More than 60,000 Canadians left the country for medical treatment in 2016
A significant number of Canadians—an estimated 63,459 people—may have received treatment outside of the country in 2016. This is a significant increase from the 45,619 who were estimated to have travelled abroad in 2015 and also higher than the 52,513 who were estimated to have travelled abroad in 2014.
Increases between 2015 and 2016 in the estimated number of patients going outside Canada for treatment were seen in seven provinces: British Columbia (10,315 to 15,372), Alberta (4,616 to 9,067), Ontario (22,352 to 26,513), Manitoba (702 to 2,052), Quebec (3,360 to 4,603), Saskatchewan (from 712 to 1,888), and Nova Scotia (1,466 to 2,438).
Some patients may have been sent out of country by the public health care system due to a lack of available resources or the fact that some procedures or equipment are not provided in their home jurisdiction. Others may have chosen to leave Canada in response to concerns about quality, seeking more advanced health care facilities, more state-of-the-art medical technologies, or better outcomes.
Another explanation may relate to the long waiting times that patients are forced endure in Canada’s health care system. For example, in 2016, patients could expect to wait 10.6 weeks for medically necessary treatment after seeing a specialist.