Consumer’s Rights in Health Care

As a patient in Canada, you play an important role in our health care system. Therefore, it is imperative to know about the rights and responsibilities you have.


It is your responsibility to

  • Collaborate with the staff in the assessment and improvement of your health. This includes sharing relevant information about your needs
  • Follow the treatment plan that has been established and agreed upon by your health care team
  • Notify your health care team of any changes in your health condition
  • Report your appointments or cancel them if necessary

The Canada Heath Act (1984) includes 5 conditions that must be met, which include:

1. Public Administration – provincial insurance programs must be publicly accountable for the money they spend

2. Accessibility – Canadians must have reasonable access to insured services without charge

3. Comprehensiveness – provincial health insurance programs must include all medically necessary services

4. Universality – provincial health insurance programs must insure Canadians for all medically necessary hospitals and physician care

5. Portability – Canadians are covered by a provincial insurance plan during short absences from that province


You have the right to

  • Receive quality health care services in a safe environment and in the official language of your choice
  • Obtain information on the type of health care services available and the expected wait time for these services ask for explanations and to know the risks and benefits of medication, treatment, or decisions regarding your health
  • Refuse any care, services, or treatments suggested to you, except in certain limited circumstances. If this is the case, you must understand every possible consequence that results from your refusal. In addition, every other possible route must be explored
  • Participate in any type of teaching or research program.
  • Stay on your parent’s health plan if you are under 26 years old, even if you

o Get married

o Have/adopt a child

o Live with or without your parents

o Are not claimed as a tax dependent

o Turn down an offer of job-based coverage

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) came into effect as of September 23, 2010. It includes certain rights and protections for consumers in health care. These are used to help make health care coverage or fair and easy to understand.

If you have a pre-existing condition …

  • No insurance plan can reject you, charge more or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition that you had before your coverage started
  • Health plans must cover certain types of care to adults and children without charging you a co-payment

Insurance companies must provide a short summary of benefits and coverage (SBC), this must be written in easy-to-understand language.

Your rights are protected by laws included the health Care Consent Act, the Long-Term Care Act, and the Mental Health Act.

If there is ever a case where your rights have been violated by a health care professional, you are able to make a complaint.

Written By: Penny Liu

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