The federal government provides financial support to provinces and territories to help them deliver health care services. Canadian Provinces and territories must follow the Canada Health Act to receive federal funding in support of health care. The Canada Health Act lists five basic principles. Universal services must be:
- available to all eligible residents of Canada,
- comprehensive in coverage,
- accessible without financial and other barriers,
- portable within the country,
- publicly administered.
The provinces and territories fund and administer most of Canada’s health care services. Each provincial/territorial health insurance plan covers medically necessary hospital and doctors’ services, without deductible amounts, co-payments or dollar limits. These services are paid for from their tax revenues with some funding assistance from the federal government.
Each province/territory decides how to spend its tax revenue and what health care services will be covered under its public insurance plan and for which groups. For that reason, services such as home care, therapy and prescription drugs (outside of hospitals) vary across Canada.
Source: Health Canada, Canada’s Health Care System, 2005
Visit Health Canada for more information about Canada’s health care system.