Saskatchewan allowed to continue violating the Canada Health Act

In a surprising move the Federal government has allowed Saskatchewan to continue violating the Canada Health Act for at least a year. Despite warning the province earlier this year that violating the Act by creating a two-tiered health care system where wealthy patients can purchase a private MRI and jump the queue, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has now allowed Saskatchewan to continue the practice for at least a year. After that year, the provincial government must show that private MRIs do not harm public health care.

The Canadian Health Coalition is disappointed that Minister Philpott who previously has been a defender of public health care and the Canada Health Act would now back down to get a bilateral deal done. “This will absolutely hurt patients who can’t afford to pay,” says Adrienne Silnicki, National Coordinator of the Canadian Health Coalition. “Previous experiments with private MRIs in Canada ended because patients were not receiving high quality images or equal access to care.”

In their response to Minister Philpott’s November letter telling Saskatchewan to end the two-tiered MRIs, Saskatchewan replied that they would also privatize CT Scans. It is unclear at this time, if this will also be allowed in the new deal.

“We’re disheartened by all of this,” says Silnicki. “The Health Accord is supposed to be a time to strengthen public health care. The federal, provincial, territorial and first nations are supposed to come together to discuss how to improve care across the country, recommit to the principles of the Canada Health Act and envision how to expand the public system into new areas. We were hoping to see discussions on much needed programming like a National Public Drug Plan and seniors care. Instead we’re seeing the federal government divide the provinces and territories, offer funding which will force cuts in the public system (5.2% is required to keep the current basket of public health care services available), and now we’re seeing negotiations to break the Canada Health Act. The federal government is more than just abdicating their responsibility for single-tier universal public health care, they’re threatening its existence.”

The Canadian Health Coalition continues to call for the federal, provincial and territorial governments to return to the Health Accord negotiation table and work out a deal that is in the best interest of all Canadians and protects public health care.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Adrienne Silnicki 
National Coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition 
Social Share


Subscribe to our newsletter and help preserve and improve public healthcare for everyone.


Canadian Health Coalition