Over 45,000 Canadians left the country for healthcare last year: report

Oct 12 2016, 5:51 pm

New numbers from the Fraser Institute suggest a surprisingly large number of Canadians are travelling outside the country to seek medical care.

In 2015, more than 45,000 Canadians left Canada to receive non-emergency treatment, with the highest proportion hailing from BC.

The Institute notes Canadians might be leaving due to long wait times and refers to a report they released earlier this year that says patients are waiting up to 10 weeks for treatment after seeing specialists.

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Of those who left the country to seek medical treatment, urologists report the highest numbers of patients who travelled abroad among all specialties. Others travelled for ophthalmology treatment, general surgery, and internal medicine procedures.

“A large number of Canadians clearly feel they have to leave the country to obtain needed and timely medical care,” says Bacchus Barua, study co-author and senior economist for health-care studies at the Fraser Institute in a release.

“Considering Canada’s long health-care wait times and their potential negative effects, it’s not surprising that so many Canadians are travelling abroad for medical treatment.”

More than 22,000 of those patients are from Ontario, but BC saw the highest proportion of people leaving for treatment abroad at 1.5%.

Here are the numbers broken down by province:

  • BC: 10,315
  • Alberta: 4,616
  • Saskatchewan: 712
  • Manitoba: 702
  • Ontario: 22,352
  • Quebec: 3,360
  • New Brunswick: 894
  • Nova Scotia: 1,466
  • Prince Edward Island: 52
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,151