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From Angus Reid Institute

Canadians not convinced money is enough to solve healthcare crisis

Canadians prioritize keeping ERs open, credentialling foreign doctors, in pursuit of better outcomes

August 17, 2023 – Billions of dollars will be injected into Canada’s ailing health care system over the next decade. And while money is certainly a variable in the equation that will lead to better outcomes, Canadians and health care professionals alike see structural issues that suggest money isn’t a cure-all.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Medical Association, finds a majority (60%) of Canadians believe the $46.2-billion injection of funds agreed to by the federal government earlier this year will improve the health care system, but that the vast majority in this group (51%) believe the gains will be at best marginal. By contrast, two-thirds of Canadians (66%) think there are structural problems within health care that surmount a lack of funding.

Among these concerns is evidently a desire to streamline the ability to practice as a physician in Canada. As the country faces a doctor shortage, three-in-five (62%) want to make it easier for foreign doctors to secure the right to practice in this country to help increase the pool of physicians in Canada.

This research also includes the opinions of Canadians who work in the health care field, including doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. Those within the health care system are more optimistic that more money can fix challenges in health care (40%) than those without (33%), but that still leaves a majority who think there are greater issues that money can’t solve (60%).

Meanwhile, most Canadians believe health care has worsened in the country over the last decade. Currently, 68 per cent of Canadians believe this, an increase from the 42 per cent who said the same in 2015.

As provincial governments look for solutions to fix a health care system that has consistently been described as “in crisis” in the post-pandemic era, there are some wounds Canadians prioritize suturing first over others. Ensuring emergency departments are adequately staffed to avoid closures is a top three priority for two-in-five (43%). Reducing the mental health strain on health care workers also ranks highly among potential fixes to the system (31%). Increasing the speed of treatment, from diagnosis to resolution (33%), and reducing wait lists for family doctors (27%) and surgeries (31%) are also key in the eyes of Canadians.

All this comes as many struggle to access the ailing health care system. The Angus Reid Institute’s Health Care Access Index, first created one year ago, finds three-in-ten (29%) facing Chronic Difficulty accessing the health care they say they need. One-in-three (34%) are facing fewer, but still some, barriers, while just one-in-six (16%) have little trouble with finding and receiving care from Canada’s health system.

More Key Findings

Family Doctors

Half of Canadians either don’t have a family doctor (19%) or struggle to see the one they have (29%).

Persistent Pessimism

Persistent problems in the health care system have left seven-in-ten (68%) pessimistic there will be improvements to the system in the next two years and more than half (56%) doubtful things will change for the better even five years down the line.

Performance Indicators

Those who believe their province does a poor or terrible job measuring health care performance (68%) significantly outnumber those who instead believe their provincial government is doing great or good on this front (24%). Two-thirds (67%) believe health care performance would be improved by their province making key health care performance indicators publicly available.

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute and the Canadian Medical Association conducted an online survey from Aug. 1-8, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 5,010 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for jointly by ARI and CMA.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here

For detailed results by whether or not respondents identify as LGBTQ2+, or whether they are health care workers, click here.

For detailed results by the Health Care Access Index, click here

For detailed results by how long the respondent has been in Canada, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here

To read the questionnaire, click here.

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From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.

For detailed breakdown of the results, visit

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