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The Canadian health care system provides comprehensive coverage of hospital and outpatient care, including therapeutic, diagnostic and preventive services. The level of coverage of services varies across the country. This study examines the key characteristics of the Canadian health and long-term care systems; presents a structured analysis of the insurance, financing and provision of health and long-term care services in Canada; describes the main challenges of the Canadian health and long-term care systems; and concludes with feasible opportunities for the Canadian health policy.

Main challenges to the Canadian system are related to population ageing; prevalence of avoidable diseases caused by poor health habits; coverage and financing of long-term care services; financing of expensive new technologies and pharmaceuticals; and the shortage and unbalanced geographic distribution of health care professionals. Opportunities for the Canadian health policy are: strengthening public health policy, continuing shifting care to the ambulatory level; improving the coordination between primary care and specialist services; implementing a system-wide national human resources planning; and integrating home-based care as part of overall primary health care.


This article was originally published in Electronic Journal of Biomedicine, volume 2, in 2009.


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