Toronto, ON, March 11, 2019 - Today SecondStreet.org, a new Canadian think tank,
released a health care report showing the number of Canadians leaving the country
specifically for health care.
SecondStreet.org used Statistics Canada data to calculate that Canadian patients
made at least 217,500 trips to other countries in 2017 specifically for health care.
However, if you include those travelling with the patients (eg. a spouse, family
members, friend), the total rises to at least 369,700 people.
"Every time a Canadian travels to another country for health care, our country misses
out on economic opportunities as funds are spent abroad instead of in Canada," said
SecondStreet.org President Colin Craig. "If governments want to keep those dollars
in Canada, and create jobs, they could continue to fund our public health care system
while relaxing restrictions on what private clinics can provide. That's what the
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and other developed countries do."
To put the aforementioned figures in context:
- A sold out Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre in Toronto is 48,115 people
- The population of Barrie, Ontario was 209,081 in 2017
- The population of Kelowna, B.C. was 202,208 in 2017
- The population of Sherbrooke, Quebec was 218,633 in 2017
Table: Canadians travelling abroad for health care in 2017 (thousands)
Statistics Canada estimates that Canadians spent $1.9 million per day on health
care trips to other countries in 2017. That is up from $1.2 million per day in 2013.
It should be noted that Statistics Canada was not able to provide a breakdown between
medically necessary and cosmetic spending/travel.
In conjunction with its new report, titled The flight of the sick, SecondStreet.org
released three short video clips that share patient experiences and one video clip
on Canadians travelling abroad for health care:
Jenny Mckenzie's story – A retired British Columbian is told she'll have to wait
upwards of 1-2 years for hip surgery.
Bruce MacDonald's story – A British Columbia man credits a private clinic in B.C.
with saving his life after being told his wait in the public system would be 2-3
Colin and Kris head to Bellingham – SecondStreet.org drove just over the border
to Bellingham, Washington to look for Canadians at an American hospital complex.
To view SecondStreet.org's new report, The flight of the sick.
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