Health Care in Canada
1. What is life expectancy in Canada?
Life expectancy is one of the most important indicators of quality of medical care in a country. According to the World Health Organization in 2020, out of 189 countries, Canada’s life expectancy ranks 15th and reaches 79.7 years for men, and 83.9 years for women. On the same list, the United States ranked 44th (75.3 and 81.6).
Source: List by the World Health Organization (2013)
2. Who is in charge of medical care?
Health care in Canada is administered by the provincial and territorial Ministries of Health. They carry out compulsory health insurance for residents of their provinces. However, in Canada, there is also the Federal Ministry of Health, which is in charge of medical research institutes, information support, the management of a common policy for health services and funding for medicine in accordance with the Canada Health Act.
Source: Provincial/territorial role in health
3. Are there any private clinics in Canada?
Yes, there are private clinics in Canada, but under federal law, private clinics are not legally allowed to provide services covered by the Canada Health Act. They offer a less waiting time for their services. In most cases, people apply for treatment in these clinics when medical care they need isn’t covered by the government insurance system. For treatment in private clinics people require private health insurance or are obliged to pay for the services out-of-pocket.
Source: Canadian Health Care - www.canadian-healthcare.org/page6.html.
4. What is the difference between health care systems in Canada and the USA?
There is a compulsory national health insurance for all Canadians. Each resident having legal status in Canada, with a few exceptions, can get a health card, with which he or she can get free medical care. The USA is only one of the industrialized countries where there is no compulsory state health insurance. Every citizen of the USA must take care of his or her health and purchase health insurance, whether it through their employer, a private insurance provider, or a state program. Because of the high cost of private health insurance, many USA residents are not able to receive medical care.
5. Where can I go for health care in Ontario?
The health care system in Ontario is one of the best in Canada. On the website "Ontario health care options near you. Find health care services in your community”
(www.ontario.ca/locations/health/index.php?lang=en) you will find information about
•Community Care Access Centres
•Community Health Centres
•Community Support Services
•Family Health Teams
•Sexual Health Clinics
•Urgent Care Centres
6. What are the rights and responsibilities of patients in Canada?
By receiving health care, you have rights and responsibilities. You have the right to receive a clear explanation from your doctor of your health problems and available methods of treatment and you have the right to participate in treatment decisions. Also, you have the right to ask for a second opinion and to demand respect for the privacy of your personal information. When there is a conflict with the medical staff, you have the right to appeal to the organization overseeing them. You are responsible for selecting the appropriate physician or medical facility and must keep accurate records of your personal medical history. You are obliged to follow the instructions of doctors concerning drugs and other treatments, to respect the rights of others people seeking medical help and live a healthy life.
Source: What are my rights and responsibilities as a patient?
7. Can an immigrant with a foreign doctor’s diploma work as a doctor in Canada?
Yes, an immigrant with a foreign doctor’s diploma can work as a doctor in Canada. First, he or she must have his or her diploma evaluated; second, it is necessary to pass a series of medical knowledge examinations; third, he or she must find a medical facility to take an internship with and finally get a licence with a provincial regulatory body. In Ontario, the Centre for Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad (https://www.university-directory.eu/Canada/Centre-for-the-Evaluation-of-Health-Professionals-Educated-Abroad-CEHPEA.html) performs assessments of foreign medical diplomas and the Access Centre for Internationally Educated Health Professionals (www.healthforceontario.ca/en/Home) helps immigrants get the medical education they need to obtain a Canadian licence. In Ontario, the College of Physicians and Surgeons is a medical regulatory body and their website, in the section "International Medical Graduates,” contains information on how immigrants with a foreign medical degree can get a licence to practice medicine in Ontario.
8. Where can I find sources of additional information about health care in Canada?
Health care in Canada
Canada Health Act. Frequently Asked Questions
Ontario health information for newcomers on http://settlement.org/ontario/health.
9. Are there any Canadian sources in other languages?
Understanding Health Care in Ontario: Fact Sheets (in 27 languages)
•Getting medical care.
•Getting emergency care.
•Finding home care.
•Getting prescription drugs.