When applying for a Working Holiday, other types of IEC permit or even for a visitor visa, the Canadian government, more precisely IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), may require you to take a medical exam.

Not all temporary residents will have to—read on to see if this extra step applies to you and what to expect.

Who may be required to take a medical exam?

  • You want to work with children in a school or a daycare setting. Océane, who is working as a pediatric social worker, shared her medical exam experience below.
  • You want to work in healthcare, like Camille, a neuropsychologist who also provides feedback about her medical exam below.
  • You have lived in or travelled to one or more of these countries or territories for 6 months or more in a row in the year before your trip to Canada.
  • You have a chronic health condition.

When should I take the required medical exam?

You will receive instructions from IRCC after submitting your permit application. You will find out when to book your appointment and what type of exam you need.

You will then have 30 days to complete the step. Follow these instructions carefully for a successful application.

Camille took her medical exam in Brussels and Océane booked hers with a panel physician in Paris. Both were able to get an appointment date within a week so don’t stress out about the timeline.

Can I just go see my usual family doctor?

No. Your medical exam must be done by a panel physician, i.e. a doctor approved by IRCC. You will find a list here.

What should I expect on the day of the appointment?

First, remember to bring:

  • A government-issued piece of ID with your picture and your signature on it. It’s best to bring your passport but national ID cards and driver’s licence are also accepted.
  • Eyeglasses or contact lenses, if applicable.
  • Medical reports or test results that you have for any previous or existing medical conditions.
  • A list of your current medications, if applicable.

After a fairly standard medical exam, the panel physician may also refer you to other healthcare professionals for lab tests (blood and urine) or a chest X-ray.

Océane shares a positive experience in Paris:

“I made an appointment in Paris on the same day as the collection of my biometrics. When I arrived, the doctor took my passport, took a picture of me and had me sign a document certifying that I had been vaccinated against Covid-19. Then he did a regular physical exam (cardiovascular check with a stethoscope, weight, height, eye test).

Back at his desk, he handed out a document to give to IRCC to have the condition on my Working Holiday permit removed, then he asked me a few general health questions. He then referred me to specialists for a blood test, a urinalysis (to check for transmissible diseases) and a chest X-ray (for tuberculosis).

My appointment was at 2 p.m. and was very quick. I then waited about 1 hour for the blood test. The X-ray took no more than 10 minutes. There’s nothing to stress about, it’s more of a courtesy visit.”

Camille agrees with Océane that it’s a very straightforward exam you shouldn’t dread. “Everything is very smooth. The X-ray can be intimidating, but it’s quick and painless. Everyone made me feel comfortable. You’ll be fine!”

How much is the medical exam?

You will have to pay the exam and test fees out of pocket because this immigration-specific exam won’t be covered by any public healthcare system or private insurance.

The fees depend on the panel physician.

Océane paid €200 for the physical exam, plus €50 for the urinalysis and €50 for the chest X-ray, so a total of €300. The first €200 was due right away and the last €100 later on, after getting the results back.

Note that medical exam fees are non-refundable if your application is denied.

Camille notes that it may be a good idea to bring your medical exam bill to Canada because according to the panel physician, employers sometimes cover these initial fees.

When and how should I send the medical exam results?

The panel physician will send the results directly to IRCC. You won’t see them, although you will be informed if a health issue is detected.
Keep a copy of the document given to you by the panel physician confirming that you took the required medical exam. You may be asked for this document when you arrive in Canada.

Note that your medical exam is only valid for only 12 months. If you leave for Canada more than 12 months after your medical exam, you will have to take it again.

I already got my port of entry (POE) but I want to take a medical exam to have the condition of my permit removed. What should I do?

If you’ve just realized you may want to work in healthcare or with children once in Canada, you do have to take the medical exam to have the relevant condition (“Not Authorized to work in child care, primary/secondary school teaching, health service field occupations.”) removed from your permit.

This is what to do at this stage, depending on your situation.

If you haven’t activated your permit yet

This is what you should do if your port of entry (POE) letter was issued but you’re not yet in Canada:

  • Make an appointment with a panel physician and take an upfront medical exam.
  • Bring the proof of medical exam with you and show it to the border services officer when you land in Canada.
  • Your permit will be issued without the condition “Not Authorized to work in child care, primary/secondary school teaching, health service field occupations.”

If you’re already in Canada with an activated permit

In this case, you will have to apply on paper to change the conditions on your permit. This is how to proceed:

Case Processing Centre in Edmonton
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
c/o Work permits for spouses or common-law partners, Station 777
9700 Jasper Avenue NW, Suite 55
Edmonton, AB T5J 4C3
The processing time is about three weeks.


En PVT au Canada de novembre 2021 à 2023, je répondrai à vos questions avec plaisir. Pour le premier trimestre 2024, direction l'Amérique latine !

I moved from France to Canada on a WHV from November 2021 to 2023, followed then by spending the first quarter of 2024 in Latin America! Happy to answer all your questions.

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