Almost three million Canadians are on a waitlist for surgeries, scans or specialist appointments, as revealed by a new report from SecondStreet.org.

The Calgary-based think tank used access to information responses from provincial and territorial governments to calculate that 2.9 million people across the country were not receiving timely healthcare. 

Waits for healthcare have gotten so bad in Canada that some have even died while having treatments delayed due to shortages and understaffing. 

“It’s not just that Canada has millions on waiting lists,” said president Colin Craig. 

“The stories behind many of those numbers are pretty atrocious. Sadly, some patients are even dying while waiting to receive a diagnostic scan or meet with a specialist, never mind getting to the point where they’ve been put on a surgical wait list.”

Broken down even further, Ontario and Quebec had the highest number of people waiting to receive a surgery with both provinces reporting waitlists of 229,423 people and 160,684 people respectively. 

When it came to accessing a specialist, Quebec had a whopping 793,658 waiting for an appointment to do so. The province also ranked the highest when it came to the number of people on diagnostic waitlists with 707,454 Quebecers waiting for scans. 

According to SecondStreet.org the total number is likely closer to 3.7 million when taking into account incomplete data. 

“The number of Canadians on a waiting list is roughly the same as the populations of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia combined,” added Craig. 

“Health care spending has exploded over the past few decades and yet here we are. We clearly need health reform.”

A recent poll commissioned by the think tank and conducted by Leger also found that a majority of Canadians supported alleviating the stress on Canada’s healthcare system by providing private clinic options or reimbursements for healthcare work done abroad. 

A total of 72% of Canadians agreed that a similar model to the European Union, where people are provided reimbursements for healthcare accessed in neighbouring countries, would be a good idea. 

Similarly, 64% of people wanted Canadians to be provided more private healthcare options. 

SecondStreet.org has set up an online portal containing data on wait times and healthcare waiting lists. 

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