For almost three decades, the Fraser Institute has surveyed specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces, in order to document the queues for visits to specialists and for diagnostic and surgical procedures in Canada.
The latest edition of Waiting Your Turn, released in December, indicates that, overall, waiting times for medically necessary treatment have increased since last year. Specialist physicians surveyed report a median waiting time of 27.4 weeks between referral from a general practitioner and receipt of treatment—longer than the wait of 25.6 weeks reported in 2021. This year’s wait time is the longest wait time recorded in this survey’s history and is 195% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.
There is a great deal of variation in the total waiting time faced by patients across the provinces. Ontario reports the shortest total wait—20.3 weeks—while Prince Edward Island reports the longest—64.7 weeks. There is also a great deal of variation among specialties. Patients wait longest between a GP referral and neurosurgical procedures (58.9 weeks), while those waiting for radiation treatments begin treatment in 3.9 weeks.
- Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2022 Report. The Fraser Institute. December 2022.