Health Care 101: A Guide to One of Canada's Most Valued Industries

Health Care 101: A Guide to One of Canada’s Most Valued Industries


The health care industry is the largest service industry in Canada, and the 4th largest among all Canadian industries (behind real estate, manufacturing and petroleum production.) It’s not surprising that so many aspire to launch their successful careers in the field of health care.

Whether you’re considering a career as a health care professional or simply looking to brush up on your industry knowledge, TalentEgg has put together an introductory guide to the health care industry!


Universal Health Care

Health care in Canada is primarily delivered through a publicly-funded health care system. This means that Canada’s federal government pays for the health care coverage to all Canadians citizens. The federal government also regulates and assures the quality of care by setting federal standards.

While the federal government pays for and regulates health care in Canada, health care is administered exclusively by the provinces and territories. Provinces issue citizens a health card through the province’s Ministry of Health. All basic care is covered, and everyone receives the same level of care.

Health care cannot be denied due to unpaid expenses, is not affected by loss or change of jobs, and there are no lifetime limits or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. With a few exceptions (mostly pertaining to citizenship), all citizens qualify for health coverage regardless of medical history, personal income or standard of living. Individuals can choose their family doctors, and are able to see specialists following referrals from their general practitioners.

Private Health care

While public health care does cover all basic health care needs, private health care is also important in Canada. In fact, private health care accounts for approximately 30% of a health care financing throughout the country.

Private health care finances services that are not covered or only partially covered by Canada’s health care program. The most popular services paid for privately include prescription drugs, dentistry and optometry. Supplementary private health care coverage for most Canadians is provided through employers.

There are also additional medical services that are not covered publicly and are typically considered out-of-pocket expenses such as cosmetic surgery, minor orthopedic services, and over-the-counter drugs.

While Canada offers financial coverage, most of these services are provided by private companies. Many family doctors do not receive an annual salary, but receive a fee per visit/service.


Primary Care

Primary care refers to the work of health care professionals who make first contact with patients within the health care system. Primary care professionals to this end refer to family doctors (or general practitioners), walk-in physicians, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, etc.

Secondary Care

Primary health care providers may refer their patients to secondary health care workers. These professionals may specialize in their medical field, but do not necessarily have primary contact with patients. Some examples of secondary health care workers include: dermatologists, cardiologists and radiologists.

Tertiary Care

Tertiary care is further specialized consultative health care that may not necessarily require referral. It is often offered through a specialized facility with advanced technology and specialized personnel for the care. Examples of tertiary care include: plastic surgery, complex medical surgeries, treatment for severe burns and palliative care.

Public Health (Research)

Public health involves health care and scientific research. The work of public health and research professionals is concerned with prevention of contagious diseases, containment when certain outbreaks occur, research for medical cures for life-threatening disease, and above all, improving quality of life. Public health care professionals often collaborate across disciplines of health care and science.

Check out TalentEgg’s Health Care Career Guide for more career resources about the health care industry!