Canadian Medical Association

Ottawa, ON – May 8, 2019 – With growing evidence that the health care system is falling way behind, Canadians are putting political parties on notice for the upcoming federal election: Get back to basics and make health care a priority. In a new Ipsos report commissioned by the CMA, 53% of Canadians said they’re worried about health care. By comparison, 20% are concerned about a carbon tax.

While health care has long been a ballot box issue for Canadians, these latest numbers reveal more about potential voting behaviour: Six out of 10 respondents suggested they’d vote for a political party that they think has the best plan for the future of health care in Canada.

“Every election, health care tops the list for Canadians and yet, our federal leaders do little to truly address it”, says Dr. Gigi Osler, CMA president. “This time around, it’s different. Canadians are no longer willing to wait for action or to see services fall victim to budget cuts.”

In fact, the survey indicates that two thirds of Canadians worry about governments cutting health care services to balance their budgets, while half of those surveyed believe they’ll eventually need to pay more for health care services.

Wait times and shortage of health professionals top worries

When asked about more specific health care worries, six in 10 Canadians said they worry a great deal about long wait times (62%), the shortage of health professionals (60%) and crowded hospitals (59%).

“We’re hearing more and more devastating stories of Canadians struggling to get the care they need, from younger Canadians looking for mental health support to seniors waiting weeks for a long-term care bed,” adds Dr. Osler. “This federal election, we’ll be telling federal political parties that it’s time for leadership on health. Patients and health care providers can no longer and will no longer wait.”

Climate change remains a concern for Canadians

When asked about personal worries, three in ten respondents were concerned about the impact of climate change. From the respiratory issues caused by wildfires and post-flood mould, to the mental health impacts of sudden evacuations, the effects of climate change on Canadians’ health should not be underestimated and our system must be prepared to address them.