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National markets insights: Canada




Healthcare System & Market

The Canadian healthcare system, known informally as “Medicare,” (although not to be confused with the American scheme), is designed to be universal, portable, comprehensive, accessible, publicly administered and mostly free at the point of use. Universality, accessibility and comprehensiveness are ensured through the principle that all ‘insured persons’ (defined as residents within a province) are to be provided with medically necessary health care on the basis of need rather than ability to pay. Under the Canada Health Transfer, the funding for health care services is provided by the federal government, which distributes money to the provinces in adverse proportion to the province’s wealth. 


Provinces can supplement this funding with premiums (as in British Columbia), payroll taxes, sales taxes or other revenues. The only caveat is that provinces or territories that levy premiums must also offer financial assistance to low-income residents so that they are still able to pay the premiums, or are exempted from them. In this way, the Canadian healthcare system is privately run, (physicians are not salaried by the government), but publicly funded. 

Rather than having a national healthcare plan, Canada’s health care is based on its 13 provinces and territories, each of which has its own unique health insurance plan. Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories have the constitutional responsibility for managing health care finances, evaluating the provision of hospital care, and negotiating fees for physician services. Thus, despite some unifying standards, each province/territory will often have varying hospital wait times and access to private, for-profit clinics. Although the principle of portability means that if you move from one province to another your cover remains intact, it does not allow you to seek treatment in another province simply because it benefits from shorter waiting lists.



Download the CIVITAS report on Canadian market


Infoway EHR & interoperability Canada_2015 report

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