MSP in BC – The Rules – Updated 2020

A word to the wise for all those working in BC on the IEC Visa, you might want to read this to the end. Today I learnt something new at work. I learnt that for the last year I haven’t been enrolled in MSP when I should have been. MSP stands for Medical Service Plan.

“The Medical Services Plan (MSP) insures medically-required services provided by physicians and supplementary health care practitioners, and diagnostic procedures.”

Within BC it is mandatory for all eligible residents and their dependants to have under the Medical Protection Act. Now I didn’t think that this was mandatory for people on the IEC Working Holiday Visa because in order to get the Visa we had to come with travel insurance that covers us for the length of our visas.

However, I found out today when my workplace asked for my medical card to enroll me for the enhanced medical coverage I get through my workplace, that in fact I should have been registered since I started working in BC. I didn’t quite believe it so thought it was time to do some due diligence and guess what, that under the IEC Visa you are still required to take out MSP if you work in BC. Don’t believe me, check out this screenshot from

My Great Canadian Move
MSP Enrolment in BC

So what happens if you should have been enroled but you haven’t been? Truth be told I am not entirely sure. I have heard that they can make you backdate your payments but I will find out more when my MSP card comes through in the next few weeks. One thing I didn’t want to do was wait to let any of you know just in case you were also unaware of this. This it is not obvious unless an employer tells you and my last 2 employers in BC have not mentioned it because neither offered any benefits with my job.

I hope this helps some of you and I will update the post in a few weeks to tell you the outcome of my application. Until then take care.

Latest Update

MSP is no longer payable within British Columbia as of January 1st, 2020.

4 thoughts on “MSP in BC – The Rules – Updated 2020

  1. It’s only “law” if you need to claim . You are eligible to join on the IEC scheme but it’s not mandatory for foreign nationals.
    If you don’t have travel insurance it’s the only thing you can sign up to though.


    1. Even with travel insurance, and believe me I have comprehensive insurance, it was still a requirement to get MSP. I made this as my argument not to get it but it didn’t make a difference.


    1. Yes, it has now been scrapped for everyone as a separate payment. Also, you didn’t start paying MSP until you become a permanent resident. That’s why you still need travellers insurance for the duration of your visa to cover any unexpected medical expenses.


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