Patient-Related Health Care and Public Policy in Canada


Course Description:

Health care remains a top policy priority in Canada and a key defining characteristic of Canadian identity. Under Canada’s universal, publicly-funded health insurance plan (Medicare) all Canadians have access to medically necessary hospital and doctor care regardless of the ability to pay.

Yet, like health systems across the industrialized world, Canada faces growing challenges. An aging and increasingly diverse population, emerging and more costly medical technologies and drugs, and rising public expectations about timely access to care, put additional demands on already stretched health care resources. The site of care is shifting as more care moves out of hospitals and into home and community. Individuals and communities are demanding a greater role in decision-making. There are increasing pressures to harmonize domestic health care policies with global “benchmarks.” In spite of billions of new health care dollars, public concerns about wait times for non-emergency care continue to fuel debate about system sustainability and private pay options.

Patient-Related Health Care and Public Policy in Canada looks to develop and apply a policy analysis “tool kit” to critically analyze key issues and trends in Canada’s health care system and health policy. Course sections examine the current state of health care in Canada, the public-private mix, the influence of powerful interest groups, and the determinants of health, paying particular attention to the ideas, interests, and institutions which have shaped the Canadian health care system in the past and continue to shape its future. This graduate course is designed for health professionals and students of health policy and management who need to “make sense” of a rapidly changing and increasingly politicized health care environment in which “evidence” is often only one factor driving the pace and direction of change.

Learner Objectives:

Upon completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Identify major elements of Canada’s health care system
  • Apply a conceptual health policy analysis tool kit (referred to as the “3 I’s”) – ideas, institutions and interests to a health policy
  • Explain current health policy issues and trends in Canada and internationally
  • Formulate policy recommendations
  • Write short, concise briefing notes which synthesize academic articles, policy papers and reports as the basis for evaluating policy options
  • Give clear, concise and thoughtful oral presentations
  • Appreciate the usefulness of the policy analytic approach in responding to policy issues in the health care sector

Format: Blended

Pre + Post Quizzes -10%
Participation -15%
Briefing Note 1 -10%
Briefing Note 2 -15%
Briefing Note 3 - 20%
Policy Talk Outline - 5%
Policy Talk Oral Presentation -10%
Final Paper - 15%

Reading(s): As assigned



A basic understanding of the major elements of Canada’s health care system and an awareness of major health care trends and issues