I love you, America! Between living in your country as a digital nomad for part of the year and attending events as part of my job, I've spent a lot of time in the United States. One of the biggest misconceptions that I've run into when talking to my American pals is that they believe we receive free healthcare.
This is mostly incorrect.
Most Canadians, with the exception of Alberta, where I live for half of the year, either pay for our hospital and doctor visits as part of our taxes or are billed monthly by the province we live in. Having been born and raised in Canada, I've taken for granted being able to see doctors or receiving emergency medical care whenever I need it – right up to the point where I no longer could. I needed to visit the hospital, shortly after moving from one province to another. I'd registered as a resident there, but my paperwork had somehow been lost. A month after seeing a doctor, I received an $800 bill in the mail. So, that sucked. Even when things work the way that they're meant to, not everything is covered. Things like dentistry, massage therapy or counseling only happen on a pay-per-use basis, or if you're lucky enough to have a job that affords you a health plan. I fall into this latter group, thanks to my partner.
And then there's the cost of drugs.
As The Guardian recently pointed out, Canada has the second highest drug prices of any industrialized country in the world. We're also the only country in the world with a universal health plan that doesn't cover the cost of drugs. If you're a Canadian with a chronic illness, like my father before he passed in 2008, affording the drugs required to ease your pain or keep you alive can leave a family in poverty. Hell, thanks to some interesting/poor choices in my past, I've been left with PTSD. Without my partner's health plan, paying for the drugs that help me to feel safe and grounded while I work my shit out in therapy and on the streets every day might be too expensive for me to afford. I have to imagine that a lot of Americans worry about similar things happening to them.
Anyway, I'll be writing for Boing Boing for at least the next month or so. Are there any other questions about Canada that I can try to answer for you? Hit the comments and let me know.
Image courtesy of pxhere.
[I'm delighted to welcome Lilian Radovac back for another excellent piece on the digital surveillance shenanigans in Canada, which aren't always as showy as their stateside counterparts, but are every bit as worrying. In this piece, Radovac reveals the buried plan for a finance-sector managed, all-surveilling National ID card buried in the latest massive wedge of largely unread documents from Google spin-out Sidewalk Labs (previously) that is building a controversial, privatised city-within-a-city in Toronto -Cory]
In Sidewalk Toronto news, Sidewalk Labs has finally released its Master Innovation and Development Plan Digital Innovation Appendix. As with the 1,524 page MIDP before it, there's a lot to read in the DIA but a few excerpts already stand out.
The UK charity Sense About Science (previously) has announced the winners of its 2019 John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science:forest fire expert Bambang Hero Saharjo and pharmacist Olivier Bernard.
Yesterday, Waterfront Toronto unanimously approved the continuation of Sidewalk Labs's plans for "Quayside," a privatised, surveillance-oriented "smart city" that has been mired in controversy since its earliest days, including secret bullying campaigns, mass resignations of privacy advisors, lies that drastically understated the scope of the project, civil liberties lawsuits, and denunciations by the indigenous elders […]
Between all of our apps, streaming devices, Bluetooth speakers, and energy-sucking decorations, paying for utilities each month can be…brutal. In fact, the average household spends roughly $70 a month on the water bill alone. That number might not seem terribly significant, but when you add it up, that’s $840 a year — a pretty significant […]
Seems like no matter what kind of wireless earbud you buy, you’re sacrificing something: Sound for longevity, battery life for durability, the list goes on. Finally, it seems like the tech is starting to come together for the full package in a few newer models. Case in point: These PaMu Slide Bluetooth 5 In-Ear Headphones. […]
If you’re doing any kind of data work, chances are you’re working in Excel. This venerable platform has evolved beyond its roots as a workhorse spreadsheet creator into an essential tool for data analysts and other high-level number crunchers. Want to brush up on this year’s version of the software? There’s no quicker way than […]