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International Patient Program
International Patient Program

Our Principles

All critically ill children deserve access to specialized health care, regardless of their place of origin or geographic location. However, many countries do not have the level of care available at SickKids to provide the type of treatment required, either due to economic circumstances or insufficient capacity to provide ongoing access to specialized treatment.

While the focus of care and priority at SickKids will always be meeting the needs of children who are residents of Ontario, we acknowledge that there is a moral responsibility to provide care to critically ill children from abroad. By consistently applying key principles, our screening process allows SickKids to offer care to international children in need, while ensuring that the children of Ontario always have full and timely access to care and treatment at SickKids.


  1. As a referral hospital located within the province of Ontario, SickKids' priority for patient care is focused on the treatment of children from Ontario requiring emergent, urgent and/or critical care.  
  2. No child who is a citizen of Ontario will be denied treatment nor have treatment deferred at SickKids in favour of an international child.

    The International Patient Program focuses on international patients seeking to access those clinical areas and programs within SickKids that have internal capacity to accept international patients. SickKids ensures that providing care to an international child will not negatively impact access to care for children from Ontario or Canada. In circumstances where there is a wait list for treatment within a department or division, the international request will either be declined or placed on a wait list subject to availability at some point in the future.
  3. International patients must meet specific eligibility criteria for treatment at SickKids. Based on regulatory guidelines set by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as well as the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA), SickKids may only consider those international children seeking complex medical and/or surgical care that is highly specialized (or unique to SickKids) and that is not available in a child's home country or region. The Surgeon-in-Chief and/or the Paediatrician-in-Chief undertakes a final review and approval of all international treatment plans to ensure compliance with Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) guidelines.
  4. Applicants up to 17 years of age may be considered, provided the proposed treatment is completed by his/her 18th birthday.
  5. Where possible, SickKids will use technology in conjunction with the unique capabilities of the SickKids team to provide cost effective and efficient clinical care and expert advice for our international patients and families.
  6. All revenue generated through international patient activity is directed back into the hospital to reimburse the costs incurred with treating the international patient, and to support program development and capacity growth that will also directly benefits Ontario patients. At no time is any money originally allocated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for the treatment of Ontario residents redirected toward the treatment of international patients. In order to ensure this can be achieved, all planned international admissions require pre-payment in full before treatment is scheduled or provided, or a letter of guarantee of payment from the insurance provider or foreign government agency.

For further information regarding the International Patient Program, please contact us.