4 Things Canada Does Better than the U.S.

4 Things Canada Does Better than the U.S.

Regular readers of this blog know we are anxious to move back to the U.S. It’s been almost eight years since we relocated to Canada and I still can’t get used to the frigid temps in the winter. Plus, I really miss Target and Krispy Kreme.

But in my opinion, there are some areas where Canada outshines America.

This post is not intended to be a statement on the current political climate in the U.S. or Canada.

I realize that with the 2020 election campaigns getting into full swing, Item #1 (healthcare) will possibly be the hot topic of presidential debates.

I also realize that the recent university admissions scandal that rocked the U.S., aptly named Varsity Blues, relates to Item #2.

Ironically, it’s these first two items on the list which will most likely keep us in Canada (at least part-time) during the early years of our early retirement.

1) Affordable, high-quality healthcare for all

Ah yes, socialized medicine.

The number one question we get as Americans living in Canada: “How’s the healthcare?”

Our answer: “Pretty good actually.”

Despite the dire warnings from my American dentist that I would die in the Canadian healthcare system if I needed a gallbladder removal, the fact is that Canada provides affordable, high-quality healthcare for all of its residents.

There are a few misconceptions, however.

First, Canada’s healthcare system is not socialized medicine. Call it what you want (single-payer insurance, universal healthcare or Medicare for all) but puh-lease stop calling it socialized medicine. The government is not the healthcare provider. Rather, the government is the healthcare insurer. Big difference. Doctors bill the government to get paid, they are not employees of the government.

Second, it’s not really Canadian healthcare. It’s provincial healthcare. Each province is responsible for the healthcare needs of its residents. Here in Ontario, it’s called the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). And our golden ticket to free healthcare is the OHIP card. For any hospital or doctor visit, we simply present the card and walk out the door sans any additional, confusing, frustrating insurance paperwork.

2) Affordable, high-quality post-secondary education

Take a look at the Times Higher Education list of the world’s best universities. America has 15 of the universities in the top 20: Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins, University of Pennsylvania, University of California (Berkeley and LA), Columbia, Duke, Cornell and the University of Michigan. The average annual tuition at these universities is over $38,000. That average includes the bargain-basement prices of the University of California and the University of Michigan ($14,000) for in-state students.

The remaining top universities typically charge over $45,000 in tuition alone.

Then take a look at Canada’s entry in the world’s best universities, the University of Toronto. The average annual tuition for residents? $7,500!

And here in Canada, skilled tradespeople are valued just as much as college grads. There are great programs offered at the secondary school level that are geared toward young adults wanting to pursue a skilled trade or a 2-year degree after high school.

3) Gun law enforcement

Although Canada and the U.S. have similar gun restriction laws (what’s considered non-restricted, restricted and prohibited), Canada enforces much stricter rules regarding background checks and safety training for anyone applying for a gun license.

To obtain a license in Canada, an applicant must participate in the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course, which includes multiple tests that the applicant must pass. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducts extensive background checks for anyone applying for a license, which may include interviews with the applicant and their references. There is a minimum 28-day waiting period for first-time applicants to obtain a license.

4) Hockey

Much like soccer in Europe and football in America, hockey is on a different level in Canada. It’s quite an experience to attend a game. And it’s crazy expensive. We shelled out $300 a piece in the secondary market for tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs game over the holidays.

For me, attending the game was more about checking off an item on the bucket list than really enjoying an afternoon of hockey. And yes, I’ve seen Messi play soccer in Barcelona, and I’ve been to my fair share of Falcons and Dolphins games. Check. Check. Check.

The perfect country only existed in the mind of Stan Lee

Let’s face it, no country is perfect. Except Wakanda. But that utopian society only exists because of Stan Lee’s incredible imagination.

Canada has much more to offer than we were expecting when we first arrived. This list represents just a few of the reasons we plan on calling Canada home (at least part-time). Now if only we could have more temperate weather in February and bring back Target and Krispy Kreme!

8 thoughts on “4 Things Canada Does Better than the U.S.”

  • Yep, these are all great points. I lost both my parents to cancer when I was much younger, but they both got amazing care and it never cost our family a cent. For that reason alone, I think Canada is a better country to live in. Also agree on the education and the gun control issue. As for hockey – I love going to Leaf games here in California where I can get tickets for about $50 a piece. Unheard of in Toronto!

    • Caren,

      So sorry about your parents.

      I think healthcare costs are the biggest unknown in trying to figure out retirement budgets. Health insurance is so expensive if you’re unemployed or self-employed and under the age for Medicare in the U.S.

  • What a great post. Embarrassingly, you’ve taught this born and raised Canadian a few things about my own healthcare system!

    I love reading your American perspective on Canada. You do a good job of covering the differences in about as unbiased of an opinion as possible!

    PS I agree about the frigid temperatures—maybe you should consider moving to Vancouver? (Or maybe not… they don’t call it Raincouver for nothing!)

    • Thanks for the compliment.

      I would love to move to Vancouver! It’s beautiful, but expensive! Plus, the kids are all in school in Ontario. Maybe one day…….

    • I think Minnesota is basically Canada in America when it comes to the winter weather too, right?

      I’m very new to hockey, but hoping the Maple Leafs can advance in the playoffs (for a change)!

  • Why would you want to bring back krispykreme when you have Tim Horton’s on every corner? This is a fair list but I have some obvious additions. Candy bars are better in Canada the Crunchy and the Caramilk are like crack. Also, What is the opposite of arrogance? I think Canadians are better at that too

    • It is true, there is a Tim Horton’s on every corner. I swear sometimes I think the number of Tim Horton’s outnumber the actual number of people living in Canada!

      But for the doughnuts, have you ever tried a Krispy Kreme? I’ll occasionally eat a chocolate Timbit, but I’ll take a fresh and hot, original glazed doughnut from Krispy Kreme over a Timbit every time!

      And you’re right, candy bars do taste differently. But I really miss Three Musketeers – very hard to find in Canada. And Cheezits. Also not available in Canada. And milk in a gallon jug. I will never understand the milk in bags.

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