Millions of Canadians still don't have a family doctor: report

Sep 14 2023, 6:05 pm

Millions of Canadians still don’t have access to a family doctor, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

The government agency released its first Health of CanadiansĀ report on Wednesday.

It provides an overview of the state of the population’s health in the country using the most recent data in several categories including health behaviours, access to healthcare, health outcomes, and health determinants.

The report found some pretty unhealthy stats when it comes to Canadians’ access to healthcare providers like a family doctor, general practitioner, medical specialist, or nurse practitioner.

In 2021, while most Canadians (85.5%) had a regular healthcare provider, 4.7 million (14.4%) still did not have one, according to the report.

“The percentage of those with access to a regular health care provider was significantly lower in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories compared with the rest of Canada,” wrote StatsCan. “This corresponds to a significantly lower number of physicians per capita in these two jurisdictions.”


Statistics Canada

The study found that Canadians in the highest income bracket (88%) reported having a regular healthcare provider like a family doctor compared to those in the lowest income bracket (81.5%).

It also varied across race and sexuality.


Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada also found that wait times for a minor health problem haven’t been great either.

Among those who are lucky enough to have a family doctor, 58.3% waited three days or less for an appointment about a minor health problem.

“This proportion varied across the country, with fewer Canadians in Nova Scotia (31.9%) and New Brunswick (38.3%) than the rest of Canada reporting waiting three days or less to see their regular health care provider,” reads the report.


Statistics Canada

Overall, nearly 2.5 million Canadians (7.9%) reported unmet healthcare needs in 2021.

If you’re wondering why getting access to a family doctor is so difficult, check out Daily Hive’s deep dive here.

Statistics Canada’s Health of Canadians report will be updated once a year. Do you have regular access to a family doctor? If not, let us know how that’s affecting you in the comments.

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