Pregnancy is one of the biggest events in any person’s life, and uncertainty about the cost of giving birth can add to the stress. By knowing how much money to set aside for childbirth, you can start to plan accordingly and avoid being left with expenses that you were not prepared for. The cost of giving birth in Canada depends mostly on one singular factor: your legal status in Canada.
In this article, we will go over the costs of giving birth if you are a resident in Canada, and those same costs if you are a visitor.
The Right To Healthcare For Canadian Residents
In Canada, access to healthcare is regarded as a basic human right afforded to all citizens and residents. What this means is that if you have the legal status to live in Canada, your medical care is not affected by your income level, employment status, or ability to pay.
Pregnant people in this category do not have to pay out-of-pocket for any government-insured costs associated with pregnancy or childbirth. This includes routine checkups, ultrasounds, blood tests, medications to induce labour, and epidurals. The cost of delivery – whether by vaginal delivery or Caesarian section – is also covered. Neonatal care of the birthing parent and the newborn are also funded.
You and your newborn will also be provided with accommodation in the general maternity ward of the hospital.
What Costs Are Not Covered?
In general, pregnant people are entitled to two government-funded ultrasounds for each pregnancy. If further ultrasounds are deemed necessary by a doctor, those are also covered. Additional ultrasounds that are not medically necessary may be requested at your expense.
Some pregnant people require treatment for medical conditions that arise during pregnancy. Monitoring such as ultrasounds, fetal heart rate detection, and non-stress tests will be covered, along with hospital stays in a general ward. However, prescribed medications are not covered – most patients are able to claim this expense from their own medical insurance. If you do not have insurance, you can request a generic version of the medication, which is usually significantly cheaper but just as effective.
Similarly, all pregnant people are offered a gestational diabetes test. If you do have gestational diabetes, you will have to pay for the supplies needed to manage and monitor it. However, most provincial governments allow reimbursement of a large portion of these costs.
How Are The Covered Costs Funded?
Although access to healthcare is a right recognized at federal government level, the provision and funding of healthcare services is left to the provinces and territories. The money comes in part from the Canada Health Transfer – a payment that is made from the federal government to the provinces and territories. Additional federal funding is provided for the delivery of healthcare services to specific groups, such as First Nations people living on reserves, members of the Canadian Forces, and federal prison inmates.
Funding is also raised in the form of tax revenue by the provinces and territories and directed to the healthcare systems of those jurisdictions.
Who Is Eligible?
Anyone who has the legal right to live in Canada is eligible for funded healthcare. This includes the following:
- Canadian citizens, regardless of the means by which citizenship was acquired
- Permanent residents
- Those under refugee protection (this does not include refugee claimants)
- Indigenous people who are registered under the Indian Act
- Internationally adopted children who have been confirmed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to be eligible for citizenship
- Permanent residence applicants whose applications have been approved in principle (IRCC has confirmed eligibility but the paperwork has yet to be issued)
- Foreign workers who have work permits valid for at least six months, and their spouses/partners and dependent children
- Foreign clergy members who will be serving a congregation for at least six months and their spouses/partners and dependent children
- Holders of temporary resident permits with case type 80 (for adoption only) or case types 86-95
Paid Access To Childbirth In Canada For Visitors
Canada has birthright citizenship, which means that any infant born here automatically has Canadian citizenship, regardless of the citizenship of the parents. In some cases, citizens of other nations travel to Canada during pregnancy specifically to ensure that their baby has Canadian citizenship. And sometimes, pregnant visitors to Canada experience preterm labour and give birth weeks before their due date, before they can get back home.
In either case, visitors to Canada are not covered by the healthcare plans provided by the provinces and territories. All costs have to be paid out of pocket. If you are giving birth in Canada, you will have to pay for the following:
- The cost of your temporary resident visa, if applicable
- The cost of prenatal care, including medical checkups, ultrasounds, non-stress tests and bloodwork
- The cost of ambulance transportation to the hospital, if applicable
- The cost of hospital accommodation
- The cost of labour and delivery
- The cost of neonatal care for the birthing parent and the newborn
- Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) costs for the newborn, if applicable
What Is The Approximate Cost?
Visitors who give birth in Canada can expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for the delivery and neonatal care for the birthing parent and the newborn. Factors affecting this cost include the following:
- The province or territory where you are giving birth
- The location of the birth and the attending staff – for examples, doctors and nurses in a hospital vs a midwife in a private residence
- Whether you are giving birth vaginally or via a Caesarian section
- Whether the birthing parent experiences medical complications during or after delivery
- Whether the newborn needs care in a neonatal intensive care unit
How Can I Find Out More?
If you are pregnant and you are intending to give birth in Canada, information and planning resources are available to you. Birthright Canada provides caring, confidential support to anyone who is facing this milestone. Browse around on our website or call us at 416-469-4789.