CSA Meets with Minister of Health

Spring 2007 CSANews Issue 62  |  Posted date : Jun 06, 2007.Back to list

On November 29, 2006, CSA president Gerry Brissenden met with the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, and the Honourable John Baird, in Ottawa. This was the first time any federal minister of Health has met with the association. Follow this meeting, the Minister of Health wrote individually to each provincial and territorial minister of Health concerning compliance with the Canada Health Act. The text of that letter follows:

Dear Minister:

I am writing concerning the application of the Canada Health Act portability criterion for coverage of out-of-country health care services.

On November 29, 2006, I met with representatives from the Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA). They expressed their dissatisfaction with the per diem rates offered by some provinces and territorial health insurance plans for out-of-country health coverage. I acknowledge the CSA's concerns and am committed to reminding all the provinces and territories of the requirements of the portability provisions of the Act.

Under the portability criterion of the Act (section 11), insured Canadian residents who are temporarily absent from their home province and outside Canada must continue to be covered for insured health services during their absence. Where the insured services are provided outside Canada, payment is to be made on the basis of the amount that would have been paid by the province for similar services rendered in the province, commonly referred to as the "home province" rate. This allows individuals to travel or be absent from their home province or territory, within a prescribed duration, while retaining their health insurance coverage.

It appears that some provinces are paying lower than home-province rates for emergency hospital services received by their residents when outside Canada.

Canada's new government is committed to the Act. Each provincial and territorial government is responsible for ensuring that the five principles of the Act – portability, universality, public administration, comprehensiveness, and accessibility – are respected.

In view of their interest in this issue, the CSA will be copied on this letter.

Yours sincerely,
Tony Clement
cc. CSA

Pic 1: L to R: Hon. John Baird, President of the Treasury Board; Hon. Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health, and Gerry Brissenden