Moving to British Columbia

We’re glad that you’re joining us at UBC! We know that there are many details to take care of and decisions to make when moving to BC. Some of the first things you’ll need to do when you arrive are to make sure that you and your family have health care coverage to cover the cost of medical services, and to enrol in UBC benefits, payroll and pension.

You can read more about these topics below, but here’s a summary of what you need to do:

  • As soon as you arrive in BC, apply for Medical Services Plan (MSP), the province’s medical plan.
  • Since you will be required to serve a waiting period before your MSP coverage starts, arrange for private medical insurance if you are arriving in BC from outside Canada. If you are coming to BC from another Canadian province or territory, you will be covered by your former provincial medical plan during the waiting period.
  • Apply for your UBC benefits, payroll and pension.

What is the BC Medical Services Plan?

In Canada, the cost of medically necessary physician and hospital services is covered by the public medical plan in the province where you live. In British Columbia, this plan is called the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (MSP).

All BC residents must enrol in the MSP. This includes:

  • non-permanent residents, such as those holding study and work permits valid for six months or more and
  • applicants for permanent resident status who are the spouse or child of an eligible BC resident.

Tourists and visitors to BC are not eligible for MSP.

Learn more about the MSP.

What do I need to do if I’m arriving from outside Canada?

If you are a new or returning resident coming to BC from outside Canada, you are required to serve a waiting period before your MSP coverage starts. The waiting period is made up of the balance of the month of your arrival plus an additional two months. For example, if you arrive in BC from outside of Canada on August 15, you are not eligible for MSP until November 1.

During this waiting period, you should purchase private medical insurance so that you will be reimbursed for the cost of eligible medical claims. If you do not purchase private medical insurance, you will have to pay directly for the cost of medical services. Learn more about buying private medical insurance during your waiting period.

Apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. You can enrol for MSP through UBC, with your spouse’s employer or with Health Insurance BC (administrator of MSP). When deciding whether to enrol for MSP through UBC, review the Eligibility and Costs section to determine the cost to you, if any. If there is a financial advantage for you to enrol in MSP through UBC, please complete the UBC MSP enrolment form. Make sure you enrol for one MSP plan.

You do not need to enrol in MSP through UBC to take part in the other UBC health benefits available to you, such as Extended Health and Dental.

If you are eligible for or have been approved for premium assistance, enroll for MSP with Health Insurance BC. Do not enrol for MSP through UBC. See our Premium Assistance page for more information.

If you enrol for MSP through UBC, you will be automatically enrolled at the end of the waiting period. Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter from Health Insurance BC letting you know how to obtain your BC Services Card, which shows your Personal Health Number. The BC Services Card is proof of your MSP enrolment and you will need to show it to receive medical services. Each member of your family will receive their own card.

What do I need to do if I am arriving from another Canadian province?

If you are a new or returning resident coming to BC from another Canadian province, you are required to serve a waiting period before your MSP coverage starts. The waiting period is made up of the balance of the month of your arrival, plus an additional two months. For example, if you arrive in BC from another province on August 15, you are not eligible for MSP until November 1.

During this waiting period, you will continue to be covered under your former province’s medical plan.

Apply for MSP as soon as you arrive in BC. You can enrol for MSP through UBC, with your spouse’s employer or with Health Insurance BC (administrator of MSP). When deciding whether to enrol for MSP through UBC, review the Eligibility and Costs section to determine the cost to you, if any. If there is a financial advantage for you to enrol in MSP through UBC, please complete the UBC MSP enrolment form. Make sure you enrol for one MSP plan.

You do not need to enrol in MSP through UBC to take part in the other UBC health benefits available to you, such as Extended Health and Dental.

If you are eligible for or have been approved for premium assistance, enroll for MSP with Health Insurance BC. Do not enrol for MSP through UBC. See Premium Assistance for more information.

If you enrol for MSP through UBC, you will be automatically enrolled at the end of the waiting period. Once your application is processed, you will receive a letter from Health Insurance BC letting you know how to obtain your BC Services Card, which shows your Personal Health Number. The BC Services Card is proof of your MSP enrolment and you will need to show it to receive medical services. Each member of your family will receive their own card.

How do I enrol in UBC payroll, pension and benefits?

Your letter of offer will explain how to enrol for UBC payroll, pension and benefits and will show your enrolment code. When you enrol for payroll, pension and benefits online, enter your enrolment code to automatically view the forms you need to complete.

Your appointment type, length and percentage of time worked will determine your eligibility for pension and benefits at UBC. If you are eligible, the full benefits package includes:

Learn more about how to enrol for benefits, payroll and your pension. Once you have completed your forms online, print them and send them to UBC Payroll.

Questions?

Contact benefitsinfo@hr.ubc.ca