Understanding the Cost of Healthcare in Canada


VANCOUVER – POLITICS – “Understanding how much Canadians actually pay for health-care, and how much that amount has increased over time, is an important first step for taxpayers to assess the value and performance of the health-care system, and whether it’s financially sustainable,” says Bacchus Barua, director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute.

A typical Canadian family of four will pay an estimated $15,847 for public health-care insurance this year, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Canadians pay a substantial amount of money for health-care through a variety of taxes—even if we don’t pay directly for medical services,” said Bacchus Barua, who is the co-author of The Price of Public health-care Insurance, 2022.

Most Canadians are unaware of the true cost of health-care because they never see a bill for medical services, may only be aware of partial costs collected via employer health taxes and contributions (in provinces that impose them), and because general government revenue—not a dedicated tax—funds Canada’s public health-care system.

The study estimates that a typical Canadian family consisting of two parents and two children with an average household income of $156,086 will pay $15,847 for public health-care this year. Couples without dependent children will pay an estimated $15,229. Single Canadians will pay $4,907 for health-care insurance, and single parents with one child will pay $5,812.

Since 1997, the first year for which data is available, the cost of health-care for the average Canadian family has increased substantially, and has risen more quickly than its income. In fact, whereas health-care costs have increased 210.3 per cent, average incomes have only increased by 116.3 per cent over the same period.