O Canada

A fellow Canadian blogger has reminded me once again that we are fortunate here in Canada with our imperfect but nonetheless exceptional healthcare system (often complemented by private and provincially-funded children’s charities), which has spared me from potentially debilitating expenses related to caring for Owen.

The majority of his expenses was covered by provincial and federal healthcare programs, charity funding and private insurance.  And I don’t just mean surgeries and hospital bills – I mean many things related to everyday living, like diapers and formula; homeschooling funding and caregivers to cover at least 30 hours a week; medication and implanted devices; therapy; orthotics, wheelchairs, standers and custom seating; and even our wheelchair-accessible mini-van.  I wonder how having this level of support has shaped my world view?

So as a bit of a diversion, I’m sharing with you my photo submissions to Flickr and Getty Images’ This is Canada photo contest.  The contest is already bursting with its share of landscape ‘beauty shots’, so I went with whimsy and Canadian moments instead.  If nothing else, it was fun to go through some photos…  For more pictures, visit my photo blog.



  1. My mouth always hangs open when I read about healthcare in Canada, particularly for the disabled. It’s astonishing, really. Here in the U.S.A., even if we’re “insured,” we’re fighting for every last service, diaper, respite, etc. I can honestly say that seventeen years of this fighting has been equally, if not more, debilitating than dealing with my daughter’s uncontrolled seizures. And there appears to be no end to it —

  2. I honestly cannot imagine the fight you face every day. The stress must surely remain constant even if immediate needs come and go? I have a new appreciation for what you and other Americans are challenged with.

    Recently I have spoken out against the constant reporting and surveillance we must undergo to get our support (‘fake work’) but at least here, the support exists to complain about!

    A vocal contingent of my fellow Canadians complain of taxes and government mismanagement of healthcare, and are pushing to privatize health-related services. They have likely never walked this journey or experienced the immense financial burden it places on families.

    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth…

  3. Amen to what Elizabeth said. I only recently began getting some help with respite (20 hours a month), diapers and pediasure. By recent I mean last year, and Daniel is 13. I am weary.

  4. There are pros and cons to every health care system. The dichotomy between the USA and Canadians systems however are stark. People with a disability in this country are routinely denied sub basic supports. A decent wheelchair cushion? Yes, the cheapest one sold is provided until you have a “demonstrated medical need”. In other words you get a good cushion designed to prevent a skin break down after you have been hospitalized with a skin breakdown. Now that makes sense. It is no wonder health care costs are the number one reason people in the USA go bankrupt. Insurance companies trumpet we cover 90% of your hospitalization. Great but what happens when you rack up a bill of $600,00. Your debt it $60,000. Day to day supports of the sort Canadians receive are unheard of in the USA.

  5. Supports in the good olde USA are probably a function of which state you live in (each seems like a separate country). For my son Adam, Massachusetts provides us 60 hours a week of “personal care attendant”; an additional amount of assistance (7500.00) to cover our ABR therapies in Canada, another 12 hours a week of adult companion hours; MassHealth (Medicaid)health insurance; plus Massachusetts pays my family health premium which is 850.00 a month so that I include Adam as a disabled dependent on my health plan which provides for any doctor, hospital in the world (this makes Medicaid secondary; an allotment for food for Adam each month and an SSI (Supplemental Security Income) of 650.00 a month. There are several other additional program benefits. It all depends where you live, what you research and how loud you scream. I have hear horror stories from parents in other states…equity is not a US hallmark!

    • Thanks for the breakdown Phil – always interesting and enlightening to see how others are getting by. Encouraging that some states are this supportive.

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