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

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Act current to 2021-06-28 and last amended on 2017-12-12. 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


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


Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,

Act of 1977

Act of 1977[Repealed, 1995, c. 17, s. 34]

cash contribution

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 pécuniaire)


contribution[Repealed, 1995, c. 17, s. 34]


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

extended health care services

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; (services complémentaires de santé)


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; (surfacturation)

health care insurance plan

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; (régime d’assurance-santé)

health care practitioner

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; (professionnel de la santé)


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; (hôpital)

hospital services

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; (services hospitaliers)

insured health services

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; (services de santé assurés)

insured person

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 Part I of the Corrections and Conditional Release 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; (assuré)

medical practitioner

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


Minister means the Minister of Health; (ministre)

physician services

physician services means any medically required services rendered by medical practitioners; (services médicaux)


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; (habitant)

surgical-dental services

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; (services de chirurgie dentaire)

user charge

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. (frais modérateurs)

  • 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
  • 2017, c. 26, s. 11(E)

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


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
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