Canada Health Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-6)

Act current to 2014-04-02 and last amended on 2012-06-29. Previous Versions

Canada Health Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. C-6

An Act relating to cash contributions by Canada and relating to criteria and conditions in respect of insured health services and extended health care services

Preamble

WHEREAS the Parliament of Canada recognizes:

—that it is not the intention of the Government of Canada that any of the powers, rights, privileges or authorities vested in Canada or the provinces under the provisions of the Constitution Act, 1867, or any amendments thereto, or otherwise, be by reason of this Act abrogated or derogated from or in any way impaired;

—that Canadians, through their system of insured health services, have made outstanding progress in treating sickness and alleviating the consequences of disease and disability among all income groups;

—that Canadians can achieve further improvements in their well-being through combining individual lifestyles that emphasize fitness, prevention of disease and health promotion with collective action against the social, environmental and occupational causes of disease, and that they desire a system of health services that will promote physical and mental health and protection against disease;

—that future improvements in health will require the cooperative partnership of governments, health professionals, voluntary organizations and individual Canadians;

—that continued access to quality health care without financial or other barriers will be critical to maintaining and improving the health and well-being of Canadians;

AND WHEREAS the Parliament of Canada wishes to encourage the development of health services throughout Canada by assisting the provinces in meeting the costs thereof;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Canada Health Act.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 1.

INTERPRETATION

Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,

“Act of 1977”

“Act of 1977”[Repealed, 1995, c. 17, s. 34]

“cash contribution”

« contribution pécuniaire »

“cash contribution” means the cash contribution in respect of the Canada Health Transfer that may be provided to a province under sections 24.2 and 24.21 of the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act;

“contribution”

“contribution”[Repealed, 1995, c. 17, s. 34]

“dentist”

« dentiste »

“dentist” means a person lawfully entitled to practise dentistry in the place in which the practice is carried on by that person;

“extended health care services”

« services complémentaires de santé »

“extended health care services” means the following services, as more particularly defined in the regulations, provided for residents of a province, namely,

  • (a) nursing home intermediate care service,

  • (b) adult residential care service,

  • (c) home care service, and

  • (d) ambulatory health care service;

“extra-billing”

« surfacturation »

“extra-billing” means the billing for an insured health service rendered to an insured person by a medical practitioner or a dentist in an amount in addition to any amount paid or to be paid for that service by the health care insurance plan of a province;

“health care insurance plan”

« régime d’assurance-santé »

“health care insurance plan” means, in relation to a province, a plan or plans established by the law of the province to provide for insured health services;

“health care practitioner”

« professionnel de la santé »

“health care practitioner” means a person lawfully entitled under the law of a province to provide health services in the place in which the services are provided by that person;

“hospital”

« hôpital »

“hospital” includes any facility or portion thereof that provides hospital care, including acute, rehabilitative or chronic care, but does not include

  • (a) a hospital or institution primarily for the mentally disordered, or

  • (b) a facility or portion thereof that provides nursing home intermediate care service or adult residential care service, or comparable services for children;

“hospital services”

« services hospitaliers »

“hospital services” means any of the following services provided to in-patients or out-patients at a hospital, if the services are medically necessary for the purpose of maintaining health, preventing disease or diagnosing or treating an injury, illness or disability, namely,

  • (a) accommodation and meals at the standard or public ward level and preferred accommodation if medically required,

  • (b) nursing service,

  • (c) laboratory, radiological and other diagnostic procedures, together with the necessary interpretations,

  • (d) drugs, biologicals and related preparations when administered in the hospital,

  • (e) use of operating room, case room and anaesthetic facilities, including necessary equipment and supplies,

  • (f) medical and surgical equipment and supplies,

  • (g) use of radiotherapy facilities,

  • (h) use of physiotherapy facilities, and

  • (i) services provided by persons who receive remuneration therefor from the hospital,

but does not include services that are excluded by the regulations;

“insured health services”

« services de santé assurés »

“insured health services” means hospital services, physician services and surgical-dental services provided to insured persons, but does not include any health services that a person is entitled to and eligible for under any other Act of Parliament or under any Act of the legislature of a province that relates to workers' or workmen’s compensation;

“insured person”

« assuré »

“insured person” means, in relation to a province, a resident of the province other than

  • (a) a member of the Canadian Forces,

  • (b[Repealed, 2012, c. 19, s. 377]

  • (c) a person serving a term of imprisonment in a penitentiary as defined in the Penitentiary Act, or

  • (d) a resident of the province who has not completed such minimum period of residence or waiting period, not exceeding three months, as may be required by the province for eligibility for or entitlement to insured health services;

“medical practitioner”

« médecin »

“medical practitioner” means a person lawfully entitled to practise medicine in the place in which the practice is carried on by that person;

“Minister”

« ministre »

“Minister” means the Minister of Health;

“physician services”

« services médicaux »

“physician services” means any medically required services rendered by medical practitioners;

“resident”

« habitant »

“resident” means, in relation to a province, a person lawfully entitled to be or to remain in Canada who makes his home and is ordinarily present in the province, but does not include a tourist, a transient or a visitor to the province;

“surgical-dental services”

« services de chirurgie dentaire »

“surgical-dental services” means any medically or dentally required surgical-dental procedures performed by a dentist in a hospital, where a hospital is required for the proper performance of the procedures;

“user charge”

« frais modérateurs »

“user charge” means any charge for an insured health service that is authorized or permitted by a provincial health care insurance plan that is not payable, directly or indirectly, by a provincial health care insurance plan, but does not include any charge imposed by extra-billing.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 2;
  • 1992, c. 20, s. 216(F);
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 34;
  • 1996, c. 8, s. 32;
  • 1999, c. 26, s. 11;
  • 2012, c. 19, ss. 377, 407.

CANADIAN HEALTH CARE POLICY

Marginal note:Primary objective of Canadian health care policy

 It is hereby declared that the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 3.

PURPOSE

Marginal note:Purpose of this Act

 The purpose of this Act is to establish criteria and conditions in respect of insured health services and extended health care services provided under provincial law that must be met before a full cash contribution may be made.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 4;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 35.

CASH CONTRIBUTION

Marginal note:Cash contribution

 Subject to this Act, as part of the Canada Health Transfer, a full cash contribution is payable by Canada to each province for each fiscal year.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 5;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 36;
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 408.

 [Repealed, 1995, c. 17, s. 36]

PROGRAM CRITERIA

Marginal note:Program criteria

 In order that a province may qualify for a full cash contribution referred to in section 5 for a fiscal year, the health care insurance plan of the province must, throughout the fiscal year, satisfy the criteria described in sections 8 to 12 respecting the following matters:

  • (a) public administration;

  • (b) comprehensiveness;

  • (c) universality;

  • (d) portability; and

  • (e) accessibility.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 7.
Marginal note:Public administration
  •  (1) In order to satisfy the criterion respecting public administration,

    • (a) the health care insurance plan of a province must be administered and operated on a non-profit basis by a public authority appointed or designated by the government of the province;

    • (b) the public authority must be responsible to the provincial government for that administration and operation; and

    • (c) the public authority must be subject to audit of its accounts and financial transactions by such authority as is charged by law with the audit of the accounts of the province.

  • Marginal note:Designation of agency permitted

    (2) The criterion respecting public administration is not contravened by reason only that the public authority referred to in subsection (1) has the power to designate any agency

    • (a) to receive on its behalf any amounts payable under the provincial health care insurance plan; or

    • (b) to carry out on its behalf any responsibility in connection with the receipt or payment of accounts rendered for insured health services, if it is a condition of the designation that all those accounts are subject to assessment and approval by the public authority and that the public authority shall determine the amounts to be paid in respect thereof.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 8.
Marginal note:Comprehensiveness

 In order to satisfy the criterion respecting comprehensiveness, the health care insurance plan of a province must insure all insured health services provided by hospitals, medical practitioners or dentists, and where the law of the province so permits, similar or additional services rendered by other health care practitioners.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 9.
Marginal note:Universality

 In order to satisfy the criterion respecting universality, the health care insurance plan of a province must entitle one hundred per cent of the insured persons of the province to the insured health services provided for by the plan on uniform terms and conditions.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 10.
Marginal note:Portability
  •  (1) In order to satisfy the criterion respecting portability, the health care insurance plan of a province

    • (a) must not impose any minimum period of residence in the province, or waiting period, in excess of three months before residents of the province are eligible for or entitled to insured health services;

    • (b) must provide for and be administered and operated so as to provide for the payment of amounts for the cost of insured health services provided to insured persons while temporarily absent from the province on the basis that

      • (i) where the insured health services are provided in Canada, payment for health services is at the rate that is approved by the health care insurance plan of the province in which the services are provided, unless the provinces concerned agree to apportion the cost between them in a different manner, or

      • (ii) where the insured health services are provided out of Canada, payment is made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province, with due regard, in the case of hospital services, to the size of the hospital, standards of service and other relevant factors; and

    • (c) must provide for and be administered and operated so as to provide for the payment, during any minimum period of residence, or any waiting period, imposed by the health care insurance plan of another province, of the cost of insured health services provided to persons who have ceased to be insured persons by reason of having become residents of that other province, on the same basis as though they had not ceased to be residents of the province.

  • Marginal note:Requirement for consent for elective insured health services permitted

    (2) The criterion respecting portability is not contravened by a requirement of a provincial health care insurance plan that the prior consent of the public authority that administers and operates the plan must be obtained for elective insured health services provided to a resident of the province while temporarily absent from the province if the services in question were available on a substantially similar basis in the province.

  • Marginal note:Definition of "elective insured health services"

    (3) For the purpose of subsection (2), “elective insured health services” means insured health services other than services that are provided in an emergency or in any other circumstance in which medical care is required without delay.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 11.
Marginal note:Accessibility
  •  (1) In order to satisfy the criterion respecting accessibility, the health care insurance plan of a province

    • (a) must provide for insured health services on uniform terms and conditions and on a basis that does not impede or preclude, either directly or indirectly whether by charges made to insured persons or otherwise, reasonable access to those services by insured persons;

    • (b) must provide for payment for insured health services in accordance with a tariff or system of payment authorized by the law of the province;

    • (c) must provide for reasonable compensation for all insured health services rendered by medical practitioners or dentists; and

    • (d) must provide for the payment of amounts to hospitals, including hospitals owned or operated by Canada, in respect of the cost of insured health services.

  • Marginal note:Reasonable compensation

    (2) In respect of any province in which extra-billing is not permitted, paragraph (1)(c) shall be deemed to be complied with if the province has chosen to enter into, and has entered into, an agreement with the medical practitioners and dentists of the province that provides

    • (a) for negotiations relating to compensation for insured health services between the province and provincial organizations that represent practising medical practitioners or dentists in the province;

    • (b) for the settlement of disputes relating to compensation through, at the option of the appropriate provincial organizations referred to in paragraph (a), conciliation or binding arbitration by a panel that is equally representative of the provincial organizations and the province and that has an independent chairman; and

    • (c) that a decision of a panel referred to in paragraph (b) may not be altered except by an Act of the legislature of the province.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 12.

CONDITIONS FOR CASH CONTRIBUTION

Marginal note:Conditions

 In order that a province may qualify for a full cash contribution referred to in section 5, the government of the province

  • (a) shall, at the times and in the manner prescribed by the regulations, provide the Minister with such information, of a type prescribed by the regulations, as the Minister may reasonably require for the purposes of this Act; and

  • (b) shall give recognition to the Canada Health Transfer in any public documents, or in any advertising or promotional material, relating to insured health services and extended health care services in the province.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 13;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 37;
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 409(E).

DEFAULTS

Marginal note:Referral to Governor in Council
  •  (1) Subject to subsection (3), where the Minister, after consultation in accordance with subsection (2) with the minister responsible for health care in a province, is of the opinion that

    • (a) the health care insurance plan of the province does not or has ceased to satisfy any one of the criteria described in sections 8 to 12, or

    • (b) the province has failed to comply with any condition set out in section 13,

    and the province has not given an undertaking satisfactory to the Minister to remedy the default within a period that the Minister considers reasonable, the Minister shall refer the matter to the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Consultation process

    (2) Before referring a matter to the Governor in Council under subsection (1) in respect of a province, the Minister shall

    • (a) send by registered mail to the minister responsible for health care in the province a notice of concern with respect to any problem foreseen;

    • (b) seek any additional information available from the province with respect to the problem through bilateral discussions, and make a report to the province within ninety days after sending the notice of concern; and

    • (c) if requested by the province, meet within a reasonable period of time to discuss the report.

  • Marginal note:Where no consultation can be achieved

    (3) The Minister may act without consultation under subsection (1) if the Minister is of the opinion that a sufficient time has expired after reasonable efforts to achieve consultation and that consultation will not be achieved.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 14.
Marginal note:Order reducing or withholding contribution
  •  (1) Where, on the referral of a matter under section 14, the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the health care insurance plan of a province does not or has ceased to satisfy any one of the criteria described in sections 8 to 12 or that a province has failed to comply with any condition set out in section 13, the Governor in Council may, by order,

    • (a) direct that any cash contribution to that province for a fiscal year be reduced, in respect of each default, by an amount that the Governor in Council considers to be appropriate, having regard to the gravity of the default; or

    • (b) where the Governor in Council considers it appropriate, direct that the whole of any cash contribution to that province for a fiscal year be withheld.

  • Marginal note:Amending orders

    (2) The Governor in Council may, by order, repeal or amend any order made under subsection (1) where the Governor in Council is of the opinion that the repeal or amendment is warranted in the circumstances.

  • Marginal note:Notice of order

    (3) A copy of each order made under this section together with a statement of any findings on which the order was based shall be sent forthwith by registered mail to the government of the province concerned and the Minister shall cause the order and statement to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the order is made.

  • Marginal note:Commencement of order

    (4) An order made under subsection (1) shall not come into force earlier than thirty days after a copy of the order has been sent to the government of the province concerned under subsection (3).

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 15;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 38.
Marginal note:Reimposition of reductions or withholdings

 In the case of a continuing failure to satisfy any of the criteria described in sections 8 to 12 or to comply with any condition set out in section 13, any reduction or withholding under section 15 of a cash contribution to a province for a fiscal year shall be reimposed for each succeeding fiscal year as long as the Minister is satisfied, after consultation with the minister responsible for health care in the province, that the default is continuing.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 16;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 39.
Marginal note:When reduction or withholding imposed

 Any reduction or withholding under section 15 or 16 of a cash contribution may be imposed in the fiscal year in which the default that gave rise to the reduction or withholding occurred or in the following fiscal year.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 17;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 39.

EXTRA-BILLING AND USER CHARGES

Marginal note:Extra-billing

 In order that a province may qualify for a full cash contribution referred to in section 5 for a fiscal year, no payments may be permitted by the province for that fiscal year under the health care insurance plan of the province in respect of insured health services that have been subject to extra-billing by medical practitioners or dentists.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 18.
Marginal note:User charges
  •  (1) In order that a province may qualify for a full cash contribution referred to in section 5 for a fiscal year, user charges must not be permitted by the province for that fiscal year under the health care insurance plan of the province.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of user charges for accommodation or meals provided to an in-patient who, in the opinion of the attending physician, requires chronic care and is more or less permanently resident in a hospital or other institution.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 19.
Marginal note:Deduction for extra-billing
  •  (1) Where a province fails to comply with the condition set out in section 18, there shall be deducted from the cash contribution to the province for a fiscal year an amount that the Minister, on the basis of information provided in accordance with the regulations, determines to have been charged through extra-billing by medical practitioners or dentists in the province in that fiscal year or, where information is not provided in accordance with the regulations, an amount that the Minister estimates to have been so charged.

  • Marginal note:Deduction for user charges

    (2) Where a province fails to comply with the condition set out in section 19, there shall be deducted from the cash contribution to the province for a fiscal year an amount that the Minister, on the basis of information provided in accordance with the regulations, determines to have been charged in the province in respect of user charges to which section 19 applies in that fiscal year or, where information is not provided in accordance with the regulations, an amount that the Minister estimates to have been so charged.

  • Marginal note:Consultation with province

    (3) The Minister shall not estimate an amount under subsection (1) or (2) without first undertaking to consult the minister responsible for health care in the province concerned.

  • Marginal note:Separate accounting in Public Accounts

    (4) Any amount deducted under subsection (1) or (2) from a cash contribution in any of the three consecutive fiscal years the first of which commences on April 1, 1984 shall be accounted for separately in respect of each province in the Public Accounts for each of those fiscal years in and after which the amount is deducted.

  • Marginal note:Refund to province

    (5) Where, in any of the three fiscal years referred to in subsection (4), extra-billing or user charges have, in the opinion of the Minister, been eliminated in a province, the total amount deducted in respect of extra-billing or user charges, as the case may be, shall be paid to the province.

  • Marginal note:Saving

    (6) Nothing in this section restricts the power of the Governor in Council to make any order under section 15.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 20.
Marginal note:When deduction made

 Any deduction from a cash contribution under section 20 may be made in the fiscal year in which the matter that gave rise to the deduction occurred or in the following two fiscal years.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 21.

REGULATIONS

Marginal note:Regulations
  •  (1) Subject to this section, the Governor in Council may make regulations for the administration of this Act and for carrying its purposes and provisions into effect, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, regulations

    • (a) defining the services referred to in paragraphs (a) to (d) of the definition "extended health care services" in section 2;

    • (b) prescribing the services excluded from hospital services;

    • (c) prescribing the types of information that the Minister may require under paragraph 13(a) and the times at which and the manner in which that information shall be provided; and

    • (d) prescribing the manner in which recognition to the Canada Health Transfer is required to be given under paragraph 13(b).

  • Marginal note:Agreement of provinces

    (2) Subject to subsection (3), no regulation may be made under paragraph (1)(a) or (b) except with the agreement of each of the provinces.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (3) Subsection (2) does not apply in respect of regulations made under paragraph (1)(a) if they are substantially the same as regulations made under the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, as it read immediately before April 1, 1984.

  • Marginal note:Consultation with provinces

    (4) No regulation may be made under paragraph (1)(c) or (d) unless the Minister has first consulted with the ministers responsible for health care in the provinces.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-6, s. 22;
  • 1995, c. 17, s. 40;
  • 2012, c. 19, s. 410(E).

REPORT TO PARLIAMENT

Marginal note:Annual report by Minister

 The Minister shall, as soon as possible after the termination of each fiscal year and in any event not later than December 31 of the next fiscal year, make a report respecting the administration and operation of this Act for that fiscal year, including all relevant information on the extent to which provincial health care insurance plans have satisfied the criteria, and the extent to which the provinces have satisfied the conditions, for payment under this Act and shall cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first fifteen days on which that House is sitting after the report is completed.

  • 1984, c. 6, s. 23.