Ottawa - Post Report Question and Answers

Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

No health concerns, but we have had trouble finding a general practitioner. There is a shortage, and it is hard to find a doctor who is taking patients. A pediatrician was easy, luckily, but we have no one for my husband and me. - Aug 2015


No. - May 2014


Medical care is present but not available! They will see you in the ER or dentist office but any chronic care will require a trip to the U.S. - Jul 2013


No specific medical concerns to the region. The embassy has a medical unit staffed by a local nurse practitioner. Local care is good, but U.S. embassy personnel are not part of the Ontario health insurance system, so getting in to see GPs and specialists can be difficult. Many people go to Ogdensburg, NY or further into the U.S. for care whenever possible. - Jan 2013


There is a myth that the embassy is getting a health unit. I have heard this since we arrived 18 months ago. Still no health unit. We drive down to NY to see a doctor. One of us has had surgery in NY at the little hospital, and another in Vermont at the big fancy medical school. Walk-in clinics are very hit-and-miss, and it is almost impossible to find a GP here. The embassy has a 'deal' worked out with a local GP, but we find he is never there and spends the whole summer at his cottage without any kind of partner to see his patients. I find his practice way too annoying to deal with, so we just drive an hour south. I have kids who get lots of ear infections and strep throat - medical care was much easier at our last 3rd-world post. - Dec 2010


Healthcare has probably been our major source of unhappiness. We are not able to be part of the Ontario health system, and as a result, we find it very difficult to get in to see GPs and specialists. It took us a year to get on the rolls with a pediatrician, and he was less than impressive. Many folks choose to drive to the hospital in Ogdensburg to avoid the months-long wait for specialists. Our children were finally allowed to enroll as patients at the medical clinic at our local grocery store, but they refused to take my wife and me as patients -- so we have no doctor. The embassy has just created a medical unit, just like in the developing world! We will have a part-time MD and an RN who will be able to give shots and do well-baby checks. This will be operating from February or March of 2011 and will alleviate many of the concerns that we had during our first two years here. - Aug 2010


I've found care at the Ottawa Hospitals and good clinics in the downtown core to be comparable to anywhere else...with emergency care as quick as you'll see anywhere. If you need an MRI for a non-urgent issue...be prepared to wait. But seriously, the doom and gloom about our health care from others is quite overblown IMO. I have a great family physician and for any serious medical issue I or my family members have suffered from, I have received excellent care and didn't have to pay a cent...except for meds (where my company plan can cover the portion not funded by our provincial plan). - Nov 2009


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More