Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions.    

Health insurance

Provision of insurance What is the health insurance provision framework in your jurisdiction? For example, is it provided by the government, through private insurers or through self-funded arrangements provided by employers?

A publicly funded national health care system, Medicare, provides universal healthcare coverage to residents, subject to narrow exceptions. It is funded jointly by the federal and provincial governments and is regulated under the Canada Health Act, which requires coverage for all medically necessary care provided in hospitals or by physicians. However, because under the Canadian Constitution the provision of healthcare falls under provincial jurisdiction, there are differences in coverage under Medicare between the provinces.

Some provinces also charge annual healthcare premiums, such as Ontario through the employer health tax. Under this, subject to certain exemptions, employers are required to pay a defined amount to the government on an annual basis; the amount payable is defined as a percentage of the employer’s total Ontario remuneration payable.

Further, it is important to note that not all healthcare is provided through Medicare. Services such as dental and prescription coverage are not generally covered for all age groups. Most employers therefore offer additional coverage to their employees through private insurers. The cost of such insurance is often shared between employees and the employer.

Coverage levels Do any special laws mandate minimum coverage levels that must be provided by employers?

No, there are no laws which mandate minimum coverage levels that must be provided by employers.

Can employers provide different levels of health benefit coverage to different employees within the organisation?

Yes, employers can provide different levels of health benefit coverage to different employees within an organisation provided that the reason for differentiation is not based on discriminatory grounds in violation of human rights legislation (eg, gender, sexual orientation or race).

Post-termination coverage Are employers obliged to continue providing health insurance coverage after an employee’s termination of employment?

Yes, in many provinces employment standards legislation requires that an employer continue health insurance coverage during an employee’s statutory notice period.

An employer may also be required to continue benefit coverage during a common law notice period. 

Click here to view the full article.