Healthcare costs have surged since 1997 says FI study

Typical Canadian family now pays almost 10% of their household income

Healthcare costs have surged since 1997 says FI study
Steve Randall

The cost of healthcare for a typical Canadian family has increased by more than 65.8% in the last 20 years.

While most Canadians don’t see the amount they pay for healthcare as a bill for medical services, the amount paid through federal taxes and health insurance ‘premium’ tax, amounts to a sizeable share of average household income.

A study by the Fraser Institute reveals that a family of two adults and two children, earning the average household income of $140,049 will pay $13,311 for public health care in 2019.

The 65.8% increase since 1997 is adjusted for inflation.

For single Canadians, their health-care costs have more than doubled from $2,150 (in 2019 dollars)  in 1997 to $4,544 this year.

“Despite misleading claims of Canada’s ‘free’ health-care system, Canadians actually pay a substantial amount of money for health care through a variety of taxes—even if they don’t pay directly for medical services,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of The Price of Public Health Care Insurance, 2019.

The amount Canadian families pay for health care varies widely depending on their income.

The 10% of families with the lowest incomes (earning $15,070 per household, on average) will pay $464 for health care in 2019, while families among the top 10% of income earners (earning a household income of $298,872, on average) will pay $39,486, the study shows.

“Only when Canadians understand how much we pay for our public health-care system can we better decide whether or not we get good value for our money,” Barua said.