Health in Halifax
Apply for a Nova Scotia Health Card
In Nova Scotia, basic health coverage (called Medical Service Insurance or MSI) is paid for through your taxes.
- It is important to apply for a health card as soon as possible
- This card gives you free medical and hospital services in Nova Scotia
- Once you get your card, you must always carry it with you
- Show your card when you go to your doctor, hospital, clinic or for any other health service you may require
Whether you immigrated or moved from another part of the country, coverage will generally begin two months after you arrive.
If you are coming from anywhere inside Canada, be sure to contact your province of origin to make sure you have provincial health coverage until your Nova Scotia coverage begins.
Your Nova Scotia health card does not cover some medical services. You can buy extra health insurance from private companies to cover prescription drugs, dental care, eye care, and medical equipment. These services are also often provided as part of an employee benefit plan.
Find a Doctor
Family doctors are the first point of consultation for patients of all ages. It is very important to find a family doctor for you and your family as soon as you can. To find a family doctor:
- You can call the Physician Information Line at 811
- You can also register online
It is also a good idea to visit the Nova Scotia Health Authority's Primary Care website, as there is a more comprehensive approach to health. They try to cover as many possible factors related to the health of a person during their lifespan as possible in this approach.
Did you know?
The Province offers a telephone service that provides all Nova Scotians with access to a registered nurse. Their 811 service is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week, by dialing 811 on your phone. There are interpretation services available.
If you do not have a family doctor yet, there are walk-in medical clinics with qualified, licensed physicians who are ready to see you at any time. You can call the clinics to make same day appointments as well. A full list of Walk-in Clinics in your area, rated by availability, can be found at Skip the Waiting Room.
Important Hospitals and Clinics
The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) provides health services to all residents of HRM as well as special services to all of Atlantic Canada.
For a list of Hospitals and Clinics near you, please visit the NSHA's locator.
Hospitals and Health Centres with Emergency Services
- Dartmouth: Dartmouth General Hospital , 325 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth
- Dartmouth: Nova Scotia Hospital Nova Ho, 300 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth
- Eastern Shore: Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital, 22637, #7 Highway, Sheet Harbour
- Halifax: Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, 1278 Tower Road, Halifax
- Halifax: IWK Health Centre, 5850/5980 University Ave, Halifax
- Lower Sackville: Cobequid Community Health Centre, 40 Freer Lane, Lower Sackville
- Middle Musquodoboit: Musquodoboit Valley Memorial Hospital, 492 Archibald Brook Rd, Middle Musquodoboit
- Musquodoboit Harbor: Twin Oaks Memorial Hospital, 7702 #7 Highway, Musquodoboit Harbour
Women and Children's Health
The IWK Health Centre provides quality health services to women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes provinces and beyond. They conduct leading research in Canada and provide both specialized and primary care services.
In addition to health services, the IWK is also committed to health promotion and the support of the education of health professionals.
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre offers free, confidential and accessible services to help enhance the sexual and reproductive health of Halifax’s residents. They offer clinical services as well as public education and public awareness.
There are a number of dental services in Halifax. For information on where to find a dentist, check the Yellow Pages.
There are a number of eye services in Halifax. For information on where to find an optometrist, check the Yellow Pages.
Health and Language Interpreters
The NSHA and the IWK Health Centre offer language interpreters for free. Interpretation is available 24/7 both face to face and through telephone. American Sign Language is also provided.
You can tell the hospital staff or any other health service provider if you need an interpreter and they will find a way to provide one for you. If your doctor refers you for an appointment, they should specify on the referral form that you will require an interpreter.
Look at the IWK interpretation services or call at 902.470.8572 or 1.888.470.5888, ext. 8572.902.470.8572 or 1.888.470.5888, ext. 8572.
Did you know?
In Nova Scotia all indoor workplaces and public places are smoke free. These include: outdoor licensed areas and restaurants, lounges, beverage rooms and cabarets. You can find more information about these laws in the Nova Scotia Smoke-Free Places Act.
Scent-Free policy requires you not to wear perfumes or fragrances. Most work places have a scent-free policy for employees and visitors, as many people have allergies and sensitivities to these scents.
Holistic Medicine practitioners and resources
If you are looking for a holistic medicine practitioner, you will find the Nova Scotia Good Health Directory useful.
Nova Scotia has dozens of holistic medicine practitioners from chiropractors and homeopaths to acupuncturists and naturopaths. Call 902-431-6370 for more information.
HRM has a Police Department, a Fire Department and ambulance services to ensure the safety of its residents.
With 51 fire stations across HRM, the Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency (HRFE) services protects and serves Halifax’s residents and has been doing so since 1754, being the oldest fire department in Canada.
The HRFE provides a wide range of services, such as:
• fire prevention (fire inspections and code enforcement, fire investigations and public fire safety education)
• fire suppression and rescue
• technical rescue (auto extrication, machinery, ice water, high-angle rope, trench, and confined space rescue, collapse rescue)
• hazardous materials response including chemical, biological, radioactive, nuclear, and explosive
• pre-hospital emergency medical services
• emergency management
Visit their Prevention and Safety site for more information about how you can prevent and detect fires, and keep you and your family safe.
Also, if you want to go camping or burn fires at your backyard, it is important to check the Provincial burning restrictions site to prevent fires and other accidents, particularly during wildfire risk season. Please keep in mind that these restrictions are updated every day.
HRM has both a municipal police service (Halifax Regional Police or HRP) and a contracted police service (Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP). The Halifax Regional Police is mostly responsible for the urban areas, and the RCMP works chiefly in the sub-urban and rural areas.
Both the HRP and the RCMP focus on community issues and use the community-response model of policing. A couple of examples about how this model works are:
- Communities work with a Community Response Officer to identify and resolve problems
- Patrol officers work in certain areas so the officers can get to know the community and help with quality-of-life and safety issues
Also, the HRP offers a wide variety of community programs & services.
Victim Services Unit of Halifax Regional Police
The Victim Services Unit of the Halifax Regional Police provides helpful services to victims of crime, especially domestic abuse. Victim Services provides crisis intervention, support and referrals to victims and answers questions in person or by phone at 902-490-5074. All victims have the right to choose to stay anonymous.
Did you know?
- 911 is the phone number for all emergencies in Halifax and Nova Scotia.
- Use 911 for emergencies ONLY.
For police non-emergencies, call 902-490-5020. Someone will answer 24 hours a day.
The Nova Scotia Department of Community Services is a provincial department that provides a range of support for children, youth and families, services for people with disabilities, employment support, income assistance and help with housing and repairs. To find out more contact the Central Regional Office at 902-424-5074.
If you need legal services in Nova Scotia, there is a number of options available for you.
Visit the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia or call 902-454-2198. They provide information for newcomers in different languages.
If you need legal services but can't afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to get help through the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission. They provide a lawyer for people who can't afford one.
There are 13 community-based law offices in Nova Scotia that deal with legal aid cases, as well as the Halifax/Dartmouth Metro Community Law Clinic. To find out more, call the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission at 902-420-6583 or toll free at 1-877-420-6583.
For refugee claimants, legal aid is available through the Halifax Refugee Clinic; you can reach them at 902-422-6736.
Information for seniors
Halifax has plenty of services for people of all ages. There are, however, services especially directed to seniors to assist their needs and help them connect with the community.
- There are 48 community centres in HRM that have space for seniors to meet and engage in activities together. Contact the centre closest to you or call 902-490-4000 for more information
- Some community centres are run by HRM. Others, however, are based on faith, sports, common interests and cultural connections
- There are clubs that are focused on senior immigrants
HRM runs a Seniors' Home Safety Program that evaluates seniors' residencies to enhance their safety.
Nova Scotia Department of Seniors
The Nova Scotia Department of Seniors is a provincial government agency that responds to seniors’ issues and concerns.
The toll-free information line allows seniors, family members and friends, to get help in accessing information dealing with government services and programs. They publish a guide called Programs of Positive Aging for seniors and their families. This guide is an information directory that gives seniors a quick and easy access to the programs and services available for them in Nova Scotia.
The Department also provides important information, support and services related to Senior Abuse. You can call for help or to talk about your concerns; all calls are kept confidential.
For more information call 902-424-0065 or toll free 1-800-670-0065.
Did You Know?
Many places in Halifax have a senior day. Seniors get discounts on different products or services on that day.
Halifax Transit offers services and programs to help and encourage seniors to use public transportation.
YMCA Halifax/Dartmouth offers a Senior Snow Removal Program. Call 902-483-3678 for more information.
Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness, Continuing Care Branch
For those seniors who are living at home, the Continuing Care Branch of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness provides access to a range of home, community and long term care services.
For more information call toll free: 1-800-225-7225.