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Canada's Health Care Services

Canada’s Health Care Services; Explaining and Highlighting Some Useful Resources for Newcomers 

Canada’s health care services are some of the best health care and medical services in the world. Its publicly funded health care system is dynamic, and it has been invested over the past four decades. It shall be continued in the future to make sure that all Canadians have timely, easy access, and free of cost in Canada’s health care services. 

If you immigrate to Canada, knowing about Canada’s health care services federally and by provinces and how to get free health care service when you are sick will be essential for you. So, don’t miss this article to help maintain and improve your health to reduce health risks.

Canada's Health Care Services

Federal Government Role in Canada’s Health Care Services

The federal government has authority over health care and contributes to the provinces’ and territories’ public health through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). The federal government also negotiates with each province to determine the amount to be paid to them. They provided funding to the provinces in 2017 for ten years of home care and mental health initiatives. 

Moreover, the federal and provincial governments provide funding to the provinces by signing the Safe Restart Agreement to help the provinces deal with the pandemic. The CHT spending on the following categories: 

  • Hospitals 
  • Physicians 
  • Home care services 
  • Adult residential care services 
  • Services in converted mental hospitals 
  • Ambulatory health care services
Canadian ambulance

Federal funding for health care

The federal government provides certain direct Canada’s health care services to some population groups, including:

  • First Nations people living on reserves
  • Inuit
  • serving members of the Canadian Forces
  • eligible veterans
  • some groups of refugee claimants

The federal government also supports:

  • health research
  • health promotion and protection
  • disease monitoring and prevention

Canada Health Act

The total spending for Canada’s health care services is public funds for provinces and federal government and funds from private insurances. However, Canada does not have a single health care system; instead, each province and territory provides publicly funded health care. However, provincial public insurance programs do not cover some health services, and they must observe the described standards in the Canada Health Act. 

These standards are as follows: 

  • Public authorities must administer on a non-profit basis.
  • Comprehensiveness: It means that provincial plans must be in a way that provides all medically essential services.  
  • Universality: public healthcare and insured services must be accessible for all Canadian residents.  
  • Portability: Canada’s residents must be covered even if they are absent temporarily from their province or the country.
  • Accessibility: reasonable and uniform access to insured health services must be provided for the insured persons.  
Emergency Department at Markham Stouffville Hospital

Is Canada’s Health Care Services free?

Canada’s health care services are renowned for their quality and accessibility. They provide comprehensive medical care to all residents, regardless of their financial status or background. With a strong emphasis on patient well-being, Canada’s health care system ensures timely access to a wide range of medical services, including preventive care, diagnostics, treatments, and specialized procedures. This commitment to universal health care has made Canada a global leader in providing equitable and efficient medical services to its citizens.

 Public health care in Canada is paid for through tax money. All services from rehabilitation, midwifery, surgery, and pediatrics are included. All Canadian citizens and permanent residents must apply for public health insurance to have peace of mind regarding health care.

How to access free Canada’s Health Care Services?

You can apply for Canada’s health care services coverage as soon as you land in Canada. Applying for a provincial health card to access free health care is needed. In general, you need a birth certificate, passport, and PR card or Confirmation of permanent residence for applying for provincial or territorial health care programs.

Take heed as to when you apply because there will be a waiting period, so do it right to minimize your waiting after you land. When you are approved, you will receive your provincial health card. Having a health card means that a provincial health care program covers you. You must show your health card each time you visit a doctor or receive any medical care.

It is recommended to have your card with yourself at all times if you want to province cover your hospital bill in case of a medical emergency. If you lose your health care card, the only thing you need is to contact the provincial health ministry to replace your card in the shortest possible time. You may need to pay a small fee. 

Cape Breton regional hospital, Nova Scotia

Who is Eligible for Canadian Universal Health Care?

The principles of Canada’s health care services are only designed for Canadians and permanent residents, although these principles are much admired. Based on these principles, tourists and short-term residents must pay out of pocket for receiving Canada’s health services, and residency status is required for coverage.  

Private health insurance in Canada 

The free Canada’s health care services give you access to essential medical services, and everything is not covered. So, think about what coverage you will need if you immigrate to any Canadian province to protect yourself during your residence. Your employer may offer a health care benefits package if you’re employed. 

Many newcomers to Canada are unaware that companies offer this package to their employees. This package will cover some or all costs for dental, medications, and other services not covered by a government healthcare program. Moreover, Canadians in every province can buy additional private health insurance to cover services that are not covered by government health care programs and employers’ health care benefits programs. (You can read more about insurances in Canada in our other article!)

The Provincial and Territorial health care programs 

Each provincial health care program may provide different coverage, so get information about what is covered in the province where you live. In general, the provincial and territorial health care programs cover things such as: 

  • Health check-up by your family doctor
  • Visits to walk-in clinics and other health care centers
  • Visits to an emergency room
  • Medical tests and surgeries
  • Necessary surgery
  • Laboratory and other diagnostic procedures

The hospital and medical services not covered by provincial and territorial Canada’s health care services programs include:

  • Most prescription drugs
  • Dental services
  • Eye exams and eyewear, like glasses or contacts
  • Appliances such as hearing aids, crutches, wheelchairs
  • Visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors, or similar health providers
  • Ambulance service

Canada’s Healthcare services by provinces 

Provinces or territories health insurance card is needed for getting health care services in Canada and showing this card eat time you get Canada’s health care services is required. Keep in mind that each province and territory has its health insurance plan. So, consider learning what your plan covers. All provinces and territories offer free emergency medical services, even if you don’t have a health card. However, you will deal with some restrictions based on your immigration status. 

Hospitals in Canada

Overall, Canada had over 1,200 hospitals as of 2019 as part of Canada’s health care services. Hospital expenditure per capita appears to be highest in less populated territories. The number of hospital establishments in each province in Canada as of 2019 are as follows:

British Columbia161
New Brunswick52
Newfoundland and Labrador38
Nova Scotia51
Northwest Territories2
Prince Edward Island3
Number of hospitals in each province

Number of Establishments

The below table shows the hospital beds’ ratio per 1000 population by the province in 2015-16. Data were calculated from Canadian Institute for Health Information Hospital Beds Staffed and in Operation 2015-16.

Hospital Beds per 1000 population 2015-16
Newfoundland and Labrador 4.48
Prince Edward Island3.32
Nova Scotia 3.34
New Brunswick3.76
Ontario 2.24
British Columbia2.62
Average of other provinces3.28
Hospital Beds per 1000 population 2015-16


Our last words on Canada’s Health Care Services

As you read, health care services in Canada are offered through provincial and territorial systems, known as some of the best health care and medical services with the purpose of easy and free of cost access to health services that you read about them in detail in this program.

Get in touch with us if you want to know more about Canada’s Health Care Services. Please feel free to leave your comments, and let us know if you require any further information. You can also read more about Canada’s politicshistoryeconomy, and geographical facts.

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