The Canadian Health Care System Explained | Dr. Christopher Zed | Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Christopher Zed
2 min readAug 16, 2022


Before you start planning to go to Canada, it’s essential that you thoroughly understand the country’s healthcare system. This is especially important if you’re planning on establishing a permanent home in the country.


Medicare is Canada’s public healthcare system , which is funded by taxes. It provides coverage for all medical procedures deemed medically necessary. However, it does not provide dental, vision, or prescription drugs.

In Canada, various healthcare systems are managed by different provinces and territories. These programs are only available to specific groups, such as refugees and permanent residents.


The Canada Health Act was created in 1984 to guide the country’s healthcare system. It features five founding principles:

  • Public administration: On a nonprofit basis.
  • Comprehensiveness: Health plans must cover all medically necessary services.
  • Universality: Canadians must have access to public healthcare
  • Portability: Residents are covered within Canada and partially outside of the country.
  • Accessibility: access to care must be free of financial barriers.

Signing Up

If you’re a permanent resident or refugee in Canada, you can start the process of signing up for Medicare by visiting the website of your province or territory. However, even if you’re eligible for this program, it does not cover all medical services. To ensure you have the best coverage, you should sign up for private insurance.

Healthcare for Foreigners

Although they can still receive medical help in an emergency, international students and expatriates won’t be able to access Canada’s public healthcare system until they have a global health insurance policy. This means that they may have to pay for the care they need. Some people, such as those with a work permit and an employer, may eventually be able to access Medicare.

Even if you can join Canada’s public healthcare system, it’s still essential to ensure you have the best coverage. You’ll need international health insurance if you plan to travel outside the country.

Canadian Healthcare Challenges

Despite the various advantages of Canada’s healthcare system, it’s still not perfect. There are long wait times for specific procedures, and there are restrictions on the availability of prescription drugs. Also, hundreds of thousands of people are not able to access insurance.

Even with its flaws in the Canadian healthcare system, most people are satisfied with its quality of service. This country’s healthcare system is accessible to the majority of its population.

Originally published at on August 16, 2022.



Dr. Christopher Zed

Dental healthcare expert Dr. Christopher Zed, of Vancouver, British Columbia, has been practicing dentistry for more than 30 years.