Leaving Canada for Medical Care, 2017

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Leaving Canada for Medical Care 2017


  • In 2016, an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada.
  • Physicians in British Columbia reported the highest proportion of patients (in a province) receiving treatment abroad (2.4%). The largest number of patients estimated to have left the country for treatment was from Ontario (26,513).
  • Across Canada, otolaryngologists reported the highest proportion of patients (in a specialty) travelling abroad for treatment (2.1%). The largest number of patients (in a specialty) travelled abroad for general surgeries (9,454).
  • One explanation for patients travelling abroad to receive medical treatment may relate to the long waiting times they are forced endure in Canada’s health care system. In 2016, patients could expect to wait 10.6 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist—almost 4 weeks longer than the time physicians consider to be clinically “reasonable” (7.0 weeks).

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