Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2023 Report
Each year, the Fraser Institute surveys physicians across twelve specialties and the ten provinces in order to document the queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in Canada. Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2023 Report reports the results of this year’s survey.
In 2023, physicians report a median wait time of 27.7 weeks between a referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment. This represents the longest delay in the survey’s history and is 198% longer than the 9.3 weeks Canadian patients could expect to wait in 1993.
Overall, Ontario reports the shortest wait across Canada (21.6 weeks) while Nova Scotia had the longest (56.7 weeks).
The 27.7 week total wait time that patients face can be examined in two consecutive segments:
- referral by a general practitioner to consultation with a specialist: 14.6 weeks;
- consultation with a specialist to receipt of treatment: 13.1 weeks.
After seeing a specialist, Canadian patients were waiting 4.6 weeks longer than what physicians consider clinically reasonable (8.5 weeks).
Across the ten provinces, the study also estimates that there were 1,209,194 procedures for which patients—3% of the Canadian population—were waiting in 2023.
Patients also face considerable delays for diagnostic technology. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 6.6 weeks for a CT scan, 12.9 for an MRI scan, and 5.3 weeks for an ultrasound.
Survey results suggest that, despite provincial strategies to reduce wait times, Canadian patients continue to wait too long for medically necessary treatment.
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