Spring 2023 - HSCI 305 D100

The Canadian Health System (3)

Class Number: 5633

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Fri, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units, including nine HSCI units with a minimum grade of C-.



A comparative analysis of the Canadian health care financing and delivery systems and policies. History, organizational principles, health care resources, costs, access to care, quality, and equity. Societal and political issues, threats and values that affect Canada's health care system and others around the world.


This course will introduce you to Canada’s health care system, focusing primarily on medicare, our publicly-funded program to providing medically necessary health services. We will examine historic events and values that have shaped the development of health care system in Canada. We will discuss organization of Canada's health care system, arrangements for financing and delivery, primary and long-term care, and management of health human resources. We will explore the debate over public versus private payment in the context of Canada's health care system. We will analyze current policy debates, including coverage for pharmaceuticals, dental care, management of wait lists, and the role of digital health. Finally, we will compare Canada’s health care system to those in other countries, and look at indigenous and immigrant health issues in the Canadian health care system. Given that health services research and policies are constantly changing, the instructor may add other topics to reflect recent developments.


The overall goal of the course is to deepen and broaden students’ understanding of the Canadian health care system and the key challenges it currently faces.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the history and evolution of the Canadian health care system
  2. Describe the organizational structure of the Canadian health care system
  3. Explain the roles and responsibilities of the federal, provincial, and territorial governments
  4. Describe and analyze Canada’s approach to financing and delivering of health care
  5. Evaluate Canada’s primary and long-term care, and management of wait lists
  6. Critically evaluate arguments for and against more privatization in the Canadian health care system
  7. Explain advantages and disadvantages of national pharmacare, implementation challenges, and solutions
  8. Describe how human resources are managed, including challenges faced by the system
  9. Describe key ways the Canadian system is similar to, and different from, other countries
  10. Explain the role of digital health in the Canadian health care system
  11. Explain advantages and disadvantages of national dental care, implementation challenges, and solutions
  12. Describe indigenous and immigrant health issues in the Canadian health care system 


  • Argumentative Essay (wk 4, Jan 27: 14:30) 25%
  • Midterm Exam (wk 6, Feb 10, in person) 15%
  • Research Paper (wk 9, Mar 3: 14:30) 30%
  • Final Exam (wk 13, Mar 31, in person) 25%
  • Participation exercises (selected weeks) 5%


Instructor may make changes to the syllabus within Faculty/University regulations.



Deber, R. (2017). Treating Health Care. University of Toronto Press. (Available online from SFU Library)

Marchildon, G. P., Allin, S., Merkur, S., & European Observatory on Health Systems Policies. (2021). Health systems in transition : Canada / Gregory P. Marchildon, Sara Allin, Sherry Merkur. (Third edition.). University of Toronto Press. (Available online from SFU Library)

A collection of journal articles available on the internet and various instructor hand-outs on Canvas.


Throughout the course, links to required readings will be provided through Canvas.


Throughout the course, links to recommended readings will be provided through Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html