Now, more than ever, it’s important to get access to healthcare services. However, access to many services has changed due to the current strain on our healthcare system, and it can be more difficult to get out and visit providers.
Thankfully, many healthcare services are now available virtually so you can access them with ease from the comfort of your own home. Whether by phone, email or online, you can get health advice, connect with a physician, refill a prescription and more.
We have created a guide to help you learn which healthcare services are available virtually, and how to access them. Please note that the resources in this document are provided for information purposes only. Equitable Life® is not associated with any of these providers, does not endorse their products or services and is not responsible for the contents or accuracy of any third party website referred to in this document.
Virtual medical care
Free virtual medical care
If you’re in need of medical care, try your family doctor first. Many are offering virtual appointments by phone or video call. Contact your doctor to learn about your options or to set up a virtual appointment.
If you don’t have a family doctor or aren’t able to connect virtually with your own doctor, many companies are now offering virtual health care to help people get the services they need when and where it’s convenient for them. Like a virtual visit with your own doctor, consultations are done over the phone or a video call and can include referrals to specialists. Some companies also provide pharmacy services or mental health services as part of their package.
Some of these services are free to use if you live in a province that covers virtual health services and have a valid health card. In provinces where these services aren’t covered by the public plan, the fee may be eligible under a Health Care Spending Account.
Virtual care providers whose services are covered in various provinces include:
Free for residents of Ontario with a valid health card
As part of Ontario Health, OTN coordinates many programs that are covered under Ontario’s health care system. In addition to eVisits they can connect your health care team to specialists, support virtual palliative care, and provide mental health resources.
Free for residents of Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec with a valid health card. Patients who live in other provinces will be reimbursed through a health care spending account or through their private insurance.
Tia Health provides on-demand and scheduled access to doctors, psychotherapists, naturopaths, veterinarians and more. You can connect to the doctor by phone, video or secure messaging. Their service also includes prescriptions renewal and delivery, referrals, and mental health resources.
TELUS Health MyCare™
Free for residents of British Columbia with a valid health card.
TELUS Health MyCare™ offers a mobile app that allows you to check symptoms, consult with doctors and access your health records. Their Artificial Intelligence asks you questions about your symptoms to suggest possible courses of action. Consultations with doctors occur over video chat and can lead to prescriptions and referrals.
Saskatchewan Virtual Visit
Free for residents of Saskatchewan with a valid health card.
The Saskatchewan Virtual Visit Program uses audio or video conferencing allowing health care providers to connect with patients at home or a location of their choice. This is a provider-driven service; patients cannot “sign up” for the Saskatchewan Virtual Visit Program on their own. Talk to your health care provider and ask if they are using this program.
Free for Alberta and British Columbia residents with a valid health card.
Rocket Doctor provides same-day consultations and scheduled virtual appointments with board-certified physicians. Consultations are completely covered by provincial insurance. Doctors on the platform can fill prescriptions, provide medical notes, order lab work and help with any family medicine and primary care needs.
Free for Ontario and Manitoba residents with a valid health card.
Gotodoctor has operated Virtual Healthcare clinics since 2012. The platform offers phone and video consultations seven days a week, including evenings and weekends. Medical questions, prescriptions, sick notes, and specialist referrals are all available.
Free to eligible Quebec Blue Cross clients with a health care plan and/or disability insurance.
EQ Care offers 24/7 virtual healthcare services for a wide range of health issues. These include refilling or receiving a new prescription, referrals to health specialists, access to doctors and mental health professionals, and support for lab tests.
BounceBack is a free virtual mental health resource provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH).
This skill-building program is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage mild to moderate depression, stress, anxiety and more. Canadians can talk to a coach over the phone and access videos and tools online.
Paid virtual medical care
There are several virtual care providers where you can pay by appointment or set up a monthly or annual plan. Like the virtual medical care services covered under provincial plans, these paid services provide access to their network of doctors, nurses and specialists. Their fees may be eligible to claim through your Health Care Spending Account.
Virtual care providers who charge a fee for service include:
Maple is a digital platform that offers access to doctors and other health practitioners. You submit your symptoms, then get connected with a doctor through text, video or audio chat in order to get a diagnosis and/or prescription. Maple also partners with PopRX to deliver prescriptions to your home.
GoEvisit uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and evidence based medicine to reduce consult times to under 10 minutes without any wait. You describe your symptoms in the app, then get a diagnosis and treatment plan from a doctor. GoEvisit has partnered with Alliance Pharmacy to offer prescription delivery to your home or office.
TELUS Health Virtual Care
TELUS Health virtual care provides online access to family doctors, nurses and specialists via your mobile device, tablet or computer.
Available for Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia residents.
MD Connected offers virtual specialist appointments which include Dermatology, Pediatrics, Urology, Psychiatry and more. It also allows for virtual walk-ins to speak to a doctor within minutes for medical advice, prescriptions/refills, referrals, medical forms, mental health, travel consultations, or COVID-19 screenings.
MindBeacon offers mental health support for Ontario residents dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and more. Simply create and account and answer questions about how you are feeling and your situation. A therapist will create a plan for you and will work with you one-on-one.
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Health advice over the phone
Every province and territory offers phone-based health services to address non-life-threatening concerns. These phone lines provide free, confidential advice from a registered nurse 24/7. The nurse will ask you questions, assess your symptoms and determine the best care for you.
Some of these services are in high demand and wait times may be longer than usual. Check the website for your province or territory’s health services below for more information.
In a medical emergency call 911 immediately.
Phone-based health services by province
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Emergency dental services
A dental emergency is any dental problem that needs immediate treatment to save a tooth, stop ongoing bleeding or stop severe pain. Dental emergencies may include:
- Knocked out tooth
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Bitten tongue or lip
- Objects caught between teeth
Do not go to a hospital emergency room for a dental problem. If you think you have an emergency, call your dentist. They will be able to give you advice, set up a visit to their office, or direct you to another dentist who will see emergency patients.
You can find more information from your local dental authority, including lists of emergency dental clinics, using the links below.
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Getting a prescription filled online
Most major pharmacies offer online prescription and refill services. Some will also deliver your prescription to your door for free. These can help you save time and more easily manage your prescriptions.
Check with your pharmacy to see if they offer online and phone refills or delivery options. Some of the major Canadian pharmacies which provide these services include:
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Accessing virtual paramedical services
Some paramedical appointments can be completed over a phone or video call. Like a virtual doctor’s appointment, these virtual paramedical services can help you manage your health when you can’t visit your paramedical provider in person.
Paramedical providers that may offer virtual services include:
- Registered Dieticians
- Social Workers
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Therapists
Check with your paramedical provider to see if they can continue treatment virtually.
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