Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Provincial Legislation

Provincial and Territorial Legislation

The provinces and territories must administer their publicly funded health care insurance plan in accordance with the Canada Health Act in order to receive health care funding from the federal government. 

Each province and territory has jurisdiction over the administration of its own publicly funded health care insurance plan and the delivery of its health services including those insured by the plan and those that are not. They can create legislation, policies and programs tailored specifically to meet their own administrative and delivery processes.

The differences in coverage and services between provinces and territories can be attributed to their interpretation of the Canada Health Act and to the enforcement of it by the federal government. Other provincial legislation concerning human rights and federal legislation such as the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is also a consideration.

In many provinces and territories it is illegal for individuals to purchase private insurance for publicly funded health services. Those without legislation specifically prohibiting private insurance have created other legislation to deter its existence. Those under provincial and territorial workers’ compensation, as well as certain groups with coverage under separate federal programs are excluded from the provincial and territorial plans. These groups include politicians, judges, and other federal public service employees, members of the Canadian Forces, Veterans, RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police), First Nations and Inuit people, refugees and federal inmates. 

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the prohibition of private insurance for publicly funded health services in the province of Quebec violated both the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The decision in Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General) only applies to the province of Quebec because the appeal made to the Court was based on its provincial Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

For more information on the health legislation in your province or territory please click one of the links below:


Canada Health Act

 Canada Health Act Annual Report 2007-2008

 Provincial flexibility under the Canada Health Act: When does change become a violation?,p.18, Health Innovation Report, Spring 2008

 Private Health Care Funding and Delivery Under the Canada Health Act, Library of Parliament, 2005, PRB 05-52E

Chaoulli v. Quebec (Attorney General): The Supreme Court of Canada Sets the Stage for Fundamental Health Care Reform, by Ron A. Skolrood Published June 16, 2005 – British Columbia, CanadaBy: Lawson Lundell LLP Provided by World Services Group

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