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More than 3 million Canadians currently waiting for surgeries, specialists and scans: data shows


Recent data from a Regina-based think tank shows that roughly one in eight Canadians are currently waiting for healthcare services across the country., a public policy think tank headquartered in Regina, Sask., released data sets from its CanadaWaits project on Tuesday.

According to the numbers, 631,527 people are currently waiting for surgeries across Canada.

A total of 1,083,957 people are waiting to see a specialist – while 1,419,369 residents are waiting for diagnostic care.

The organization noted that several provinces did not provide complete data on waitlist numbers. SecondStreet estimates the actual total to exceed five million – or one in eight Canadians.

“Overall, we’ve seen a rise in patients waiting. This is not good news,” spokesperson Dom Lucyk said in the organization’s news release. “We’ve seen positive movement in some parts of the country, but overall, we’re going in the wrong direction.”

The few positive signs the report hints at are advances in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

While Quebec reported a slight decline in its surgical waitlists (-2.1 per cent), it underwent much more substantial progress among its diagnostic waitlists (-41.5 per cent).

Manitoba reported a decline of 20.9 per cent in its surgical waitlists and a 15.1 per cent drop in its diagnostic queues.

However, Secondstreet noted that Manitoba only provided data for four types of surgeries and five types of diagnostic scans.


As of Dec. 13, Saskatchewan reported a 17.4 percent drop in residents waiting for surgical procedures and an eight per cent decline of those on diagnostic waitlists.

Both Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not provide statistics on specialist waitlists – Secondstreet claimed the update marks a “drop in transparency from some governments.”

“For example, New Brunswick only provided surgical numbers, where it had previously provided data on diagnostic and specialist waitlists,” the update read.

The report highlighted that Ontario did see progress on its surgical waitlists – which dropped 6.2 percent. However, the province’s diagnostic queue rose dramatically by 43.8 per cent.

According to statistics from the Fraser Institute – the median wait time for surgeries across Canada have risen from 9.3 weeks in 1993 to 27.7 weeks in 2023.

CanadaWaits was launched in November of 2022 to publically track the number of Canadians on waiting lists. Top Stories

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