Toronto – Before embarking on their trips, Canadian travellers should be mindful that, in most cases, their health coverage does not follow them abroad. Only the Canadian territories and the province of Prince Edward Island are obeying the requirement of the Canada Health Act to provide portable universal health care for the more than 55 million trips Canadians take abroad each year, according to the seventh edition of the Canadian Travellers’ Report Card, recently released by the Canadian Snowbird Association.
“Politicians of all stripes need to be reminded that the portability principle of the Canada Health Act, with a few notable exceptions, is not being met.” said Karen Huestis, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association. “The busy winter travel season should remind all Canadians that the principles of universality and portability we expect from our health care system must now be supported by government action.”
Overall grades awarded as an average across all categories are as follows:
British Columbia: C
Nova Scotia: B
Prince Edward Island: B+
Newfoundland & Labrador: B-
Northwest Territories: A-
The thinly populated territories and the small province of Prince Edward Island are the only jurisdictions that provide health coverage to residents who require emergency health services while travelling at the same rate as if the emergency had occurred while at home – as required by the Canada Health Act. More populous provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta and Québec provide only minimal coverage for their residents who have emergencies outside of Canada.
In addition to reviewing access to emergency care while travelling, the report also evaluates governments on how frequently Canadians may travel and still receive health coverage, travel supply policies of government prescription drug programs, accessibility of distance voting during elections, and the availability of clear government information on these services and policies.
The Canadian Snowbird Association is an over 110,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.
The seventh edition of the Canadian Travellers’ Report Card is available online in both English and French at www.snowbirds.org.
For Canadian traveller’s (Snowbird) Report Card in French, Click here.