Tuesday 14 November 2017 by Graciela Rojas

A new study claims over 63,000 Canadians left the country for medical treatment in 2016, a 40% increase on the year before.

An estimated 63,459 Canadians 
travelled abroad for medical care in 2016—up nearly 40% from the previous year, claims a new study by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Yanick Labrie of Fraser Institute says; “More Canadians clearly feel they must leave the country to get the medical care they need,
'Leaving Canada for Medical Care 2017' estimates that 9454 patients 
travelled abroad for general surgery, more than any other treatment. High numbers of Canadians also left the country for urology treatment (6,426), internal medicine procedures such as colonoscopies, gastroscopies and angiographies (5,095) and ophthalmology treatment (3,990).Among physicians in Canada, otolaryngologists (which include ear, nose and throat specialists) reported the highest proportion (2.1 %) of patients travelling abroad for treatment, followed by neurosurgeons (1.9 %).

Across Canada, physicians in British Columbia reported the highest proportion of patients (2.4 %) leaving, while Ontario saw 26,513 patients leave. Seven out of 10 provinces saw an increase in the number of patients leaving the country for treatment, with only Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I. and New Brunswick experiencing a decline.
  • Ontario, 26,513
  • British Columbia, 15,372
  • Alberta, 9,067
  • Quebec, 4,603
  • Nova Scotia, 2,438
  • Manitoba, 2,052
  • Saskatchewan, 1,888
  • New Brunswick, 851
  • Newfoundland and Labrador, 669
  • Prince Edward Island, 7
One explanation for patients travelling abroad to receive medical treatment is the long waiting times in Canada’s health care system. In 2016, patients could expect to wait 10-11 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist—almost 4 weeks longer than the time physicians consider to be clinically reasonable, 7 weeks.

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