Finding a Family Doctor

Family doctors are typically a first point of contact for health care in Canada, and they are the best option to receive ongoing medical care. Family doctors will diagnose and treat most medical issues, provide periodic health exams, and provide referrals to other health professionals if needed.

The following are some resources you can use to find a family doctor:

  • Drop-in or book an appointment with a physician at the UHC located in 2-200 SUB.
  • Call Health Link at 8-1-1 for health advice and health care inquiries. This free 24/7 phone services will help you determine if you should visit a family physician or stay home and self-manage.


Alberta Health Care Card Eligibility

As an international student studying in Canada, you can access health care services through a publicly funded provincial health plan. You may also be eligible for an Alberta Health Care Card if you are a:

  • Canadian resident who resides permanently or temporarily (minimum 12 months) in Alberta; or
  • Student with a 12-month (or longer) study permit who will be residing in Alberta for at least 12 months. Important note when applying for an Alberta Health Care Card: You will need a billing address. (This is the Alberta address linked to your credit card you use to pay to the school you are attending in Alberta.) Learn how you can register for the AHCIP.

Drop-in/walk-in clinic
If you have a medical concern, you can visit medical centres without booking appointments (e.g., University Health Centre in SUB 2-200).
Registered nurse
A nurse who is licensed to practice after receiving 4 years of university-level training.
This terms refers to health professionals who assess patients and determine who should be treated first. The priority in this case is not first-come, first-serve. Instead, priority is based on the severity of the medical situation.
Additional prescribing authority
Alberta pharmacists have a unique ability to obtain this type of authority. This authority allows them to write prescriptions for certain medications (e.g., antibiotics, antidepressants, inhalers, birth control drugs, heart medications, and diabetes medications) as a way to provide ongoing patient care.
Referral health care system
This means there is more than one level of health care service where, upon assessment from a health provider, you may be referred to additional medical services. In Canada, there is primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of health care services.
Ongoing medical care
Receiving ongoing medical care means that you are receiving continuous care, and/or coming back to the same doctor as other medical issues come up. This term can also indicate that you have a designated family doctor.
Private practice
Canada's health care system is publicly funded. However, some health practitioners offer services that are either partially covered or not covered at all (as outlined in your insurance plan) because they are not "medically necessary" services (e.g., cosmetic surgery). These health practitioners have a private practice.