card/CareCard)
  • Your birth date
  • Your Social Insurance number
  • Your individual Net income from Line 236 of your income tax return from two years ago


If you are an international student who is now enrolled in BC MSP, and you have not filed a tax return in Canada, call Health Insurance BC and they will explain what you can use instead, such as a copy of your study permit.