How the PSHCP works

March 25, 2024
Adult man with grandson.
More than 1.5 million federal public service workers, retirees and their dependents are Public Service Health Care Plan members.

The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) is an optional health care plan for federal public service employees, retirees and their dependents designed to supplement provincial or territorial health insurance plans.

What does the PSHCP cover?

The Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) is one of the largest private health care plans in Canada. It covers more 1.5 million members, including retired federal public servants and federally appointed judges as well as veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP. 

The PSHCP is a voluntary plan that reimburses plan members for eligible health care expenses after plan members have taken advantage of their provincial/territorial health-care coverage. 

PSHCP coverage includes things like prescription drugs, medical devices and equipment, and services from providers like massage and physiotherapists. Coverage is subject to eligible charges, maximum amounts, and co-payments. The plan also covers a basic level of out-of-province emergency medical expenses for the first forty days of a trip, and the Federal Retirees MEDOC travel insurance coordinates with the PSHCP.

To find out more about what the PSHCP currently covers, consult the current plan directive or contact the current plan administrator, Canada Life, at the following coordinates: 

  • Toll-free at 1-855-415-4414, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time
  • Canadian Residents outside of Quebec: Winnipeg Benefits Payments, P.O. Box 99451 Station Main, Winnipeg MB R3C 3C7
    Quebec Residents: Montreal Benefits Payments, Place Bonaventure, 800 de la Gauchetière Street W, Suite 5800, Montreal, QC, H5A 1B9
  • Veterans Affairs Client Group: Canada Life, BAS DG 1227, P.O. Box 6000 Station Main, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 3A5
    PSHCP plan members Outside of Canada: MSH International, P.O. Box #4903 STN A, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5W 0B1

What included in the PSHCP renewal that came into effect July 1, 2023?

To learn more about PSHCP enhancements and changes included in the 2023 renewal, refer to the PSHCP Bulletin 45, which provides a comprehensive summary of the plan changes and enhancements. Be sure to stay tuned for updates from Federal Retirees in our newsfeed or on social media.   

An updated PSHCP plan directive or plan document outlining coverage is available. The plan directive provides the complete terms and conditions of the PSHCP.

Canada Life has prepared Part I of the Member booklet-at-a-glance which provides information about the Extended Health Provision. Part II of the member booklet will be available in fall 2023.

What is the role of the National Association of Federal Retirees in the PSHCP?

The PSHCP partners committee oversees the PSHCP. The partners committee includes three employer representatives, three representatives from the federal public sector unions and one pensioner representative from the National Association of Federal Retirees. Currently the pensioner representative is the Association’s president, Roy Goodall. During negotiations, the partners committee puts forward a joint recommendation to the Treasury Board on updates to the PSHCP.

Federal Retirees also helps members navigate their benefits coverage and tracks concerns with the plan, which the pensioner representative raises with the partners committee.

What is the role of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in the PSHCP?

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as the employer, is the sponsor of the PSHCP. The PSHCP Administration Authority provides monitoring and oversight of regular operations of the PSHCP, including support in dealing with appeals. Together, it is also responsible for ensuring a smooth implementation of the PSHCP.

The Treasury Board is a committee of the federal cabinet which approves government financial and budgetary policies and decisions, including for pensions and benefits. For more information, visit the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat online. 

Why did the PSHCP move from Sun Life to Canada Life?

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, as the plan sponsor, cyclically engages in a competitive retendering of the PSHCP service contract as part of the public service benefits plan process. The last contract was awarded in 2009.

Following an open procurement process, the government announced that Canada Life was awarded the PSHCP contract on Dec. 1, 2021.

Even though July 1, 2023, was an important date for both initiatives, the change to Canada Life from Sun Life was initiated and implemented by the Treasury Board Secretariat. The procurement of a new insurer for the PSHCP was not part of the renewal negotiations.