If you’re searching for medical care, you might be wondering “what is a walk-in clinic?” These are offices where you can see medical professionals without an appointment, whether or not you have a family doctor. Anyone who has a health card can see a doctor at a medical walk-in clinic. If you don’t have a health card, you can still see a doctor, but you’ll be required to pay a fee at a walk in clinic.
It can be difficult to know which walk-in clinics are open for in-person appointments. When someone searches for a“walk in clinic near me”, medimap.ca shows the walk in clinic wait time and the way in which a clinic is seeing patients; in-person, phone or virtual.
Medical walk-in clinics can add you to a daily waitlist to see a walk-in clinic doctor as soon as you show up in-person or call. Many clinics listed on medimap.ca offer online check-in so patients can simply submit a check-in request to add their name to the waitlist without physically visiting the clinic or calling ahead.
However, if you’d prefer to schedule an appointment for a future date/time rather than be put on the waitlist for the day, you can contact a clinic directly to book an in-person or virtual visit.
The following is not generally covered at a walk in clinic. Fees will apply if not covered by other health insurance plans (i.e. a work health insurance plan):
Remember to bring your health card to the walk-in clinic to ensure your services are covered. Those without a health card can see a doctor but will be required to pay a fee. According to the Wellesley Institute, the average cost of a walk in clinic appointment in Toronto without Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is $60.
In some cases, a walk-in doctor may suggest another diagnostic test, such as an ultrasound. In these cases, they’ll refer you to an appropriate centre or hospital nearby. As long as the tests are deemed medically necessary, they’re covered under your provincial health plan.
In some cases, a medical walk-in clinic near you may close earlier than its stated hours of operation. This is because some provinces set a maximum capacity for how many patients a clinic can see each day. Since the office can’t bill the government past a set limit, they shut down for the day.
To avoid being turned away, check walk-in clinic wait times on medimap.ca to see which clinics have already reached capacity and which are still open.
Traditionally, walk-in clinics were only offered in-person. The reason they’re called “walk-ins” is that you need to go to a physical location, join a waitlist, and wait your turn to see a doctor. Originally, provincial governments didn’t pay providers who offered virtual services, meaning there was less incentive for virtual walk-in clinics.
However, during COVID-19, virtual services became the norm. Today, every provincial government pays doctors to offer virtual services. As such, you can now easily book a walk-in clinic appointment that takes place over the phone or video chat.
Although in-person appointments are necessary sometimes, many concerns can be addressed virtually. Phone and video chats allow your doctor to verbally assess you or answer your questions. In some cases, a doctor may ask you to send a photo or show you the affected area on video.
Some virtual clinics work with doctors all over Canada. To speak with a local doctor, use the filters to find walk-in clinics nearby that offer in-person, phone, or video visits. Alternatively, you can also speak to the next available doctor via video call by selecting Virtual Care from the medimap.ca homepage.
A family doctor is your primary care provider for continuous care. This is the person you would make an appointment with if you have a new non-emergency health concern. If you don’t have a family doctor, you’ll need to find a family practice accepting patients. Each province has specific ways in which residents should find a family doctor.
To find a family doctor in your area, please visit medimap.ca and enter your postal code or city, and search for “walk-in clinics”.
Then on the search results page, click the link near the left of the screen which says “Are you looking for a family doctor? Click here to find one”. This will generate a list of clinics that have family doctors accepting new patients. You can give them a call to schedule a consultation.
Alternatively, each province has a resource to help people find a family doctor.
To find a doctor in Ontario, use the Find a doctor or nurse practitioner page and register Register with our Health Care Connect service and have a nurse find a doctor or nurse practitioner for you.
The BC College of Family Physicians provides a number of options to help residents find a family doctor.
To find a family doctor, you can register on the waiting list of the Québec Family Doctor Finder (GAMF). The waiting time varies depending on the availability of doctors and the number of registrations in your region.
The Family Doctor Finder allows residents to register to be connected with a home clinic that will meet your needs.
Alberta Find a Doctor allows people to search by location to see which family doctors are accepting new patients.
Patient Connect NB is designed to help residents of New Brunswick find a primary care doctor. Register to be connected with a doctor who is accepting new patients in your area.
Use the Find a Doctor NL directory to see a list of family doctors accepting new patients.
A list of physicians in the Northwest Territories can be found here and clinics can be contacted individually.
The province recommends patients call 811 or register with the Need a Family Practice Registry, which is a waitlist.
The territory’s Department of Health provides contact numbers and a map to healthcare services where physicians can be found.
Residents should use the Patient Registry Program that helps connect Islanders to a family doctor or nurse practitioner who is accepting new patients.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority keeps a list of doctors that are accepting new patients by region.
The Territory has a Find a family doctor service that helps residents get matched with a doctor that is accepting new patients.