Provincial Health Coverage – MSI

What is MSI

MSI stands for Medical Services Insurance and is Nova Scotia’s Health Insurance Program. This program is designed to provide eligible residents with coverage for medically required hospital, medical, dental and optometric services. An MSI card is available to Nova Scotia residents and provides access to major medical and hospital care.

Am I eligible?

Students who have lived in Nova Scotia for 12 months in a row and who have not left the province for more than 31 days in a row, may be eligible for MSI.

If your Study Permit is valid for a minimum of 12 months, you can apply for coverage the first day of the thirteenth month that you arrived as a student. For example, a student arriving in Nova Scotia in July 2015 cannot apply until August 2016.

Find out more about MSI eligibility (

How to get an MSI card

You must apply for an MSI card. Applications are assessed on an individual basis and proof of Citizenship or Immigration documentation is required. Once the application is processed, health cards are issued.

Apply for an MSI card by calling the MSI Registration Office toll free within Nova Scotia at 1-800-563-8880

Learn more about applying for an MSI card (

Continuous Coverage and Annual Renewal

For continuous coverage, a copy of each Study Permit must be submitted to MSI and a declaration must be signed each year.

Once you receive your MSI card, please take note of the expiry date. To renew your card you must apply 30 days before the expiry date. You will be asked to prove that you have not left the province for more than 31 consecutive days (in addition to other requirements).

Apply for renewal of your MSI card by calling the MSI office toll free at 1-800-563-8880 (in Nova Scotia).

Learn more about renewal of your MSI card (

How is MSI Different from TIC?

TIC provides comprehensive coverage for CBU international students. There is a fee for TIC coverage. There is no fee for MSI, but it only provides basic services. Anyone who only has MSI for their health care coverage will be required to pay for prescriptions, hospital visits and stays, among other costs. Many Nova Scotians who have MSI also have private health insurance like TIC to take care of these costs.

Health Care in Canada

Health Care in Canada is guided by universal coverage for medically necessary health care services on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay. This publicly funded health care system is made up of ten provincial and three territorial health insurance plans. The plans are known as “medicare”.

Learn more about health care in Canada (

Health Care in Cape Breton

Health care in Cape Breton is guided by the Nova Scotia Health Authority. The NSHA is made up of hospitals, health centres and community support systems who work together to create a healthier Nova Scotia.

Learn more about the Nova Scotia Health Authority (

Where to get help:

CBU’s Max Bell Health Centre is a conveniently located health clinic on campus and has a full-time nurse and part-time doctor. The clinic can usually fit you in within a day.

There are other clinics in the area as well. Sydney’s main clinic is the Sydney Walk-In Clinic at 336 Kings Road, and you can find other clinics by doing a quick Google search for ‘health clinics in Sydney, NS’.

Please note: The hospital’s emergency room is for emergencies only. The Cape Breton Health Authority assesses patients when they arrive and treat the most serious illnesses and injuries first. If your situation is not an emergency, you could wait for hours.


Donalda Johnston-Roper
International Student Advisor

Office: B 117-4

Phone: 902.563.1278