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Healthcare in Canada

By: Elizabeth Mugan BA/BSc, PGDipLaw, BVC, CIArb - Updated: 1 Nov 2010 |
Canada Healthcare Emigrating Migrating

For anyone that wants to emigrate to Canada, it is important to know what healthcare is in place for you and your family. Just like the UK, the Government subsidises healthcare, through the taxpayer, though each province is responsible for providing healthcare.

Healthcare in Canada

The national healthcare system is funded by the Government under law. The reason or this is so that services are available to everyone, without income barriers. This is only available for legal residents and citizens.Canadian provinces are responsible for administering their own healthcare plans. Each provided the residents with paid services including hospitals, medical centres and prescriptions. Opticians, dental care, prescriptions, hearing aids, and home care will vary between provinces so you must look into provinces separately to see what yours will provide.

Under the Canada Act, healthcare is transportable within the country but is only partially portable outside the country. This means that some expenses can be reimbursed, but generally, if you are leaving the country, it is advised that you purchase travel insurance as medical expenses in other countries can be expensive.

How is Healthcare Funded?

Healthcare is funded through taxes in the main, though some provinces charge a rate, which is dependent upon each resident's yearly salary. You will not be allowed to register until you have been lived in Canada for three months so you need private insurance for that period.

Pros and Cons of Canadian Healthcare

The main ‘pro’ of Canadian healthcare is it’s similarities to the UK, with the fact that it is subsidised by the Government to include doctor/specialists visits and hospitalisation when required. Another pro is that maternity care in Canada is excellent, so if you are planning a family or expecting, you can expect to receive an excellent service.The main con is that there is a shortage of GPs. There are walk-in clinics to offset this but you may not get an assigned GP for a few years. The clinics work well and you will receive equivalent treatment. Additionally, healthcare does not cover prescription drugs (except when in hospital) and dental care.

The costs begin to mount up when you leave hospital and begin to purchase your own prescription drugs and medicines. Specialist medicines can be really expensive for one course of treatment while other medical services such as holistic and complementary therapies, and dental treatment are not covered. It is worth checking your employee benefits, as many employers will now provide care for the cost of prescription drugs, specialist treatment and dental care, in full or in part. If you are not satisfied with your benefits package, or would like to improve it, you can get a private policy.

Improvements to the System

In 2004, the federal government and the provinces made a 10-year agreement in efforts at improving Canada’s healthcare system. Major parts of the agreement include reducing waiting times by hiring more healthcare professionals and healthcare services. People are generally satisfied with the state of healthcare in the nation and despite any problems, the healthcare system is satisfactory for residents, present and future.

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