FAQs - BC Seven Month Absence

Release date : Apr 18, 2013

FAQs – Seven Month Absence in a Calendar Year for Longer Term Vacationers

Amendments have been made to the maximum period of time a resident can stay out of the province and continue to maintain Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage. This change allows B.C. residents who are outside Canada for vacation purposes for six months, to have an additional one month absence per calendar year for a total of up to seven months and still remain eligible for MSP coverage.

1. Why has government made this change?

  • Within B.C., a small portion of the population regularly leaves the country for the winter months.
  • This often amounts to up to six months of absence from the province in a calendar year, which can have implications for maintaining eligibility for MSP coverage if those individuals choose to leave B.C. at any other time during the rest of the year.
  • Typically, these individuals are retired, continue to maintain a residence in B.C. and pay health care premiums and income taxes here.

2. Who is eligible to take advantage of this additional one month absence in a calendar year?
Long term vacationers who are deemed residents are eligible. To be deemed a resident, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must not establish residency outside of B.C.; and,
  • You must continue to meet the other requirements of residency, specifically that you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and continue to make your home in B.C.

3. Who can I contact to find out if I am eligible to take advantage of this additional one month absence in a calendar year?
You should contact Health Insurance BC to determine your eligibility for the absence.

4. I am currently outside of B.C. – can this absence be applied retroactively?
Yes. The change is effective January 1, 2013.

5. Do I have to take the seven month absence all at once in a calendar year?
No. Eligible vacationing residents may be absent for a total of up to seven months per calendar year. The seven months may be taken all at once or split between separate absences in a calendar year, provided your total absence does not exceed seven months in a calendar year.

6. Is there an age restriction to be eligible for this additional one month absence in a calendar year?
No. There is no age restriction. However, this additional one month absence from B.C. must be for vacation purposes only.

7. Am I still eligible for an extended absence of up to 24 consecutive months if I have taken advantage of the additional one month absence in a calendar year?
You may be eligible to take an extended absence of up to 24 consecutive months provided you continue to maintain your home in B.C. and you have been physically present in Canada for six of the twelve months immediately preceding departure. In addition, you must not have taken advantage of the additional one month absence during the year your extended absence begins or during the calendar year prior to your departure.
Approval is limited to once every five years for an absence of up 24 consecutive months.

8. Does this additional one month absence in a calendar year impact my eligibility for other health benefits?
No. Eligibility for health benefits is not impacted.

9. Can I take advantage of the additional one month absence in a calendar year to work as a missionary, as I will not be employed or receiving an income?
No. The additional one month absence applies to vacationers only.

10. Can I take advantage of the additional one month absence in a calendar year for work or study purposes?
No. The additional one month absence applies to vacationers only.



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