One of the things that people, who come from poor countries, think about Canada, I repeat, think, and this thinking is not rational(!), is its health services. They think it's a good system, in comparison to the US's and of course their own. When I first came to Canada, I remember that there was a monthly amount, a premium, that everyone had to pay, based on the size of their family, to benefit from basic health services. They made it free a few years later. I always resisted paying and when I did it was with delay. I don't remember if there was a penalty for the delay or not. My point was I am always careful about my health. So why should I pay for the health services which take care of drunkards, drug-addict, crap-eater, etc?!
The system actually encourages irresponsible people to do whatever they want to do and eat whatever they like(!) because they say: What the heck! If something bad happens to me, I'll go to the doctors and they'll fix me!
I don't know much about British Columbia but I think it was the same thing until I got the hell away and returned to Alberta in 2011. Now the so-called health system is in trouble. They have hired so many people with high rates and they don't know how to pay them! In the meantime small communities and towns far away from major cities face shortage and have to resort to foriegn sources which mostly comes with problems. I'm not going there but will probably discuss that in another post. When I was in the Milk River area in the southeastern part of the province, I remember a big sign at the side of a major road asking for physicians to come and help the residents of the town! Same problem you see in the so-called Third World countries! Most of the health professionals like to work in major cities so they can enjoy(!), what they call it the quality of life! Iran is a good example of this issue. For years and years, I had heard that physicians from India had to be hired by the government and sent to small communities or places where because of weather conditions, physicans would not work. I personally never had any experience because I and my parents and grandparents all were born and lived in the capital. Then what the government did was establish medical schools in almost every city and town! The classes were so big that I remember once a high school friend of mine, who is a specialist now, told me that the instructor had to use a megaphone! And although he's originally, from both parents, is from a small town, he stayed in the capital and continued practicing! The other thing the government did was forcing the newly graduates of medical schools to spend a few years in remote and small communities. That was part of the deal when they were accepted to the medical school. I don't know if it worked or not but I'm sure even talking about that in Canada will result in being labeled by so many different things! You would be accused of being anti-democracy, you'd be called names, you'd be called against Western belives and values, you name it!
My personal experiences with AHS has not been very good every time i had to drop by. I had to see a few physicians and I can say that a number would easily fall under the category of incompetant and unprofessional. Waiting times are usally and unnecessarily long and over-staffed clinics and medical offices, which turns in excessive budget, as well as burocracy, always has been a problem. When I moved to this town more than a year ago, I tried to find a family physician. I haven't had one since I left British Columbia in 2010(!) and even at the time, when I was much healthier, the so-called family physician who was a woman in her mid-30's, I would think, was not so good.
I called a few clinic around the city and then eventually one of them put me in their waiting list. Now more than 13 months I have just received a call to see that physician! I have seen him once and I really didn't like the way he handled the problem I had explained to him. The only good thing he did was referring me to a specialist whom I have seen and the session went well, I hope! I'm looking forward to see my family physician to see how he is going to deal with the problems I have.
(Photo: Alberta Health Services on a building)