The public should be concerned that thousands of Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside of the country last year
By Yanick Labrie
July 4, 2017 5:49 PM EDT – If our public health-care system is so enviable, as its supporters claim, why do so many Canadians seek treatment abroad every year? In 2016, an estimated 63,459 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment outside Canada, based on data gathered through the Fraser Institute’s “Waiting Your Turn” survey of physicians, and from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, which tracks the numbers of procedures performed in the country. Among provinces, British Columbia had the highest proportion (2.4 per cent) of patients who sought treatment abroad last year. In Ontario, an estimated 26,513 patients left the country for treatment, the largest number of patients for a single province. Nationwide, among all specialties, otolaryngologists (who generally treat diseases and disorders of the ear, nose and throat) reported the highest proportion of patients (2.1 per cent) travelling abroad for treatment followed closely by neurosurgeons (1.9 per cent).