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Immigration, Manitoba, Provincial Nominee Programs, Work Permits

Manitoba Health Care and the 12 month work permit

What is the difference between a 12 month work permit and an 11 1/2 month work permit in Manitoba?  Outside of 14 days, the major difference between the two is that a 12 month work permit entitles a foreign worker and his or her family to Manitoba health care while a work permit of under 12 months does not.

As almost all Manitobans know, Manitoba offers universal health care to all its residents. Under this plan, Manitoba residents are entitled to primary care without having to pay fees (the costs of health care are covered through taxes). In other words, if you need to see a doctor for the flu, cancer treatment or a broken bone set, there are no fees that have to be paid.

Because a non-Canadians and a non-Canadian permanent resident is not normally considered to be a “resident of Manitoba” for the purposes of Manitoba Health’s insurance coverage, exceptions have been created to allows certain foreign workers to be “deemed” to be residents. As a result, these “deemed” residents are eligible for Manitoba Health’s insurance coverage.

Because the line in the sand is 12 months, when applying for a work permit to work in Manitoba, it is important for both employees and employers to keep in mind how long the work permit will be issued for.

The consequence of a foreign worker not being deemed a resident of Manitoba for health insurance purposes can have some dramatic consequences. First, Manitoba extends health care coverage to a resident’s spouse/common-law partner and dependent children. As a result, if the foreign worker does not have a 12 month work permit, none of his or her family will have health care coverage.

Second, the cost of not being covered by Manitoba Health can be huge. Without Manitoba Health insurance, individuals will have to pay out-of pocket for treatment. If individuals opt for private travel insurance, costs can be high depending on the age and pre-existing health condition of the individual. As well, private insurance is not typically as comprehensive. Private insurance will often have deductibles and may also have co-payments and a maximum coverage amount. Manitoba Health’s insurance has none of these.

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About Reis Pagtakhan

Reis Pagtakhan is an immigration law partner with MLT Aikins LLP. His extensive experience includes assisting businesses obtain temporary entry to Canada and permanent residency for their executives, employees and contractors from all over the world. Reis has lectured on and written papers on immigration law for the Law Society of Manitoba, the Manitoba Bar Association, the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba, the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, and the Community Legal Education Association of Manitoba. He has presented position papers before the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Immigration Department officials and Manitoba Labour and Immigration. He has written articles on immigration for the CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press, trade, industry and ethnic publications.

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