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Apply for a Nova Scotia Health Card

In Nova Scotia, basic health coverage (called Medical Service Insurance or MSI) is paid for through your taxes.

  • It is important to apply for a health card as soon as possible
  • This card gives you free medical and hospital services in Nova Scotia
  • Once you get your card, you must always carry it with you
  • Show your card when you go to your doctor, hospital, clinic or for any other health service you may require

Whether you immigrated or moved from another part of the country, coverage will generally begin two months after you arrive.

If you are coming from anywhere inside Canada, be sure to contact your province of origin to make sure you have provincial health coverage until your Nova Scotia coverage begins.

Your Nova Scotia health card does not cover some medical services. You can buy extra health insurance from private companies to cover prescription drugs, dental care, eye care, and medical equipment. These services are also often provided as part of an employee benefit plan.

Find a Doctor

Family doctors are the first point of consultation for patients of all ages. It is very important to find a family doctor for you and your family as soon as you can. To find a family doctor:

  • You can call the Physician Information Line at 902-424-3047
  • Call the Primary Health Care Connections at 1-855-444-4415
  • You can also check Capital Health’s website
  • Sometimes, lists of doctors accepting new patients can be found directly at hospitals
Walk-in Clinics
If you do not have a family doctor, there are walk-in medical clinics with qualified, licensed physicians who are ready to see you at any time. You can call the clinics to make same day appointments as well. Visit Doctors Nova Scotia for a list of clinics near you.

The Province offers a telephone service that provides all Nova Scotians with access to a registered nurse. HealthLink 811 is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, by dialing 811 on your phone. There are interpretation services available.

Learn more about HealthLink 811

Important Hospitals and Clinics

The Nova Scotia Health Authority provides health services to all residents of HRM as well as special services to all of Atlantic Canada.

The QEII (Queen Elizabeth II) Health Sciences Centre is the largest hospital in Atlantic Canada.

Hospitals and Health Centres with Emergency Services

Women and Children's Health

The IWK Health Centre provides quality health services to women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes provinces and beyond. They conduct leading research in Canada and provide both specialized and primary care services. In addition to health services, the IWK is also committed to health promotion and the support of the education of health professionals.

Sexual Health

The Halifax Sexual Health Centre offers free, confidential and accessible services to help enhance the sexual and reproductive health of Halifax’s residents. They offer clinical services as well as public education and public awareness.


There are a number of dental services in Halifax. For information on where to find a dentist, check the Yellow Pages.

Eye Doctors

There are a number of eye services in Halifax. For information on where to find an optometrist, check the Yellow Pages.

Health and Language Interpreters

The Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre offer language interpreters for free. Interpretation is available 24/7 both face to face and through telephone. American Sign Language is also provided. Tell the hospital staff or any other health services providers if you need an interpreter and it will be provided for you. If your doctor refers you for an appointment, they should specify on the referral form that you will require an interpreter.

For the IWK interpretation services, search under “interpretation and translation services” at their services directory or call 902.470.8572 or 1.888.470.5888, ext. 8572.902.470.8572 or 1.888.470.5888, ext. 8572

Important information

In Nova Scotia all indoor workplaces and public places are smoke free. These include outdoor licensed areas and restaurants, lounges, beverage rooms and cabarets. You can find more information about these laws in the Nova Scotia Smoke-Free Places Act.

Scent-Free policy requires you not to wear perfumes or fragrances. Most work places have a scent-free policy for employees and visitors, as many people have allergies and sensitivities to these scents.

Holistic Medicine practitioners and resources

Nova Scotia has dozens of holistic medicine practitioners from chiropractors and homeopaths to acupuncturists and naturopaths. If you are looking for a holistic medicine practitioner, you will find the Body, Mind, Spirit Directory helpful.

Safety Matters

Halifax Regional Municipality offers many programs and services to keep you and your family safe. Learn about them on our Safety page.

Learn about Safety in Nova Scotia