Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2018

Ontario’s health-care wait times no longer shortest in Canada

By —— Bio and Archives--December 4, 2018

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Ontario’s health-care wait times no longer shortest in Canada
TORONTO—Ontario can no longer claim the shortest median wait time for medically necessary treatment in Canada, with patients in the province waiting an estimated 15.7 weeks (on average) in 2018, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Saskatchewan’s wait time of 15.4 weeks is the shortest in Canada this year, while the median wait time across Canada was 19.8 weeks.


“Unfortunately, excessively long wait times remain a defining characteristic of health care in Ontario and across Canada,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and author of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2018.

The study examines the total wait time patients face across 12 medical specialties—from referral by a general practitioner (i.e. family doctor) to consultation with a specialist, to when the patient ultimately receives treatment.

Last year, Ontario’s wait times were the shortest in Canada at 15.4 weeks. In 1993, by comparison, patients in Ontario only waited 9.1 weeks.

This year, wait times in Ontario were longest for orthopaedic surgery (29.7 weeks) and ophthalmology (28.9 weeks) and shortest for medical oncology (3.2 weeks).

“Long wait times are not a trivial matter—they can increase suffering for patients, decrease quality of life, and in the worst cases, lead to disability or death,” Barua said.

“It’s time for policymakers at Queen’s Park and in Ottawa to reform the outdated policies that contribute to long wait times.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute, 604-688-0221 ext. 589, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2018


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Fraser Institute -- Bio and Archives | Comments

The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit fraserinstitute.org.

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