What is IEC Travel Insurance for Canada?
Every year thousands of Australians head to Canada on the International Experience Canada (IEC) program for a one or two-year working holiday.
Between hitting the slopes in numerous snow resorts, trekking and hiking in scenic Jasper National Park, exploring the Rocky Mountain ranges, white water rafting on the Yukon or kayaking on one of Canada’s thousands of pristine lakes, there’s so much to do and see you’ll certainly never be bored on your days off work!
The IEC program only accepts a limited number of participants each year, so it’s important to make sure you meet the strict visa and work permit requirements so that you don’t miss out. Travel insurance that covers the duration of your IEC visa is one of those requirements.
Fast Cover’s working holiday travel insurance for IEC visas, provides cover for travellers who want to experience living and working in Canada for up to two years as part of the IEC program.
5 Things you should know about IEC Travel Insurance
1. Cover for repatriation
It’s a requirement by Canadian immigration that travellers participating in the International Experience Canada program are covered for repatriation, hospital and medical. Good news is that all Fast Cover policies provide cover for repatriation and overseas emergency hospital and medical expenses.
2. Two years’ worth of insurance
Another requirement for International Experience Canada policies is that it covers you for the length of your visa. Fast Cover policies can be purchased for up to 1 year and extended for up to another year, ensuring you receive cover for the duration of your two-year working holiday visa.
3. Ability to return home without voiding your IEC insurance
Not all IEC travel insurance policies allow you to return home for a visit without voiding your insurance policy. Fast Cover policies allow you to return home, and resume your trip, as long as you have at least 14 days remaining on your policy.
4. Travel insurance that covers snow sports and adventure activities
5. Travel insurance with pre-existing medical cover
When purchasing travel insurance for working in Canada, it’s always a good idea to double check that any Pre-Existing Medical Conditions you have are going to be covered. Fast Cover policies provide cover for up to 43 Pre-Existing Medical Conditions.
Can I get travel insurance for 2 years in Canada?
In short, yes! We provide travel insurance policies for many Australians heading to Canada for the International Experience Canada program every year.
We can provide a policy for up to two years through a policy extension, and have provided Fast Cover IEC insurance policies to a lot of Aussie travellers heading to Canada for the International Experience Canada program every year.
Initially we are only able to issue you with a 12-month policy. Then, from up to a month before your policy start date, you can login to the Your Policy section of our website and extend it up to the full two years. The date changes are instantaneous, and you'll be able to download your updated certificate immediately showing your new cover dates. If it is less than one month until your departure, you will be able to extend immediately.
You can also contact us via phone or reply to your policy confirmation email to arrange this extension for you.
Why do I need IEC Canada Insurance for my Working Holiday Visa?
Travel insurance is required for the IEC visa because it can provide cover for some of the various unforeseen and unexpected emergencies you might experience while travelling in Canada.
Australians travelling to Canada to undertake a 2-year Working Holiday Visa as part of the IEC program are required to have International travel insurance that includes medical, hospitalisation and repatriation cover for the duration of their visa.
All Fast Cover Comprehensive, Snow Sports Plus, Standard Saver and Basics policy options include 24-hour Overseas Emergency Medical Assistance as well as unlimited Overseas Emergency Medical and Hospital Expenses cover for IEC travellers.
Also included with this benefit is:
- Repatriation: cover for medical transport and related expenses if you become seriously ill or injured overseas and need to be returned home to Australia for treatment.
- Up to $15,000 AUD cover for the repatriation of your remains to Australia if the worst should happen and you die overseas.
If you’re in an emergency while on your working holiday in Canada, our emergency assistance team can help direct you to local medical providers, coordinate alternative transport, and act as a guarantor for overseas emergency medical expenses if required.
For more information and the latest requirements about the International Experience Canada insurance, visit the Canadian Immigration and Citizenship website.
Is there health insurance for visitors to Canada?
Canada does have a public health care service available for Canadian Citizens and permanent residents. To access it, you’ll need to apply for provincial health insurance and serve the waiting period which is generally up to 3 months but you should check with the province you reside in. Alternatively, your employer may provide it for you once you have served your probationary period. So, once you get a job, ask your boss about getting universal healthcare. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll be issued with a card which you are required to present when you attend a medical clinic or hospital.
However, you should be aware that Canada’s public health insurance may not provide the level of covered required for your IEC visa.
Common expenses that may not be covered by provincial health care include:
Participating in Snow Sports is a very common activity for travellers on an International Experience Canada visa.
IEC visa insurance can provide assistance if you’re injured whilst participating in not only winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, but injuries from other covered sports or riding a motorcycle, moped or scooter. If you end up with a broken bone or become injured while participating in activities that we provide cover for including surfing, scuba diving or hiking, you have a 24/7 team of medical assistance experts that you can call to aid you in the event of an emergency.
If you’re injured or sick when you’re travelling, we have a 24/7 emergency medical assistance team that will be able to organise repatriation for you to return home to Australia for treatment, if they deem it necessary. The emergency team can arrange for you to be accompanied by a registered and approved nurse if required, and there’s also cover for an immediate family member to fly to Canada and fly back home to Australia if needed.
If your bag is lost, stolen or damaged, the Luggage and Personal Effects benefit can provide cover for your loss. If someone grabs your bag while you’re travelling or tries to rip your possessions out of your hands, there may be provision to claim under your IEC Canada insurance. Make sure that you obtain a police report within 24 hours of the theft to submit with your claim.
Be wary, keep your stuff in sight and reach at all times!
Fast Cover Travel Insurance policies also include Personal Liability Insurance.
This benefit can provide cover should a claim be made against you for the death or injury of a person, or the physical loss or damage to property. Travel insurance may be able to assist in the payment of compensation and legal expenses whilst you work in Canada.
What if I get the Coronavirus COVID-19 while I’m doing the IEC?
The Canadian Government have extended their healthcare cover for foreign travellers affected by COVID-19.
Currently working in Canada
You may already be eligible to receive cover on the Medical Services Plan (MSP) as per other residents of Canada.
Recently arrived in Canada for work
The waiting period for the MSP has been waived in some provinces and you may already be eligible to receive cover.
Visa has expired
If your visa has expired and you are unable to return to Australia, you may have access to their Temporary MSP.
You have been laid off
If you have been laid off due to COVID-19 and you are unable to return to Australia, you may have access to their Temporary MSP.
For more information on the COVID-19 situation for Australians in Canada, you can check:
- The Australian High Commission website
- The guidelines of the provincial health authority in your area. For example, British Columbia are offering the Temporary MSP and waiving the waiting period for eligibility.
The Government of Canada website
Can I get cover for skiing, snowboarding or other snow sports?
Yes! If you want to do any skiing, snowboarding or other snow sports while in Canada or overseas, you can purchase our Snow Sports Plus policy which provides cover for:
- On-piste skiing and snowboarding
- Off-piste skiing and snowboarding with a professional instructor
- Big foot skiing and snowboarding
- Cross-country trail skiing
- Glacier skiing and snowboarding
- Cat and heli-skiing
- Ice skating
- Ice luge-ing
If you will only be skiing or snowboarding for a short length of time (less than a month or two), you may purchase a Comprehensive, Standard Saver or Basics policy to provide cover for your IEC visa, and then purchase a Snow Sports Plus policy to cover the time that you will be skiing or snowboarding.
What other sports and activities are covered?
Just because you’re on a work permit doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play!
Canada’s many lakes, national parks and rugged wilderness means there’s no shortage of outdoor activities and adventure sports for you to try while you’re there.
To help you make the most out of your days off work, Fast Cover automatically covers a bunch of exciting sports and activities that are particularly popular in Canada. For travellers who are looking for something a little more thrilling to do during their time off, we also have an optional Adventure Pack add-on to cover more risky activities.