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July 30, 2021

The high cost of free health care in Canada

Canada is admired around the globe for its free health care system.

But is it really free?

According to a new report from the Fraser Institute, a Canadian family of two parents and two children will pay on average $11,320 in taxes for public health care insurance in 2013.

Nadeem Esmail, director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Price of Public Health Care Insurance: 2013 Edition, says, "Health care is not free in Canada. The fact is, Canadian families pay thousands of dollars in taxes every year to cover the cost of public health care insurance.

"And that cost rose 1.5 times faster than the average income over the past decade."

Since 2003, the cost of health care for all family types increased 53.3 per cent before inflation. And the price of public health insurance increased more than 1.5 times faster than the cost of shelter and clothing, more than twice as fast as the cost of food, and nearly 1.5 times faster than the average income over the past decade, according to the report. 

The report calculates the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay to all levels of government in a year and the share of their total tax bill earmarked for public health insurance.

It notes that 10 per cent of Canadian families with the lowest incomes (averaging $13,011) will pay on average about $482 this year for public health care insurance; 10 per cent of families earning an average income of $56,596 will pay $5,364; while families among the top 10 per cent of income earners will pay about $35,309.

Thinking of all that tax money just about makes me sick. Good thing I have free health care in Canada.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Does Canada's health care system work efficiently considering the amount of money we invest in it?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...