The national healthcare system in Canada is universal, portable and publicly administered. It provides comprehensive, free coverage for medically necessary hospital, inpatient and outpatient services.
The system is financed by the government and delivered by physicians, other healthcare professionals and hospitals. They bill their fees for services to the provincial governments in each of the 10 provincial insurance plans across Canada, as well as two territorial governments in the Arctic northwest regions.
The federal government sets the national standards of healthcare principles and administers them through the Canada Health Act; the provinces and territories manage the actual delivery and fix the fees through negotiations with healthcare providers within their boundaries.
Private and employment-based group insurance plans offer supplementary health services (private hospital room, dental care, vision care, drug plans, etc.).
Hospitals must operate within budgets established by regional or provincial health authorities. They generate some of their own income from fees, charges, donations and fund raising, but most of their costs are covered by federal transfer of payments to the provinces and territories, which then make grants directly to the hospitals or distribute funds through regional governments. Canada Health and Social Transfer payments are a return of part of the income taxes levied by the provinces and territories on behalf of the federal government.