Health care – a key Canadian advantage?

In the past couple of years, the Canadian health care system has come under fire from local and international sources for its inefficiency, increasing wait times, underfunding, etc.

However, the fact that health care is paid for by the taxpayer and not by companies is turning out to be a major economic development advantage. The noted economist Paul Krugman wrote an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times that claimed Toyota chose Ontario over Alabama for its new manufacturing plant in large part because of the massive cost burden put on companies in the U.S. to cover employee health care costs.

He was not alone. I counted over 50 articles written in major U.S. and international publications citing the Canadian health care system as a key cost advantage for manufacturers.

Sample headlines include:
-Government health insurance attracts jobs: Orlando Sentinel
Toyota, Moving Northward: New York Times
– Provide health care for all: Houston Chronicle
– Decency is competitive advantage: Kansas City Star
-Why Canada bested US in bids for Toyota plant: San Jose Mercury News
-Auto jobs migrate to Canada, where insurance is a right: Salt Lake Tribune
-Toyota’s move to Canada is a warning to US: eTaiwan News

Yet, when I review Business New Brunswick’s business investment promotion web site, I see no reference to this fact.

One of the most compelling business climate factors in Canada, and it is not mentioned on the Web site.


But you will be happy to know that they are promoting our low dollar – here’s a quote: “As the Canadian dollar trades at historical lows”.

Here’s a tip, guys. Update your web site once a century. The Canadian dollar is trading at two decade highs in Canada not historical lows. And while you’re updating, mention that health care costs are paid by the taxpayer and not directly by the companies, thanks.