Hospital parking fees & the Canada Health Act

Some critics have asserted that by charging for parking, hospitals are creating a barrier to health care as guaranteed in the Canada Health Act.

Cancer specialist Dr. Bob Winston argues that it violates two criteria, in that it limits accessibility for lower-income patients and, since hospitals are public administrations, should not be involved in a for-profit venture.

Marketplace asked Health Canada to respond such criticisms. In an e-mail, Health Canada replied:

The aim of the Canada Health Act is to ensure that all eligible residents of Canada have reasonable access to medically necessary hospital and physician services without charges related to the provision of insured health services.

Hospital parking services are not considered insured hospital services as defined under the Canada Health Act, and therefore patients can be charged for these services.

User charges under the Act relate to the direct provision of an insured service.