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How Canada’s health system works

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The Canadian healthcare system is one of the most efficient in the world. This is evidenced by the average age of life in this country, which is 82.2 years. This is one of the highest rates in the world. At the same time, unlike the U.S. and some other highly developed countries in the world, medical services in Canada are conditionally free, which makes them available to all residents of this country.

Structure and organization of medical services in Canada
Canada’s modern health care system is governed by the Canada Health Act of 1984 (Canada Health Act of 1984). Under the Act, Canadian health care is overwhelmingly government-funded. That is, it is free for residents of Canada (Permanent Resident), except in certain areas. Such areas as dentistry, ophthalmology, cosmetology, and others. However, the country’s residents quite pay for their medicine as part of taxes paid annually to the Canadian budget. And taxes in Canada are much higher than in the USA, for example, where there is no free medicine.
The Canadian health care system, unofficially called Medicare, suggests that every Canadian, including children, has a special Health Card, which can also be a document proving the identity of its bearer. Such a card must be presented at any address to a Canadian medical institution or a medical specialist of any level.
It should be noted that Canada has a sufficient number of highly qualified medical professionals. After all, the medical education in Canada is at a very high level. People who have completed one of the medical degrees must take the Qualifying Examination of a professional organization, the Medical Council of Canada.

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Each of the 10 provinces and 3 Canadian territories is responsible for health care in its own territory. For example, a provincial health program in Ontario is called Ontario Health Coverage. Other provinces have similar programs. In any case, they all belong to the national Medicare program. So you can get quality health care in any region of Canada.

What types of health care are available in Canada?
The basis of Canadian health care is the so-called family doctors (Family Physician), who make up more than half of all doctors in the country. They are the ones who monitor the health of their clients and determine to which specialist physician a patient should be sent, if necessary. In addition, such a doctor usually knows the patient more deeply and can, on request, consult a specialist physician about aspects of patient health.
There are also analogs of Ukrainian polyclinics in Canada. Here, they are called Walk-in Clinic. If you have a Health Card, you can always go to such a polyclinic. It should be noted that most Canadians complain about not very high level of logistics in such institutions. In particular, quite often we have to deal with long queues and slow service. However, we should not forget that all this is free. In any case, if there is an urgent situation, Walk-In Clinic will provide fast and high-quality service.
In every settlement of Canada there is an opportunity to use the services of the Health Links (Health Links), with the help of which you can get qualified advice on independent actions (or undesirability of them) in a variety of cases, from fever to a traumatic situation. Counseling is provided by people with medical education and experience in medicine.
In the case of situations that require the immediate arrival of doctors at the scene of an accident, you can always call an emergency ambulance (Emergency). You can do this by calling the short number 911. In this case, specialists on site will assess the patient’s condition and, if necessary, take him to the appropriate specialized medical facility.

We remind you that in all cases, except for emergency situations, it is necessary to carry a Health Card.

What should newcomers to Canada know about?
People who have just arrived in Canada do not always know some features of the Canadian health system. Meanwhile, some nuances are very important. Especially at the very beginning of your stay in Canada. You should be aware of these basic points:

To get all the benefits of Canadian health care, you should visit one of the Canadian Ministry of Health offices and fill out a registration form. In Ontario, this form is called Registration for Ontario Health Coverage and is filled out for each family member. It is the basis for the Health Card, without which you cannot enjoy the benefits of Canadian government health insurance.
The first three months of your stay in Canada do not qualify you for the above program. For this reason, during this period, you should monitor your health as closely as possible and avoid dangerous situations. In addition, it makes sense to buy a health insurance policy that will cover part of the cost if you need it. Such a policy costs several hundred dollars and is available to everyone.
The services of such specialists as dentist, beautician, and ophthalmologist are not paid under the state program. For this reason, you should have health insurance policies for these areas. However, some categories of residents of Canada have certain benefits, which entitle them to additional services. For example, in Ontario, there is a special Health 65 Card for pensioners, which gives the right to such benefits.
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Thus, the Canadian healthcare system is very effective. Despite some shortcomings, it is considered more convenient than the American insurance system. Canadians are rightly proud of their health care and its accessibility to every resident.

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