The Culture of the Canadian Health System


Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout.

Everyone can have health care

  • Basic health care for everyone
  • By province
  • Apply for Alberta Health Care Insurance
  • Albertans pay no premium
  • Visitors need to pay

Adults make health care decisions

  • Tell doctors your health problems
  • Ask questions if not sure
  • Ask doctors of care choices/risks
  • Be part of the healthcare team
  • Make health care decisions

Doctor’s Duties

  • Examine patients
  • Answer patients’ questions
  • Tell patients the diagnosis
  • Provide care/treatment choices
  • Respect patients’ health care decisions
  • Keep patients’ information confidential

Advance Care Planning

  • Albert Health Services hospitals & health centres
  • Write down your healthcare choices
  • Family can follow your decisions
  • Healthcare team offers right treatments for you

ER are for life threatening health problems

Emergency department:

  • Treat life threatening health problems
  • Sickest patients are seen first

Other hospital services:

  • See a specialist with a referral/appointment
  • Stay & get treatment as in-patients
  • Get specialized tests
  • Not for walk-in family medicine care

Urgent Care Centres

  • Minor emergency services (broken bones, stitches, infections)
  • No appointment needed
  • Sickest people are seen first

In Calgary,

  1. Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre – 12 Ave & 4 St SW, Opens 24/7
  2. South Calgary Health Centre – 31 Sunpark Plaza SE, Opens 8 am to 8 pm, 365 days a year

Surrounding Calgary,

  1. Airdrie Community Health Centre – 604 Main Street S. Airdrie, Opens 24/7
  2. Cochrane Community Health Centre – 60 Grande Boulevard, Cochrane, Opens 8 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year
  3. Okotoks Health and Wellness Centre – 11 Cimarron Common, Okotoks, Opens 8 am to 10 pm, 365 days a year

Call 811 to find an urgent care centre near your area.

Calgary Facilities

Hospitals / Emergencies

Alberta Children’s Hospital

28 Oki Drive NW, Calgary


Foothills Medical Centre

1403 29 Street NW, Calgary


Peter Lougheed Centre

3500 26 Ave. NE, Calgary


Rockyview General Hospital

7007 14 Street SW, Calgary


South Health Campus

4448 Front St. SE, Calgary


For Hospitals/Emergencies around your area, please call 811.

A system with family doctors

  • Annual check-up
  • Detect growth/development
  • Order medical tests
  • Follow up with early pregnancy
  • Nutrition advice on bone & growth
  • Provide diagnosis
  • Prescribe medicine
  • Refer to specialists
  • Follow up with treatments

Family doctors order lab tests

  • Phone
  • Online
  • Some must book by phone
  • Cancel if you cannot make it

To find a family doctor:

Canada Values

  • Respect privacy / confidentiality
  • Make appointment
  • Show up on time
  • Follow cancellation policy
  • Respect nurses / staff
  • Zero tolerance to abuse
  • Welcome compliments / concerns

Patients be informed – Interpreters

  • AHS hospitals & health centres
  • Over the phone interpreters
  • Tested in language fluency
  • Trained in interpreting
  • Stay neutral
  • Keep information confidential

Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use. Last updated March 2024