The Canadian health care system serves a population of approximately 25 million people spread out over a very large geographic area (9,960,000 km2). Canada is a federal state consisting of ten provinces and two territories. It was formally created in 1867 when the British North America Act (BNA Act) was passed by the British Parliament, uniting several of the British North American colonies.
The BNA Act grants the provincial governments primary jurisdiction over most health services. The federal government has jurisdiction over quarantine, the establishment and maintenance of marine hospitals, and the quality of food and drugs, and until recently provided health care services to the territories. The federal government also helps to finance provincial health care services and, therefore, the provincial governments have been persuaded to establish hospital and medical care insurance programs. The shared-cost federal programs require each province to meet certain conditions in order to obtain federal funding. This division of powers has resulted in ten distinct, although related, health systems.