Private health care: Poll shows Canadians split

As negotiations continue over health care between the prime minister and the federal government, a new survey suggests Canadians are divided on the potential for more privatization of the health care system.

A survey conducted by Angus Reed found that 39% of Canadians are “public health purists”, meaning they want little or no private sector involvement in healthcare, and 28% say more privatization is needed.

A middle 33% say they are “interested but hesitant” and cannot say either way. The group believes that the private sector can play a role in certain circumstances, but is concerned about understaffing of the public system and access to low-income Canadians.

68% of NDP voters were public health purists, and 52% of Liberal voters held this position. Conservative voters, on the other hand, were more likely to support private care (50%).

Additionally, 47% of Ontarians have been identified as public health purists, making Ontario more likely than any other province to oppose privatization. It may be a response to “recent developments,” he says. last Tuesday, the state introduced a bill Enabling more private clinics to offer taxpayer-funded surgeries to clear the public system’s backlog.

On the other hand, people in Saskatchewan (40%) and Alberta (36%) were more likely to support privatization.

Furthermore, 45% of respondents said they were concerned that private care would only make the system worse, and 36% said privatization would make it better. In Ontario, 53% said private care worsened the system more than any other province.

Two provinces, Saskatchewan and Quebec, were the only provinces where more people said private health care would improve their systems. In Saskatchewan, 47% held this view and 34% said it would make the system worse. In Quebec, 40% said private care would improve them and 38% disagreed.

Amidst the long wait times in Canadian hospitals, some have come up with the idea of ​​allowing private clinics to pay for themselves so patients can have quick access to surgeries and tests. His 43% of respondents support the idea and 47% disapprove. Opposition to the move was strongest in Ontario, with the highest level of support in Saskatchewan.

Some Canadians (43%) believe the province deliberately undermines public health care to make private health care look better, but an equal percentage disagree. Ontario and Manitoba had the highest percentages of residents who agreed with the statement, while British Columbia and Quebec had the highest percentages of opposition.

There also seems to be disagreement about what constitutes “privatization” in the healthcare system. Most Canadians (71%) seem to agree that out-of-pocket means privatization. However, 33% said they believe paying public funds to third parties to provide care outside the government system is not privatization, and 51% said it is. .


The survey was conducted online February 1-2 with a randomized sample of 2,005 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reed Forum. The results have a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points on 19 out of 20 points.

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