Find Health and Medical expertise in Canada
Health care in Canada is publicly funded, with an interlocking set of ten provincial and three territorial health insurance plans known as ‘Medicare’. The Medicare system provides universal access to treatment, utilising both public and private hospital and physician services. There are 706 general public hospitals in Canada, 193 specialised public hospitals (such as chronic care and cancer centres) and 45 hospitals run by the private sector. The federal ministry in charge of Canada’s health care policy is called Health Canada, though provincial and territorial governments are responsible for the management, organisation and delivery of health services to their residents.
There is a large pharmaceutical industry in Canada, which accounts for around 2.5% of the global pharmaceutical market, making Canada the ninth largest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the world.
Medicare, established on Canada Day (1 July) in Saskatchewan in 1962, quickly spread across the country. The proposal aimed to create the first government-run, universal health care coverage in North America. Each province and territory regulates its own health system. Private health insurance can also be taken to cover needs not met by Medicare coverage, such as dental insurance. Private insurance is often available through employers. Reforms to the policy on federal and provincial levels are expected to continue on a regular basis in order to keep up with the rapidly evolving demands of the growing population.
Improving indigenous disparities in health and its determinants is currently a priority of the Canadian government. As of 2001, life expectancy for the registered First Nations population is around 6.6 and 6.5 years lower than the Canadian average for males and females, respectively. Suicide among registered First Nations in Canada accounts for greater premature mortality than either circulatory diseases or cancer, with a suicide rate of 161 deaths per 100,000 people – 11 times the rate in the general population (29 deaths per 100,000 people) in 2010. The Aboriginal Health Transition Fund acts to improve health care service planning, delivery and access for Canada’s indigenous populations, with specific projects addressing mental health, substance abuse and chronic disease management.
Health Canada works with various federal departments, as well as provincial and territorial partners, to support the health of First Nations and Inuit people and communities. This is achieved through facilitating improved access to health services, improving health outcomes and helping First Nations and Inuit to gain greater control of the health system. Some of the methods undertaken by Health Canada to improve the overall health of people are community-based health promotion and disease prevention programmes; primary, community and home care services; non-insured health benefits to supplement those provided by insurers; and programmes to control communicable diseases and address environmental health issues.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for an estimated 89% of all mortality in Canada in 2012. The most prevalent NCD in Canada is cancer, which accounted for 30% of total deaths across all age groups in 2012, and cardiovascular diseases, accounting for 27% of all deaths. Non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases and diabetes contributed 7% and 3% to total mortality, respectively (2012). Communicable diseases along with maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions accounted for an estimated four per cent of all mortality in 2012. Prevalence of HIV in Canada, as a percentage of the population aged 15–49 years, was approximately 0.4% in 2012. In the period 1990–2011 levels of HIV showed a slight increase. Canada is considered a non-endemic country for malaria by the World Health Organization (WHO). Estimated incidence of tuberculosis (TB) has almost halved in the period 1990–2013, while estimated mortality (when mortality data excludes cases comorbid with HIV) has shown a slight decrease.
In 2013 government expenditure on health was 8% of GDP. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2011, there were 207 doctors, and 929 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people. There is universal maternal health care in Canada (in 2011 qualified health attendants were present at 98% of births) and, in 2013, 95% of one-year-olds were immunised with a dose of measles. According to a 2014 survey, 100% of Canada’s population have access to improved water sources and adequate sanitation facilities. A survey conducted in the period 2000–11 showed that there are 76 pharmaceutical personnel per 100,000 people.
Canada was not an original signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but acceded to it in 1976 and has written the covenant into law. It includes ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. The covenant commits signees to providing healthy and hygienic environmental conditions, controlling epidemic diseases, improving child health and facilitating access to health services without discrimination.
|Health and Medical organisations in Canada|