February 21, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada
The Canada Health Act provides the critical foundation for the Canadian health care system—a system that is a source of pride for Canadians. The Canada Health Act helps ensure that Canadians have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services based on need and not their ability or willingness to pay.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, tabled the 2017-2018 Canada Health Act Annual Report in Parliament. The report provides Canadians with an update on federal administration of the Act, and a clear picture of how public health care insurance plans across the country operate. It is developed by the federal government in collaboration with the provincial and territorial governments, and provides information on the extent to which provincial and territorial health care insurance plans have fulfilled the requirements of the Act. These requirements include comprehensiveness, reasonable access to insured services without patient charges, portability of benefits, public administration of health care insurance plans on a non-profit basis, and universality, meaning, in effect, that all insured residents are entitled to health care insurance coverage on uniform terms and conditions.
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Canadians have a health care system that meets their needs. We will continue to work with the provinces and territories in the best interests of all Canadians.
“I am honoured to present this year’s Canada Health Act Annual Report. I thank the provincial and territorial governments for their contributions to this report, and I look forward to working together to ensure Canadian residents have access to the insured health services they need. As Minister of Health, I take my responsibility to promote and defend the Canada Health Act seriously. It is more than a piece of legislation. It articulates what we hold dear as Canadians, including our shared values of fairness and equity.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
The Canada Health Act was passed in 1984 with the unanimous support of Parliament. Thirty-five years later, its principles continue to set national standards for publicly insured health care services.
On August 8, 2018, Minister Petitpas Taylor wrote to her provincial and territorial counterparts formalizing three new Canada Health Act initiatives—the Diagnostic Services Policy, the Reimbursement Policy, and strengthened reporting.
- The Diagnostic Services Policy is aimed at eliminating patient charges for medically necessary diagnostic services, such as MRI and CT scans whether they are provided in a hospital or a public or private clinic. This policy will come into effect in April 2020, to allow time for provinces and territories to align their health care systems with its requirements.
- The Reimbursement Policy provides an incentive for provinces and territories to eliminate patient charges. Under this policy, any province and territory facing a mandatory deduction under the Canada Health Act will be eligible for reimbursement if they eliminate patient charges in a timely manner. The first deductions eligible for a reimbursement under this policy will be those that were taken in March 2018.
- Strengthened reporting requirements will be phased in to help provide a clearer picture of how public health care insurance plans across all provinces and territories are operating. Reports will be published in the Canada Health Act Annual Report tabled in Parliament every February.
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health