Living in Canada
There are two health insurance plans available to University of Guelph international students and their families, the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) and the Student Health & Dental Plan.
UHIP is mandatory for all international students except Norwegian students. Please do not buy your own medical plan.
UHIP covers the cost of the hospital and medical services that international students may need during their stay in Canada while registered at the University. This includes doctor's visits, diagnostics and lab services such as blood tests and x-rays, some surgeries, and more. Visit the UHIP website for a detailed explanation of your coverage.
Always carry a physical or electronic copy of your UHIP card on your person. Student Health Services on campus will accept your UHIP card and will not charge you additional fees for the services that are part of your coverage. They bill UHIP directly for all services that are covered on the plan so you can avoid any surprise fees.
If you go to an after-hours walk-in clinic, you may have to pay for the visit initially, and then make a claim to UHIP to get reimbursed. There are also sometimes fees that cannot be reimbursed if you go to a provider that is outside of the UHIP Preferred Provider network.
Always get health and medical attention in a timely manner but give thought to where you obtain your care and use healthcare services as required by the nature of the problem. Emergencies should go to the Emergency Department at the nearest hospital. For other healthcare issues, use your family physician when possible.
The UHIP fee is compulsory and it is charged as part of your tuition and fees which can be viewed on WebAdvisor. All international students (paying international fees) will automatically be enrolled in UHIP (single coverage). See the most current rates on the Student Financial Services website.
Your UHIP card will be sent to your U of G email by SunLife, the UHIP insurance company, during the first week of class. You will not be able to use medical services, even emergency services, without your UHIP card. Make sure to save your UHIP card and carry a copy with you.
If you have questions about your UHIP plan or what to do in terms of medical help, please contact one of our International Student Advisors.
UHIP for Family Members
You must enroll your dependents (spouse and children) with UHIP within 30 days of their arrival to Canada. It is the student's responsibility to complete the UHIP - Coverage for Your Family application and submit it to Student Financial Services (University Centre, Level 3). An additional premium is charged. Contact the UHIP Administrator in Student Financial Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information or to enroll your dependents.
In addition to UHIP you have the Student Health and Dental Plan which is paid for in your student fees. The Student Health Plan covers some medical costs that are not covered by UHIP, such as prescription drugs, physiotherapy, and vision care. The Dental Plan provides some coverage for routine dental care such as examination, consultation, and cleanings. For up-to-date information on the coverage visit the University of Guelph Student Health Plan website.
Students can pick up their myBenefits card from the Student Benefits Plan Office in the University Centre (UC Room 108A) or print a copy from the University of Guelph Student Health Plan webiste.
Note: If you arrive in May, your enrolment and coverage may vary. For more information, visit the University of Guelph Student Health Plan website.
Health and Dental Insurance for Family Members
Students with families can also add their dependents to their Student Health and Dental Plans for a fee. Contact the Student Benefits Plan Office in the University Centre (UC Room 108A) for more information and deadlines.
Health Care Services
Click below to find out more about the health services available to you both on- and off-campus, and for emergencies.
For students and their families, Student Health Services on campus acts as your 'family physician' by offering comprehensive healthcare services including family physicians, nurses, a psychiatrist, a dietician, and a health educator on staff. If you visit a physician during regular office hours Monday to Friday (either with an appointment or in the walk-in clinic) the cost of the visit is considerably less than seeking care in an after-hours walk-in clinic or in the Emergency Department of a hospital. Family physicians also provide referrals for diagnostic services (laboratory work or x-rays) and to appropriate specialists when needed. Student Health Services is located in the J.T. Powell Building (168 Reynolds Walk). The following health services are also available and provided by Student Wellness:
When the on-campus Health Services are closed, you can go to an after-hours clinic. A list of after-hours resources is available on the Student Health Services website.
If there is an injury or illness that requires immediate medical attention, then you should go to the Emergency Department at the nearest hospital. You can get there on your own by searching for the nearest hospital with an emergency department or call an ambulance by dialing 911.
Ontario Photo Card
Tired of carrying around your passport and study permit for identification purposes? You can keep these documents in a safe palce and apply for an Ontario Photo ID Card instead.
The Ontario Photo Card is government-issued photo identification that allows people who don't drive and are over 16 years of age to access government, financial, or business services that require proof of identity.
Fore more details, connect with one of our International Student Advisors, or go to Service Ontario. Please note that you do not have to apply for an Ontario Photo ID card if you already have an Ontario Drivers License.
You may be eligible for a refund or some benefits from the Canadian Government. Click here to find out more.
Telephone and Email Phishing Scams
It is important that you know how to protect yourself against scams targeting international students. Please read below for more information and resources about how to identify fraud, how to report it, and how to protect yourself.
In some telephone scams, the caller pretends to be a police or immigration officer and tells you that you broke the law. It is probably a scam or a phishing scheme if:
- you have to pay money, or
- you need to give personal information (date of birth, passport number, bank account, or credit card information, etc.), or
- you are told you will be arrested, go to jail, lose your visa or status, be deported, or have your account suspended if you do not pay or give your personal information.
Remember that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) does not:
- collect money or payments by phone or prepaid credit cards through a private money transfer service provider (e.g. Pay Pal or MoneyGram).
- ask you to confirm basic personal information you already provided on a form.
One of the most common methods of cybercriminals to access your personal information is through email phishing scams, where they attempt to lure you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment, try to convince you to share your identity information (e.g. passwords), or try to infect your system with malware.
If you receive a suspected phishing attempt:
Below you will find some information and resources about living off-campus. For more information please visit Off-Campus Living or connect with one of our International Student Advisors.
There are leases that do not include utilities and you have to pay for it, including hydro. Your hydro or electricity bills can be very expensive if you are not cautious about saving energy. Here are some GryphTips for saving on your hydro bill:
- You can pay your bills online through Guelph Hydro and check how much energy you used every hour.
- Ask your landlord how the house is powered and heated (natural gas, electricity, or both).
- Ask your landlord if you're enrolled in Time-of-Use Rates for electricity. If you are, plan your daily routine and use energy mostly during off-peak hours (7 pm - 7 am).
- Turn off and unplug electronics when they are not in use.
- Minimize the usage of air conditioning and electric heaters.
- Was your clothing in cold water and dry clothing during off-peak hours.
Residential waste has to be sorted into three categories: green for organics, blue for recyclables, and grey for garbage. Find out how to sort your waste on the City of Guelph website.
Contents can be placed inside a cart without using a bag or liner. If you would like to use a bag for the green cart, paper bags and certified compostable bags can be purchaes at local retailers (such as Dollarama, No-Frills, Walmart, and other grocery stores). Do not use a bag or liner for your blue cart (except for shredded paper in a transparent bag). Only clear bags are accepted in your grey cart.
Your green cart (organics) is collected every week, while the blue and grey carts are collected every two weeks. Download the Guelph Waste App to get reminders about your waste collection schedule.
The Guelph Transit buses operate throughout the week and weekends. The routes and times vary. To determine the best routes and departure times, visit the Guelph Transit website.
All students pay a set fee for unlimited use of the Guelph Transit buses as part of your student fees. Your student identification card is used as your bus pass - tap your card and you can ride anywhere in Guelph.
Without a valid student bus pass (e.g. for families of international students), an exact change of $3.00 is required. Fare cards are sold at guelphtransit.ca.
Heading out of town? Buses and trains are the most common ways of getting around Ontario, other provinces in Canada, and the United States. If you have your International Student Identiy Card (ISIC), you may be eligible for a discount on these services. ISIC cards can be obtained free of charge from the CSA office, University Centre Level 2.
- Via Rail is the main passenger train service for getting around Canada and makes connections to Amtrak, the United States rail service. Their toll-free hotline is 1-888-842-7245 or visit the Via Rail website for more information.
- Greyhound Canada offers cross-Canada and United States bus service. Visit the Greyhound website for more information.
- GO Transit is a bus service that operates out of the City of Toronto and runs from the University of Guelph to the greater Toronto area daily. There is also a GO Train service that runs between Guelph and Toronto on weekdays. Visit gotransit.com for more information and a list of GO Bus schedules.
There are different rules and requirements for driving or renting a car in Ontario depending on whether you are a visitor or a new resident. More information regarding these regulations and car rentals can be found on the Service Ontario website.