Canadian Health System

The Canadian health system is funded by the Government and is based on five principles: is accessible without any income barriers, is comprehensive in the services it covers, is publicly administered, universally available to citizens and permanent residents, and is portable within and outside the country.

Health care standards are established federally, with each province managing its local area. Each Canadian province and territory has its own healthcare plan which covers the basic needs of medical services. Generally, costs for medical services are paid through a combination of low monthly premiums and/or funding from income taxes. It is the duty of the Provincial/Territorial governments to finance the public system of health and medical care. Therefore each jurisdiction includes different services in the free health care plan and the prescription drug plans, for example, differs from province to province. Depending on the province, dental and vision care may not be covered but are often insured by employers through private companies.

One of the basic principles of the Canadian health system is that it is portable. However, 100% portable is only between provinces. When travelling abroad only limited services are covered, or are only partially covered, therefore most of the Canadians prefer to have travel insurance.

Canada provides free health insurance to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick have a three-month waiting period for new permanent residents. Most of them prefer to purchase a temporary medical insurance while waiting for the health insurance card, issued by the local Ministry of Health.

According to the 10th Annual Health Care in Canada Survey, at the question: “Overall, would you say that Canadians are or are not receiving quality services?”, here are the statistics of persons who said yes:

Public 57%
Doctors 72%
Pharmacists 76%
Managers 91%