Do I need a medical exam?

Basically, for the Working Holiday, you only need a medical exam in the following situations. 

Jobs that put you in close contact with people, such as:

  • workers in health-care settings
  • clinical laboratory workers
  • patient attendants in nursing and geriatric homes
  • medical students admitted to Canada to attend university
  • medical electives and physicians on short-term locums
  • workers in primary or secondary school settings, or workers in child-care settings
  • domestics
  • workers who give in-home care to children (nanny or au pair), the elderly and the disabled
  • day nursery employees and
  • other similar jobs


You have lived in one or more specific countries or territories for at least 6 months in a row in the year before entering the country

Why do I need the medical exam?

With this medical exam, the Canadian government wants to ensure that you do not have a disease that endangers the Canadian population or determine that you are not going to be a burden for the Canadian health insurance system.

Where can I take the medical exam?

The medical exam can only be performed by a licensed panel physician. A family doctor is not allowed to do it. 

How much does the medical exam cost?

Depending on the medical office performing the medical exam, around $400 CAD.

My appointment for the medical exam is after the deadline, what do I do?

You can submit proof that you’ve made an appointment to get one. Submit all documents and the application. Then IRCC will open up a new upload spot and give you a new deadline for the upload. Usually another 30 days. You can then upload the form later. 

After uploading, you must also submit the document.

To do this, you have to continue with NEXT and click through all the steps until the status of the document is set to "replacement provided". Only then the document is completely submitted.

What can I expect during the medical examination?

First, the doctor will fill out a medical questionnaire about your medical history and medications.

Then the doctor will:

  • weigh you
  • measure your height
  • check your hearing and vision
  • take your blood pressure
  • feel your pulse
  • listen to your heart and lungs
  • feel your abdomen
  • check how your limbs move
  • look at your skin

Then you need to do a blood test (to test for HIV or syphilis) and a chest x-ray. Depending on the clinic, it may not be possible to do it in the same building, then you have to drive across the city to one of the laboratories.

What happens after the medical exam?

  • The medical office will submit the medical results directly to IRCC.
  • They will give you an information printout sheet that you have to upload into the spot in your Working Holiday application. 

How long is the medical exam valid?

The medical exam is valid for 12 months. If you do not activate the work permit within this period, the medical expires and you have to take a new one.

As you know, a POE is valid for 12 months, which means that you can activate your work permit within the 12 months. But: The medical is only valid for 12 months.

Example: If the medical was done on October 15, 2022, and the POE was approved December 15, 2022, you only have until October 15, 2023 to activate the work permit. So 12 months from medical not from POE approval.

Can I do the medical exam before the application to save time?

Yes, a medical exam can also be done beforehand. However, consider the following risks:

  • A medical exam is valid for 12 months. The 12 months for the activation of the work permit therefore begin with the date of the medical not with the date of POE approval.
    • Example: You do the medical in January 2023, but get the POE approval October 2023, then you must activate the work permit by January 2024 at the latest, otherwise the medical will expire.
  • If you do the medical before receiving an invitation, it’s risky because you don’t know if you’ll receive an invitation (the Working Holiday process is a lottery and many countries have more applicants than spots available). If you are not invited, the medical is wasted, because it expires after 12 months.

If my Working Holiday application is refused, will the medical exam cost be refunded?

No, the medical exam fees will not be refunded. 

I did not do a medical as part of the application, I would like to do one now

This is definitely possible and there are two situations:

You only have the POE and haven’t activated the work permit yet

If the work permit is not yet activated, it is quite simple.

  1. You have to have an “upfront medical” done by a panel physician. The list of all worldwide licensed doctors >here<
    • It is best to do the medical at least 4-6 weeks before activating the work permit, so that the government has enough time to receive the results from the doctor and they appear in the system of the border agency.
  2. You will receive a confirmation that a medical exam has been done or an IMM 1017B Upfront Medical Report
  3. You take this confirmation with you to the border and show it to the immigration officer.
  4. The officer will then issue the correct work permit without restriction.
  5. Please check before leaving the immigration office if the restriction is removed. This would normally be at the bottom of the work permit.
  6. You can then immediately start working in the job.

Already in Canada with an active work permit

If you are already in Canada, it is more difficult and time-consuming:

  1. You have to take an upfront medical exam with a panel physician. The list of all worldwide licensed doctors >here<
  2. After the upfront medical exam, you must submit a paper application to change the work permit and send it by mail. An online application is not possible.

Steps to change the work permit.

  1. Fill out the application (instructions and application <here>)
  2. Write a letter mentioning that you are participating in the Working Holiday Program and asking for the restriction “not authorized to work in child care, primary/secondary school teachings, health service field occupations” to be removed from the work permit.
  3. Pay the $100 “open work permit” fee <here> and print proof of payment.
  4. Send the documents (application + explanation letter + proof of payment) to the following address:
  • Case Processing Centre Edmonton
  • Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • c/o Work Permit- IEC Station 404
  • Suite 55 9700 Jasper Avenue NW
    Edmonton AB T5J 4C3

Changing the work permit can take several weeks.

You are not allowed to work in the job until you have received the changed work permit. This is why it is very important to decide if you want to work in those job categories before you travel to Canada.

I don't want to work in one of the mentioned jobs, but the application requires a medical exam

The application system is very weird in this situation, it requests a medical exam if you mentioned a visit or work in one of the countries where a medical exam is necessary. Even if it was many years ago. 

What to do if this applies to you: In the medical exam spot upload a short explanation that you spent xx time in xx country in year xx and that you do not need to provide a medical exam. That should be sufficient.