Canada’s Healthcare System

Canada has a national health insurance system. All residents have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services. Residents can be reimbursed for the cost of prescriptions through private insurance plans, federal programs, and provincial and territorial drug benefit systems.

Funding for healthcare is borne by provincial and territorial governments due to declining federal funding commitments, while the responsibilities for managing the system and delivery of services are provincial and territorial government responsibilities. Funding for pharmacy services varies across the country.

Responsibilities of provincial and territorial governments: The ten provincial and three territorial governments each manage and deliver healthcare insurance plans. These plans must meet specified conditions set by the federal government in the Canada Health Act to qualify to receive healthcare funding from the federal government.

Responsibilities of the federal government: The federal government administers the Canada Health Act, assists in funding provincial and territorial healthcare insurance programs and delivers health services directly to specific groups, including Canada’s Indigenous Peoples, Canadian military personnel and retired military persons, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and inmates in federal prisons.

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