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Health and Social Services System in Brief

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The Health ans Social Services System in Québecs


The health and social services system as we know it was created in 1971 following the adoption of the Act respecting health services and social services (chapter S-4.2) by the National Assembly of Québec.

Québec’s system is a public system, with the State acting as the main insurer and administrator.

Insurance Plans

The population has access to hospital and medical services dispensed by the State through two universal plans :

  • the Hospital Insurance Plan, introduced in 1961;
  • and the Health Insurance Plan, introduced in 1970.

In addition, a number of services are available to specific groups free of charge, provided they meet certain criteria. These include dental services, vision-related services and devices that compensate for physical impairments.

Public health sector coverage for all Québecers was completed in 1997, with the introduction of the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan, a joint universal plan based on a partnership between the State and private insurers.

Lastly, individuals may subscribe to private plans offering additional insurance to pay for services and drugs not covered by the public plans.

Funding for services

Most of the funding for health and social services is taken from the general tax base, meaning that the risk can be spread more fairly throughout society. Most of the revenues are derived from the income taxes and other taxes charged by the Government of Québec and paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and also from the contributions paid by individuals and employers into the Health Services Fund, and the Fund to Finance Health and Social Services Institutions and federal government transfers.

Health Expenditure

In 2012, total health expenditure in Québec roughly totalled $43.5 billion. This includes both public expenses (including direct expenses covered by the federal government for the clienteles under its responsibility) and private expenses (amounts claimed from private insurance plans, direct payments – such as contributions to accommodation (CHSLD) and for the purchase of drugs – made by individuals, donations, etc.). Public health expenditure, which rose to $30.5 billion in 2012, accounted for 70.2% of the total.

Comparative Health Expenditure, Québec and Canada, 2012
Expenditure Québec Canada**

Total health expenditure per inhabitant

5 375 $ 5 911 $

Total health expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP)

12,1 % 11,3 %

Public expenditure as a percentage of total health expenditure

70,2 % 70,6 %

Public health expenditure per inhabitant*

3 773 $ 4 175 $

*    Data illustrated above are in current dollars.
**  Including health expenditure in Québec.
Source : Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Social services expenditure is not included in the estimates of the Canadian Institute for Health Information. It accounts for roughly 12% of total health and social services expenditure of the Government of Québec.

Between 2000 and 2012, public and private health expenditure grew annually by an average of 4.9 % and 5.8 % respectively.

Public and Private Health Expenditure per Inhabitant, in current dollars, Québec, 2000 to 2012

Graphique illustrant l'augmentation des dépenses.

Source : Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Updated on : December 21, 2014

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