Essay: Canadian Economy

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Canadian Economy

Evaluating the Canadian economy: Equality in healthcare, taxation, and education

"The Canadian economy is organized in a way that brings the maximum benefit to all Canadians." Compared with its neighbor 'south of the border,' Canada has often been characterized as more of a social welfare state in the European model, in contrast to its more laissez-faire American counterpart. Its system of universal health care, progressive taxation and less expensive educational system strive to maximize the value of the system for all citizens, not merely the wealthiest. Although not every aspect of its policies can be characterized as progressive, and its 'safety net' of benefits is not as extensive as those extended to citizens in many EU nations such as Sweden, Canada does not shy away from policies that might be labeled socialistic in America.

The most notable example of this can be found in terms of its healthcare system. 100% of the Canadian population has health insurance. Canada boasts a single-payer healthcare system. While every province is responsible for administrating its own system, to qualify for federal funding, the province must extend health care that is uniform, comprehensive, and public. No deductibles or copayments can act as financial barriers to medically necessary hospital and physician services, and residents must be able to retain their coverage, regardless of their location in Canada (such as if they go on holiday in another province). Critics, of course, have cited Canada's long waiting lists as a downside to its system. However, defenders of the Canadian system would point out that many more individuals in nations without universal care, such as in the U.S., may be denied even basic care altogether because they cannot afford insurance or because they are under-insured. In Canada, private clinics are barred from offering medical services which are covered by the Canada Health Act, although in 2005 Quebec's prohibition of private insurance was struck down by the Canadian Supreme Court. Still, the overall philosophy is that it is better to extend care to all, rather than have some individuals with exemplary insurance have above-average care, while some people receive no healthcare at all (Tanner 2008).

Universal healthcare is not simply beneficial to individuals who receive high-quality care in a way they would be unable to access, were care tied to their employment status as it is in the U.S. Many foreign companies enjoy the fact they are not required to pay expensive benefits to workers, the kind that are exerting such a drain upon GM and other major American corporations with unionized labor forces. Workers do not have to worry about going into bankruptcy because of inadequate insurance if they have a health crisis. Also, access to healthcare improves the overall health of society, which improves worker productivity. The universal healthcare system remains popular: despite cutbacks during the 1990s, politicians bowed to public pressure and increased funding for healthcare 35% from 1999-2003 (Finkel 2006, p.309). Government spending had been slashed for many social programs in Canada during the 90s to reduce the national deficit (Lightman 2003, p.23)

A common misconception about Canada is that Canadians pay 'more' taxes than Americans do and have a poorer standard of living as a result. In fact, "the very rich in the United States pull up the income average much more than in Canada, while those at the bottom of the U.S. income spectrum have less… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Canadian Economy.  (2009, May 7).  Retrieved August 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/canadian-economy/927207

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"Canadian Economy."  Essaytown.com.  May 7, 2009.  Accessed August 23, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/canadian-economy/927207.