September 12, 2022 – Staffing shortages and experiences of poor care across the country have public health officials and politicians searching for answers to Canada’s health care challenges. In some cases, this includes opening debate about a topic tantamount to sacrilege in some circles – privatization.
The latest data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute – the third and final installment in a series of studies looking at health care in Canada – finds half of Canadians rejecting the idea of more private care, and another half less certain. Indeed, one-in-three (32%) say that more private care would improve the health-care system, while one-in-five (18%) say they’re not sure where they stand in this discussion.
Notably, this idea receives plurality support in both Saskatchewan (43%) and Quebec (40%), suggesting the conversation may continue to heat up provincially, if not federally. In Ontario, where health minister Sylvia Jones recently commented that “all options are on the table” when asked about privatization, residents voice the highest levels of opposition in the country (57%).
One thing is certain, a majority of Canadians are concerned about the future of health care. Three-in-five (61%) say care in their community is poor or terrible currently. And while two-in-five (39%) report the opposite, concerns about bigger issues including doctor (87%) and staffing shortages (94%) and wait times for surgeries (92%) and emergencies (93%), are near-unanimous.
Among those who say care is poor where they live, half (49%) say both the federal and provincial governments share equal responsibility, while 37 per cent blame their province more than Ottawa. In Quebec, where three-in-five residents say care is poor, half say Premier François Legault’s government shoulders most of the responsibility, the highest proportion in any province.
When you think about health care where you live, what is closer to your view? (All respondents, n=2,279)
More Key Findings
More than half (54%) of past Conservative voters believe more private health care would improve Canada’s system, the most among any political base. Three-in-ten disagree. Past Bloc Québécois voters are split, while past NDP and past Liberal voters are much more likely to be in the latter group (75% NDP, 66% Liberal).
Men More Supportive
Men (38%) are much more supportive of privatization than women (26%). Still, approaching half of men (47%) believe increasing access to private health care would worsen the system overall.
Higher Income Households
Those in higher income households are more likely than lower income ones to lean towards believing private health care could be a solution to Canada’s problems. In households earning less than $100,000 per year, private health care opposition outweighs support by almost two-to-one.
Four-in-five in Atlantic Canada describe health care there as poor or in crisis, the most in the country, but at least 58 per cent in every province say the same.
The Angus Reid Institute conducted two online surveys in August 2022. Sample in Canada was drawn from Angus Reid Forum, while sample in the United States was drawn from Angus Reid Forum USA. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.
In Canada: The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Aug. 8-10, 2022, among a representative randomized sample of 2,279 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 +/- 2.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In United States: The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Aug. 16-17, 2022, among a representative randomized sample of 1,209 American adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum USA. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
For detailed Canadian results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.
For detailed Canadian results by the Health Care Access Index, click here.
For detailed American results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.
To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here.
To read the questionnaire in English and French, click here.
Image – Dominguez/Unsplash
From the Angus Reid Institute, Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research.For detailed breakdown of the results, visit angusreid.org