Medical Travel Information for People with Cancer
If you have cancer and require a medical test or procedure not available on PEI, your doctor will refer you to a specialist or service in another province.
This page answers frequently asked questions about this process. If you have additional questions or would like help accessing services related to your travel (accommodations, funding, etc.), contact the cancer patient navigator.
Does Health PEI cover medical fees for out-of-province cancer care?
Generally, yes. If you require a medical service that is not available on PEI, your physician will request coverage and all charges for insured services will be paid directly to the service.
Typically, you will be approved if the treatment is not available in PEI. If approved, you will receive a confirmation letter in the mail. If you have not received this letter prior to your appointment date, call the out-of-province coordinator at 902-368-6516.
Does Health PEI provide transportation for out-of-province medical appointments?
Transportation to out-of-province medical appointments (including consultations, imaging scans, surgery, etc.) is not provided by Health PEI unless you are an inpatient in a PEI hospital and require medical assistance during the transport.
What financial assistance is available to patients who must travel for cancer care?
Transportation and accommodation costs are usually the responsibility of the patient. However, there are several government programs and non-profit organizations that may be helpful:
Low-income Islanders can apply for financial support through Hope Air, a non-profit medical travel assistance program. Hope Air reviews applications on a case-by-case basis with most eligible families earning $50,000 per year or less.
If your application is approved, you will receive a Confederation Bridge pass for ground travel within the Maritimes, or free flights for those who must travel further for their care.
If you are medically required to remain in the area for several days, or if you need to need to arrive the night before an early morning appointment, you can also apply for free hotel accommodation.
If you qualify for support through Hope Air, you will also receive a $100 ESSO gas card through a temporary medical travel support program offered by the province.
Maritime Bus Travel Support Program
If you have a net income of $65,000 or less, you qualify to have some or all of the cost of bus fare to Nova Scotia or New Brunswick covered through the Maritime Bus Travel Support Program.
Canadian Cancer Society Travel Treatment Fund
The Canadian Cancer Society Travel Treatment Fund reimburses some of the costs associated with travelling to cancer treatments including fuel and taxi fares. It is available to people with a low income who are currently receiving cancer treatment.
See the application to determine eligibility.
Canada Revenue Agency Tax Credit
You can claim medical travel expenses, including accommodations, meals, vehicle expenses and parking on your personal income tax. Keep copies of your receipts and keep track of the number of kilometers driven.
This applies whenever you travel more than 40 kilometers to receive medical care, including travel within the province. For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s Details of Medical Expenses.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada Transportation Subsidy
This program for those diagnosed with a blood cancer and facing financial hardship provides a one-time $400 travel subsidy to help cover the cost of public transportation, meals on the road, gasoline and parking.
To learn more about eligibility and apply, visit One kilometer at a time: Transportation Subsidy Program.
Other financial support programs
Financial support programs for cancer patients not limited to transportation expenses include:
- the Rainy Day Fund provided by the Shine Through the Rain Foundation for any patient experiencing significant financial challenges
- the Kelly Shires Breast Cancer Foundation and the Canadian Breast Cancer Support Fund for breast cancer patients
- Craig’s Cause for eligible pancreatic cancer patients
For more supports, see Financial Support for People with Cancer.
Does Health PEI pay for accommodations during out-of-province medical appointments?
If you need to stay in a hotel after receiving day surgery, or during outpatient cancer treatments at an out-of-province medical facility, you may qualify to have your accommodation and meal costs funded directly or reimbursed through the Health PEI Hotel Subsidy Program.
Eligibility is based on medical needs not on income. You must be referred to this service by the out-of-province physician or clinic overseeing your care. For more information please contact the Out-of-Province Nurse Liaison Program or the cancer patient navigator.
Those who do not qualify for the Health PEI Hotel Subsidy Program may be eligible to receive hotel coverage or an accommodation discount through a non-profit organization:
The Lodge That Gives provides discount rates to PEI cancer patients receiving medical care in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Contact the lodge directly at 902-420-1849 for more information.
Halifax Haven Guest Home offers discounted accommodation for patients and families of patients being treated in Halifax's medical facilities. Contact the guest home directly at 902-421-1650 for more information.
Hope Air provides free hotel accommodation to low-income Islanders receiving out-of-province medical care. Visit Hope Air for more information.
What is the Health PEI Nurse Liaison Program and how can it help me?
Health PEI employs registered nurses in The Moncton Hospital in New Brunswick and Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Health Science Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
These liaison nurses are available to support PEI patients during their out-of-province care. They can connect patients with health care professionals, services and programs related to their travel and treatment. They are also available to assist with discharge planning and the transition of health care back to PEI.
To connect with a Health PEI nurse at The Moncton Hospital, call 1-855-860-2246.
To connect with a Health PEI nurse at the QEII Health Science Centre call 1-866-232-3042.
Where can I stay during my cancer treatment in Charlottetown?
Patients who live a considerable distance from Charlottetown and need to attend the PEI Cancer Treatment Centre regularly—such as those receiving radiation therapy for several weeks—may prefer to stay in Charlottetown for all or part of their treatment.
Accommodations are not covered by Health PEI. Many hotels in Charlottetown offer medical rates to those who are receiving treatment. It is the responsibility of the patient to request this discount.
Killam Apartment REIT in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital offers a free two-week apartment rental to those who need to be in Charlottetown for outpatient medical services. Availability is limited: reach out to the cancer patient navigator to inquire.