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Insurance and Health Care for International Students

The Québec insurance system is undoubtedly very different from the one in your country of origin or residence.

All Student Association members are covered by group insurance, but as an international student, you must have Québec health and hospital insurance for the duration of your studies in Canada. This obligation is stipulated by law, and is a condition of the Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) that you were issued. ÉTS does not recognize private insurance coverage from your country of origin, except in the case of CBIE Scholarship recipients.  

Other types of insurance, including civil liability and Alliance pour la santé étudiante au Québec (ASEQ) health and dental insurance, are optional, but are strongly recommended.

You should always carry your RAMQ or Desjardins health insurance card in case you need it. Your RAMQ card can also be used as ID.

The section below contains all of the information you need concerning mandatory and optional insurance.

Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)

If you are a citizen of a country that has signed an agreement with Québec (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden), or if you have diplomatic status, you may be eligible for the RAMQ public health insurance plan. The competent authority of your country of origin (e.g., CPAM in France) is responsible for determining your eligibility.  

Note that as an international student, you are automatically covered and billed under the Desjardins Group Insurance Plan (Policy Q178). Proof of eligibility for the RAMQ plan must be provided to opt out of Desjardins insurance.

Health care coverage

The RAMQ plan provides coverage for medical services and emergency care. Visit the RAMQ website for details on the various services that are covered. Pay close attention to the health care coverage while outside Québec if you are planning to travel or do an internship program abroad during your studies. For more detailed information, contact RAMQ directly by phone or in person.

The RAMQ insurance plan is free, with the fees being covered through the agreement between your country and Québec. As a general rule, there are no fees to pay when receiving care at a hospital or clinic. However, if any fees are charged, follow the procedure outlined on the RAMQ website to request a reimbursement. 

Your health insurance card will usually have the same expiration date as your CAQ. If it does not cover the full duration of your study program, you must renew your subscription to the RAMQ plan and provide proof to ÉTS. 

RAMQ is able to verify at any time whether you are still studying full time or doing an internship, as planned when you registered. If you do not respect these conditions, you may lose your eligibility and be required to reimburse RAMQ for covered services received during the year.

Change of address and stay outside Québec

If you move, you must keep your address up to date throughout the period when you are covered by the Québec health insurance plan, in particular to receive renewal notices. You must enter your change of address information online. 

It is also important to remember that you must inform RAMQ if you leave Québec for more than 21 consecutive days (excluding the day of departure and the day of return). If you do not respect these conditions, you may lose your eligibility and be required to reimburse RAMQ for covered services received during the year.

1. Obtain, fill out, and have signed the proof of insurance or certificate of enrolment in your home country’s health insurance plan.

Bring the original copy of this document with you to Québec. For French students, this includes:

  • Regular programs: SE-401-Q-102
  • Exchange, dual-degree, and joint programs: SE-401-Q-106
  • Laboratory internships: SE-401-Q-104

2. Gather all the necessary documents:

  • Passport ID page and another ID card with photo (e.g., student card)
  • Document confirming your enrolment in your country’s social security plan, completed and signed by the competent authorities and your home institution (if applicable)
  • Proof of enrolment at ÉTS:
    • SE-401-Q-102: Attestation d’inscription officielle (Official registration certificate) available at the service counter of the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of the semester
    • SE-401-Q-106: Relevé d’inscription-facture (Registration and billing statement) available in your MonÉTS portal
    • Persons from a signatory country other than France: Attestation d’inscription officielle (Official registration certificate) available at the service counter of the Registrar’s Office at the beginning of the semester
  • Original CAQ (for a stay of more than 6 months):
    • As of March 15, 2023, Québec’s Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) no longer issues printed copies of the CAQ. When your Québec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) is approved, a confirmation letter stating that the certificate was issued for study purposes will be deposited in your online file.
  • Original study permit or authorized entry issued by the Government of Canada:
    • For stays of less than 6 months where a study permit is not required, provide a photocopy of the ID page of your passport.

3. Once you have arrived in Montréal, enrol in RAMQ health insurance:

  • Read and follow the RAMQ registration procedure
  • Students and interns can register online even if they are accompanied by a dependant (e.g., spouse, child). Be sure to have a scanned copy of all required documents.
  • If you do not meet the criteria for registering online, you must fill out the form to schedule a telephone appointment.
  • Appointment slots are added early each morning from Monday to Friday.
  • Note that when a Montréal mailing address is required, business addresses (such as hotels, youth hostels and universities) are not accepted.

New students (first-time enrolment)

You do not have to take any steps with ÉTS to enrol in the RAMQ health insurance plan, but you will have to prove to ÉTS that you have RAMQ coverage in order to opt out of Desjardins insurance.

Returning students (renewal)

It is possible that your RAMQ card may not cover you for the entire duration of your study program and, just like with your CAQ and your study permit, you will have to apply for a renewal using the procedure outlined on the page Renew a Health Insurance Card. 

It is important to begin the process as early as possible in order to send your new proof of enrolment to the Registrar’s Office at assurances.etrangers@etsmtl.ca before your current card expires. If proof of enrolment is not received by the specified deadline, ÉTS will be forced to add Desjardins group insurance to your file. The annual premium to be paid will be indicated on your Registration and billing statement. Please note that if you submit RAMQ proof of enrolment after the deadline, you may be reimbursed for the subsequent months, but not for any months that have ended or the current month. 

Your RAMQ card expires on August 31. The annual Desjardins insurance fees are added to your file on September 2. You receive your new RAMQ card on November 10 and submit it to the Registrar’s Office, which can reimburse you for the subsequent months, namely December to August, but not for the fees incurred for September, October, and November. 

Desjardins Insurance

As an international student at ÉTS, you are automatically covered and billed by the Desjardins group insurance plan (Policy Q178). You may only opt out of the Desjardins plan if you have proof of eligibility for the RAMQ plan. Please note that this is individual coverage only. If any members of your family are staying with you in Québec, you are responsible for taking out private insurance for them (e.g., Desjardins Visitors to Canada Insurance – PDF document, in French).

Health care coverage

The Desjardins insurance plan covers medical and hospital costs, prescription medication, and guaranteed repatriation in the event of disability or death. Carefully read the documents listed below, and more specifically the exclusions and the sections on pre-existing conditions, travelling to the United States, pregnancy, and HIV, depending on your situation. We suggest that you contact the insurer to find out the type of care and services covered before consulting a doctor for non-urgent care.

  • Insurance policy Q178 – Brochure (available on your Desjardins portal)
  • Access to your online Desjardins group insurance account 
  • Your payment card (PDF document, in French)
  • Registering for online services (PDF document, in French)
  • List of medical clinics suggested by the insurer (available in your Desjardins portal) 
    Please note that you can consult another physician at the clinic of your choice, but these clinics generally accept the Desjardins card up front, which means that you don’t have to pay and then request reimbursement.

The cost of the Desjardins insurance plan is automatically added to your ÉTS tuition fees billing statement. Premiums vary depending on your starting semester and are subject to change each year.

Fall semester (September 1 to August 31) 

  • Start of coverage: August 15 (or if later, on the date you arrive in Québec) 
    If you arrive before August 15, you must take out private insurance until August 15. 
  • $972 

Winter semester (January 1 to August 31) 

  • Start of coverage: December 15 (or if later, on the date you arrive in Québec) 
    If you arrive after December 15, you must take out private insurance until December 15. 
  • $648 

Summer semester (May 1 to August 31) 

  • Start of coverage: April 15 (or if later, on the date you arrive in Québec) 
    If you arrive after April 15, you must take out private insurance until April 15.
  • $324

Fees for laboratory interns: $81 per month (the full month will be charged regardless of the day of enrolment)

Fees for exchange students: $324 per semester

Important note

If you arrive in Canada before the coverage start date, or if you wish to extend your stay after completing your studies, you must take out private insurance during that time (e.g., Desjardins Visitors to Canada Insurance).

The insurer and ÉTS no longer issue cards on paper. You can access your digital card on the Desjardins online portal. The Registrar’s Office will send you the certificate number and policy contract number by email. Please note that a new contract number will be sent to you each fall semester for the new academic year as the old one will no longer be valid. 

You will receive the information concerning your contract approximately six weeks after you have paid the insurance fees on your Registration and billing statement. See the Tuition fees page for the various payment options. Note that the insurance portion only can be paid directly on site by credit or debit card. 

Important note

If you require medical care and do not yet have access to your electronic card, write to insurances.etrangers@etsmtl.ca to obtain a temporary medical certificate. Note that the insurance portion must have been paid.

As an international student, you will automatically be covered under the Desjardins group insurance plan, and you will automatically be billed, even if you are covered under the RAMQ plan. The premium to be paid will be indicated on your Registration and billing statement (Relevé d’inscription – Facture), which can be found in your MonÉTS portal. 

You may only opt out of Desjardins insurance if you have proof of enrolment in the RAMQ plan. Desjardins insurance will be cancelled or reimbursed once you submit proof of enrolment in the RAMQ plan (eligibility letter or card) to insurances.etrangers@etsmtl.ca by the following deadlines, which correspond to the first day of the last month of the semester. 

  • Fall semester: December 1 
  • Winter semester: April 1 
  • Summer semester: August 1 

After this date, no fee cancellation or refunds for the current semester will be authorized by the Registrar’s Office, including any penalties. Given that RAMQ processing times can be several weeks and that there may also be delays if there are any missing documents, we encourage you to start the process as soon as possible after your arrival in Montréal. 

It is likely that you will have to pay for a consultation at a hospital or clinic not on the list of medical clinics suggested by the insurer. To file a claim for reimbursement, you must keep the invoices for any medical expenses incurred and submit your claim online or through the Omni mobile app. 

We suggest that you contact the insurer to find out the type of care and services covered before consulting a doctor for non-urgent care.

As mentioned, the Desjardins insurance available at ÉTS only offers individual coverage for students. If members of your family are accompanying you during your stay in Québec, you are responsible for taking out private insurance for them as soon as you arrive. This is not only important for their health and safety, but is also a requirement for immigration, since it is one of the CAQ conditions. Consult the section Obtaining health and hospital insurance for you and your family members who will be with you for the duration of your stay. 

Compare the various plans offered by insurance companies in terms of inclusions and exclusions (e.g., pregnancy, pre-existing conditions) and choose the one that best meets your needs and budget. ÉTS does not recommend any specific company, but as an example, our students generally opt for Blue Cross, Ingle International, or Desjardins Visitors to Canada Insurance. 


lease note that minor children (18 and under) of study permit holders are now eligible for the Québec public health insurance plan. Visit the RAMQ website to learn more. 

Dental and extended health care (ASEQ health and dental care)

In Canada, dental care and extended health care can be expensive. For example, a routine visit to the dentist can cost around $150. Except in case of an accident, dental care and dental emergencies are not covered under any of the basic health insurance plans. In response to these needs, your student association, AÉÉTS, offers supplemental group insurance through ASEQ. 

If you are an international student, you are only eligible for dental coverage, with the exception of international students covered by the RAMQ plan, who are also eligible for ASEQ health, vision, and travel insurance. Depending on the chosen option, this insurance provides coverage for specialized health care (e.g., dietitian, osteopath), certain drugs, vision care, vaccination, and psychological services.  

This insurance is optional and supplemental. 

To enrol, contact ASEQ within 30 days of registering with RAMQ. The fees will be added directly to your ÉTS billing statement.  

All questions should be directed to the insurer; in the event of a problem, contact the student association. 

Dental insurance provides a reimbursement of 70% to 100% of dental care, up to a maximum of $750. All coverage, applicable exclusions, the reimbursement process, and the procedure for generating your insurance certificate number are described on their website. 

The coverage period and associated fees (amounts subject to change) depend on the admission/billing semester. 

  • Fall semester: Coverage from September 1 to August 31; $240 fee ($80 billed in the fall and $160 in the winter). 
  • New winter semester admissions: Coverage from January 1 to August 31 ($160 fee). 
  • New summer semester admissions: No enrolment in ASEQ. You will only be billed starting in the next fall semester. 

For new doctoral students who have up to the 10th week of the semester to register, ASEQ insurance may not be automatically added to their file. If you would like to enrol, contact AÉÉTS at rep3cycle@aeets.com


This insurance is optional, but systematically charged to your file, except for students in an exchange program (0469, 4023). You are responsible for taking the required action by the specified deadlines to change your insurance coverage.

Opt-out or change in coverage

Opt-out requests must be submitted directly to ASEQ via their website during the authorized period, which is generally 30 days after the start of the semester (September 30 or January 31). The terms of your insurance coverage cannot be changed during the academic year. For example, if you ask to opt out in the fall semester, you will not be allowed to re-enrol in the winter or summer semester. Conversely, no opt-out requests can be processed after the deadline. 

International students covered by RAMQ can enrol in ASEQ’s health, vision, and travel insurance. This insurance is optional. Depending on the chosen option, this insurance provides coverage for specialized health care (e.g., dietitian, osteopath), certain drugs, vision care, vaccination, and psychological services. 

To enrol, contact ASEQ within 30 days of registering with RAMQ. The fees will be added directly to your ÉTS billing statement. 

Home insurance

RAMQ and Desjardins insurance does not cover your property or damage you may cause to others (civil liability). Home and liability insurance is mandatory if you are staying at the ÉTS university residences. 

This insurance is also highly recommended if you live off campus. Home and liability insurance must be taken out by each person individually and can be easily done online. You can request online quotes from various insurers with a few clicks on comparison sites (e.g., ClicAssure). You are also eligible for a discount for this type of insurance by becoming a member of the Réseau des ingénieurs du Québec. 

Travel, repatriation, and accident insurance

Your health and hospital coverage may or may not include travel and repatriation insurance. 

If you have Desjardins insurance

Desjardins insurance includes coverage outside Québec for emergency medical treatment as well as travel assistance for a maximum duration that varies depending on the destination and the reason for your trip. Refer to the section “m) Out of Québec” in the insurance brochure and contact the insurer before you leave to confirm the conditions that will apply to your situation. 

If you are covered by RAMQ

It is essential to visit the RAMQ site to understand the terms and conditions of reimbursement for medical expenses incurred outside Québec. Contact RAMQ directly to determine whether it is more advisable to purchase private travel insurance to avoid unpleasant surprises and hefty costs. If applicable, compare the rates offered by different companies (e.g., ASEQ travel insurance) 

If you have Desjardins insurance

Desjardins insurance includes guaranteed repatriation in the event of complex and continuing medical care or in case of death in Canada. Therefore, you do not need to purchase supplementary insurance to cover this component.

If you are covered by RAMQ

RAMQ does not cover repatriation in the event of disability, emergency, or death. If you wish to have such coverage, you will need to take out additional private insurance.

Whether you are a full-time or part-time student, you are covered in the event of an accident while on campus or while commuting between ÉTS and your home. Promptly contact the Prevention and Safety Office.

By phone

  • From the ÉTS campus: Ext. 8900 
  • Off campus or from the residences: 514-396-8900 
  • In case of emergency (from internal phones only): Dial 55 

In person

Go to Pavilion A, Suite A-0110 (1100 Notre-Dame Street West). In case of an emergency, call 911. 

After the incident

After the incident, security officers will prepare an accident report to be used as a supporting document for claims submitted to the insurer. 

To file a claim with the insurer, you must complete and submit the claim form along with the required supporting documentation within 90 days of the accident. 

Health care in Québec

In Québec, you will have to turn to different resources depending on the nature and urgency of your health issue. Some types of care will be covered by your health and hospital insurance, but others will not. 

Learn how to find your way around Québec’s health care system by consulting our presentation (in French). Also visit the Santé Montréal website to choose the right type of professional. 

If an emergency occurs on campus, dial 55 from an internal phone to contact Security at all times (Pavilion A, Room A-0110). 

If you (or someone around you) require immediate care: 

Call 9-1-1

This number puts you in touch directly with the fire department, paramedics, and police, and dispatch will assign the proper responder(s) based on the nature of your call. 

Important note

Use this number only for emergencies. Otherwise, you may be given a ticket. Ambulance transportation is not free, and the person being transported to a hospital generally must assume the associated costs. 

Go to the emergency room

If you are able, go to the nearest hospital emergency room. See the list of hospitals. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Important note

Emergency rooms are often overcrowded and wait times can be long. It is important to only visit an emergency room when necessary.

If you need to see a health professional for a non-urgent problem, different options are available. 

Telephone consultation | Info-santé 811

This telephone service is free, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By calling 8-1-1, you will talk to a nurse who can give you advice and answer your questions. The nurse will direct you to the appropriate local resources (e.g., walk-in clinics). 

In-pharmacy consultations

You can go to a local pharmacy and talk directly to a pharmacist about minor health issues or if you have questions about your medications or over-the-counter products. For more information on the services available free of charge in pharmacies, visit Santé Montréal’s website

Make a medical appointment

For a medical appointment, there are different types of clinics where you can receive medical care: CLSCs (local community service centres), family medicine groups, private medical practices, and hospitals. 

Visit the Health and wellness portal to find the nearest resource. The search is done by postal code. Carefully read the information specific to each clinic regarding making an appointment or walk-in access. 

Important note

If you are covered by Desjardins insurance, only some clinics offer free medical consultations. You will need to have your ÉTS student card, Desjardins insurance card, and the form. If you make an appointment somewhere else, you may have to pay the required fees and then file a claim for reimbursement. Refer to the Desjardins Insurance tab for full details. 

Make an appointment online (RAMQ only)

The Bonjour-santé app is a fee-based service ($18.95 per appointment) that performs online searches for medical appointments within the next few hours. 

Are you experiencing personal or academic problems? Never hesitate to consult a professional who can help you. 

Various free and confidential resources are available, both at ÉTS and elsewhere. 

Contact Us

Please contact the Registrar’s Office to submit your proof of RAMQ coverage or to obtain your Desjardins health insurance card.