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International Patient Program
International Patient Program

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is an international patient at SickKids?

The eligibility criteria outline who is considered an international patient at SickKids.

2. Who is not considered an international patient?

Your child is not an international patient if he/she is 18 years of age or older, OR is a:

  • Non-Canadian person permanently living in Ontario.
  • Non-Canadian who cannot provide proof of landed immigrant status. Please note you must be able to provide government documentation regarding application for landed status, refugee status to receive care at the hospital.
  • Person who states they will permanently reside in Canada, or will re-establish residency in Canada, and will not return to their current country of residence after treatment is completed. Valid documentation regarding proof of their landed immigrant status/citizenship is required.
  • Person who has applied for landed immigrant status after arriving in Canada. This can be determined with valid documentation of landed immigrant status.
  • Refugee claimant awaiting Interim Federal Health Plan coverage (IFHP). You must provide a copy of your completed IFHP application to receive care.

3. What are the criteria for acceptance for treatment at SickKids as an international patient?

The eligibility criteria outline who is considered an international patient at SickKids. Once the completed referral form and all supporting medical documentation is received by the IPP office, the appropriate SickKids medical experts will review the application and medical information to determine whether SickKids can provide the care requested.

4. I have an inquiry. What do I do?

If you have questions about whether you child is eligible for treatment at SickKids, please complete the referral form. Alternatively, you may contact us in the IPP office. Prior to contacting the office with your questions, please have some basic information ready including the child’s name, date of birth, diagnosis, country of residence and citizenship, payment method and also identify the treatment you are requesting.

5. How do I apply to SickKids for treatment for my child?

In order to apply for assessment and treatment at SickKids, you and your child's home doctor must complete an International Patient Program referral form in full and in English. Parents/guardians must complete pages 1 to 3, and your child's referring doctor must complete pages 4 and 5. Depending on your child's condition, we may ask you/your child's doctor for additional information.

6. Is my child accepted for treatment at SickKids once I complete the referral form?

No. Completion of the referral form is only the first step in the process. Please review the full referral process. Once the completed form and all supporting medical documentation is received by the IPP office, the appropriate SickKids medical experts will review the application and medical information to determine whether SickKids can provide the care requested. Once this is determined, a treatment plan will  be developed, and an intake coordinator from the IPP office will contact you with the treatment plan and a cost estimate.

7. How long will it take for my application to be reviewed?

Once the application is completed in full and in English, and is accompanied by the required medical information, the IPP aims to have your application reviewed within 5 to 10 Canadian business days. Each application is individually reviewed by the appropriate SickKids medical experts, and therefore the time frame for review may vary if more than one SickKids doctor is needed to review your application. The IPP office will be in contact with you with a decision once your application has been reviewed by the medical team.

8. What happens if my referral form is not complete?

If your referral form is not completed in full and in English, or is missing supporting medical documentation, the IPP office will notify you or your child's referring doctor to request any missing information. Incomplete forms will not be processed by the IPP office until all required information is received, which in turn will delay your application being reviewed by the appropriate SickKids medical team.

9. What is the cost of treatment? How and when do I need to pay?

Please see detailed information about making financial arrangements to learn more about cost estimates and making payments.

10. Why does the International Patient Program need my financial information?

When an international patient referral comes through the IPP office, we must gather information on a large number of medical and non-medical factors, one of which is the potential means of payment.

Canadian citizens who permanently live abroad, or have been abroad for greater than 181 days, and who are not planning to permanently live in Ontario immediately following treatment at SickKids, are not eligible for health care coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP). Therefore, we must validate the potential means of payment for assessment/treatment as part of our due diligence.

For international patients who have medical insurance to cover the costs of treatment, the IPP office requires the following information prior to admitting a patient: the name of the insurance company, the policy number, the amount of the policy coverage, and a letter or guarantee of payment from the insurance company.

For families who have indicated that they will self-pay to cover treatment, the IPP office must understand the source of the funding, which usually means understanding parent income and number of dependants. We will respect your privacy and will use this information as part of the review process to ensure that the cost of treatment at SickKids will not negatively impact the long-term financial stability of the family as a whole, due to the financial burden that may be incurred as a result of the cost of treatment at SickKids. In addition, self-pay requires a full pre-payment of the treatment/assessment costs to SickKids before any treatment is scheduled and the patient is able to be admitted.

Please note that any financial information gathered is held in the strictest confidence within our International Patient Program office.

11. Will I/my child require a visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA) to travel to Canada?

Please visit Visa & Electronic Travel Authorization Applications.

12. Where can I stay during my visit to SickKids?

There are many hotels and furnished apartments located within walking distance to SickKids. Please refer to the Information for International Patients and Families Visiting SickKids for more details. Please note that the IPP office will not book accommodations on behalf of patients and families.

13. Do I need travel insurance if I/my family are travelling to Canada?

Yes, valid travel health insurance for both the patient and accompanying family members is required by Immigration Canada in order to enter Canada. You may be asked by Immigration Canada officials for verification of travel health insurance when you arrive in Canada. Failure to produce evidence of travel health insurance may prevent your entry into Canada.

14. Which airports are close to SickKids?

Toronto Pearson International Airport services the Greater Toronto Area. Most major international airlines have service there, often on a daily basis. The IPP office does not make airline bookings on behalf of international patients, so speak with your travel agent to determine the best route for your travel to Toronto.

15. I have never been to Toronto. What is there to do in and around the city?

There are many fun and interesting things to see and do in the city, including art galleries, museums, concerts, Harbourfront (along Lake Ontario), the CN tower, the Science Centre, Toronto Zoo and great restaurants. Below are several links to attractions, tours in and around Toronto.

You can also refer to the Information for International Patients and Families Visiting SickKids for more details.