Health and Safety

Health Insurance

Students at NIC must be covered by both basic and extended insurance.

Basic Insurance

Coverage as described below is effective as of the first day of international student orientation. Therefore, please ensure you have adequate coverage from the time you leave your home country to the time you arrive at NIC.

The kind of basic medical insurance required depends on the status of your Visa (Visitor's Visa or Study Permit).

Students with a Visitor's Visa

Students studying for six months or less on a Visitor's Visa do not qualify for BC Medical Insurance, and need private insurance in Canada that will cover the entire length of their stay in Canada.

Arrangements will be made by the OGE staff to ensure you are covered for your total length of study at NIC. The charge for basic medical insurance through GuardMe is included in the first semester of tuition fees. This coverage is effective as of the first day of international student orientation.

Students with a Study Permit

Students studying for more than three months on a study permit MUST enroll in the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP). There is a three-month waiting period before coverage can begin. However, students should apply for MSP as soon as they arrive in Canada. Students can apply online from the BC MSP website. Information about how to apply will also be given at international student orientation.

For their first 90 days, students will purchase private insurance (GuardMe) through NIC. The cost for NIC GuardMe private insurance is $175.50 CDN per person for 90 days of insurance. This charge is included in the first semester of tuition fees. This coverage is effective as of the first day of international student orientation.

After 90 days, the insurance will be provided by the Medical Services Plan of BC (MSP), provided the student has submitted an MSP Application for Enrollment. For more information, visit the Medical Services Plan of BC website at

All students studying for more than six months on a study permit MUST enroll in MSP. It is the student's responsibility to submit an MSP Application for Enrollment and to ensure that they are covered by MSP. Further, it is the student's responsibility to pay the MSP premiums each month.

Extended Insurance

Extended health and dental benefits are provided by Green Shield, through the North Island Students Union (NISU).

The health and dental benefits plan will be applied to the following students:

  1. Students who are taking a full-time course load in a given semester.
  2. Students who are enrolled in a vocational, trades or certificate program that is six months or longer in duration and is considered to be full-time.

All eligible students upon registration will be assessed the health and dental plan premium. At this time the fee for health and dental benefits, $275 per year, will be assessed and charged to student accounts. The fee due date will be in line with the due date of other fees for each program.

Opting Out/Opting In Family Members

Once the health and dental benefits premium has been assessed, students already covered under an existing extended health and dental plan (with their parents, spouse or employer) may opt out of the Green Shield service. At the same time, those wishing to opt members of their family into the plan may do so for an additional fee.

Any questions about the health and dental benefits plan can be directed to the Students' Union by emailing More information is be available at and

Medical Services


If you, or someone in your care, has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life threatening. Call 911 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911.



The emergency room at the hospital should be used for very serious situations including severe pain, inability to breathe and bleeding that will not stop. If you are not sure if you should go to the emergency room, call the BC Nurse Line Toll Free at: 1-866-215-4700 to ask for advice. Be sure to bring the following with you:

  • Medical Insurance
  • Documentation Card
  • Money or other payment method (just in case)

Reminder, cell phone use is not permitted in hospitals and clinics.

North Island Hospital Comox Valley
101 Lerwick Road, Courtenay, BC, V9N 9H1
Phone: 250-331-5900
Emergency room open 24 hours a day

Campbell River Hospital
375 2nd Ave, Campbell River, BC V9W 3V1
Phone: 250-850-2141
Emergency room open 24 hours a day

West Coast General Hospital
3949 Port Alberni Highway, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 4S1
Phone: 250-731-1370
Emergency room open 24 hours a day


Campbell River Walk-in Clinics

Comox Valley Walk-in Clinics

Port Alberni Walk-in Clinics

Mobile Doctors( Virtual Doctors)


HealthLinkBC Website

Toll free telephone call 8-1-1

This is a good resource for health questions. They can also help you decide if you should go to hospital emergency or wait to see a doctor.

Health Centre

Health Centres are often referred to as 'clinics' or 'walk-in clinics' which are used for urgent and walk-in health care needs, including: allergies, animal or insects bites, coughs, colds and sore throats, sinus infections, cuts and lacerations, diarrhea and vomiting, travel immunizations, ear or eye infections, flu or fever, minor burns or rashes. Be sure to take the following with you:

  • Medical Insurance Card
  • Documentation Card (passport or BC driver's license)
  • Money or other payment method (just in case)
  • Book/Magazine (to occupy time)

Cell phone use is not permitted in hospitals and clinics.

What to expect

  • Check opening and closing times for walk-in clinics (If no clinics are open and you cannot wait till the following day, go to the hospital)
  • Prepare the things you will need to bring to the clinic (e.g. Medical Insurance, etc.)
  • Upon arrival go to the front desk, check in and follow their instructions. They will want to see your medical insurance documentation and if it is your first time, they will want to know your contact information (e.g. Address, postal code, phone no.)
  • Take a seat and wait to be seen
  • If the doctor gives you the prescription, ask where the nearest pharmacy is to get the prescription filled.

For a complete list of facilities, locations in your area and operating times visit Island Health.

Counselling (after college hours for international students)

Safety and Security

Personal Safety Tips

Although our community is safe, here are some well-known tips we would like to share:

  • Lock your doors
  • Do not let people into your home if you do not know them
  • Pay attention when crossing the streets; do not be distracted by your cell phone or have headphones on
  • If travelling, let someone know where you are going
  • Don't walk late at night alone down unlit streets
  • Wear a seat belt. Do not use your cell phone while driving. It's the law.
  • Never give out personal information and banking details over the Internet
  • If you lose your credit card or debit card call you bank immediately
  • Do not give out your credit or debit card PIN
  • Seek our advice regarding phone calls telling you that you are in trouble with the law, the police, or even IRCC before responding.
  • When walking or cycling at night be sure to wear reflective clothes and a light on your bike.
  • Wait for vehicle to slow to a stop before crossing the street
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash

Emergency Situations

Dial 911 for access to fire, ambulance or police services – emergencies only. It can be very distressing when in an emergency: you can tell the operator what language you prefer to speak in and get help in that language (as there is access to 140 languages).

You can contact Campus Security (after hours) at:

  • Campbell River: 250-202-5941
  • Comox Valley: 250-334-7206
  • Port Hardy: 250-949-8858
  • Port Alberni: 250-735-0626


Reporting a crime

You can call the police at:

Comox Valley: 250-338-1321

Campbell River: 250-286-6221

Port Alberni: 250-723-2424

Or find the location nearest you at


Crisis Centre BC: call 1-800-784-2433 or text 250-800-3806 or chat via the web.

The Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC (Crisis Centre) is a non-profit, volunteer organization committed to helping people help themselves and others deal with crisis.

Vancouver Island Crisis Society: call 1-888-494-3888

Offers 24/7/365 crisis line service to Vancouver Island.


Whether at the ocean, lake, river or pool, swimming and water present a real danger. If you do not know how to swim, please contact the local recreation centre to inquire about swimming lessons and water safety.

Wildlife awareness and safety

Wild animals are often unpredictable; follow the tips below to stay safe.

  • Keep your distance - many wild animals can be dangerous, respect their space.
  • Stay alert - many incidents between people and wildlife occur when they meet by accident, be particularly careful when viewing spawning fish as both black and grizzly bears are often found nearby.
  • Caution around young wildlife - mothers are often very protective and can be quite aggressive, especially bears and moose.
Get more tips and info about getting settled.
Questions? Contact Us today or email for more assistance.