About the CAF spectrum of care

The Constitution Act places responsibility upon the Federal Government for providing medical care to members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This is because the Canada Health Act and the provincial health insurance acts exclude members of the CAF from the list of "insured persons" for the purpose of provincial health care coverage. Therefore, the CAF provides its members with comprehensive health care comparable to that guaranteed to all Canadian citizens under the Canada Health Act.

The Canada Health Act of 1 April 1984, which applies to all Canadians, states that: "....the primary objective of Canadian health care policy is to protect and restore the physical and mental well-being of the residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers." the Act further states that insured person means: "....a resident of the province other than a member of the Canadian Forces."

On behalf of the Department of National Defence (DND) and CAF, Commanders are responsible to ensure that the health services requirements of CAF members and eligible persons are met. The Commander CF Health Services Group will develop and maintain an organizational structure to assist CAF health care personnel and enable Commanders, within the chain of Command, to fulfill their responsibilities for the provision of health care to entitled members.


NPN: National Provider Network. A national network of civilian medical care providers (individuals or facilities) contracted to assist in the delivery of in-garrison medical care to eligible persons when CF Health Services resources are not available.

HCC: Health Care Coordinator. The HCC is the Senior Medical Authority on each CAF Base/Wing, who is responsible for the management of in-garrison medical services provided to the military population in their designated area of responsibility.

Certified Civilian Health Practitioner: A civilian who is registered, licensed or certified to provide health services within the province in which care is provided; and

Certified Military Health Practitioner: A military health care provider, who is registered, licensed or certified to provide health services within a province of Canada.

CPA: Contracted Plan Administrator. The CPA is the civilian agency that has been contracted to administer the NPN. The CPA assists the HCC in ensuring health services are available to all eligible persons.

Medical/Dental Local Authority: A Medical or Dental senior health professional on each Base/Wing, who has the authority to approve health services provided by the CAF.

Clinical Specialist: Physician, surgeon or dentist, who has specialized training in medicine or dentistry exceeding the level of training acquired by a general practitioner or dentist.

Attending Physician: A military or civilian physician, who usually sees the patient.

Management of the spectrum of care

The Spectrum of Care committee determines the services to which members are entitled. Entitlement to services is based upon the following five guiding principles:

  1. the benefit adheres to the scientific principle of evidence based medicine. This principle would eliminate any new medical procedures or remedies that have not been thoroughly and scientifically investigated (e.g. homeopathic remedies);
  2. the benefit is necessary for the purpose of maintaining health and mental well-being, preventing disease, diagnosing or treating an injury, illness or disability;
  3. the benefit is not for purely experimental, research or cosmetic purposes;
  4. the benefit is funded by a single province or federal agency. This principle is in keeping with Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP) criteria; and
  5. the benefit sustains or restores a serving member to an operationally effective and deployable member of the CAF.

The spectrum of care consists of six parts:

  1. Comprehensive Medical Care;
  2. Supplemental Health Care;
  3. Occupational Health Care;
  4. Preventive Medicine;
  5. Health Promotion; and
  6. Comprehensive Dental Care.

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