Fraser Institute News Release: Health-care wait times in Quebec 15.8 weeks—nearly five weeks shorter than last year

MONTREAL, Dec. 04, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Quebec’s median wait time for medically necessary treatment this year was 15.8 weeks—nearly five weeks shorter than last year, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Across Canada, the median wait time in 2018 was 19.8 weeks.

“Wait times in Quebec have improved, but there’s more work to do with patients still waiting nearly four months for medically necessary treatment,” said Bacchus Barua, associate director of health policy studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2018.

The study examines the total wait time patients face across 12 medical specialties—from referral by a general practitioner (i.e. family doctor) to consultation with a specialist, to when the patient ultimately receives treatment.

It finds that Quebec’s average wait time of 15.8 weeks is down considerably from a record-high wait time of 20.6 weeks last year. In 1993, however, Quebec’s wait time was 7.3 weeks when the Fraser Institute first began tracking wait times in Canada.

Patients in Quebec waited the longest for neurosurgery (33.9 weeks) and orthopaedic surgery (23.8 weeks), and the shortest for medical oncology (3.6 weeks).

“Quebec’s wait times have decreased, and that’s a good first step, but they are still too long,” said Fraser Institute Senior Fellow Yanick Labrie.

“Long waits for medical treatment aren’t a trivial matter—they can increase suffering for patients, decrease quality of life, and in the worst cases, lead to disability or death.”

Median wait times by province (in weeks)
PROVINCE 2017 2018 PROVINCE 2017 2018
British Columbia 26.6 23.2 Quebec 20.6 15.8
Alberta 26.5 26.1 New Brunswick 41.7 45.1
Saskatchewan 19.8 15.4 Nova Scotia 37.7 34.4
Manitoba 24.9 26.1 Prince Edward Island 32.4 39.8
Ontario 15.4 15.7 Newfoundland and Labrador 21.5 22.0

NOTE: The number of survey responses in Atlantic Canada were lower than other provinces, which may result in reported median wait times being higher or lower than those actually experienced.

Yanick Labrie, Senior Fellow
Fraser Institute

To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Bryn Weese, Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
(604) 688-0221 Ext. 589

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit 

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