Media Releases

Leger Marketing Poll – The Opinion of Canadians on Access to Health Care

Montreal, April 26, 2005 – According to a Léger Marketing poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), 57% of Canadians believe that patients with contacts in the health care system often by-pass waiting lists and obtain care more rapidly.

This perception of privileged access is most prevalent among Quebecers (70%) and Albertans (67%). Women (62%) and younger people aged 25-34 (64%) are also more likely to share this opinion.

“These results clearly show that the discourse of Canadian politicians on the equitable nature of the current health care system is more and more frequently being received with scepticism on the part of the population,” states MEI’s president, Michel Kelly-Gagnon.

Openness to private care

This second annual MEI poll on the opinion of Canadians regarding access to health care reveals, moreover, that a majority of Canadians are in favour of increased access to private health care.

As in May 2004, one Canadian out of two (52%) would accept that the government, while maintaining the current free, universal health care system, permit more rapid access to health care for those willing to pay for such care in the private sector.

A significant finding: it is in Quebec – the province where the offer of health care services by the private sector is the most developed in Canada – that support for increased access to private care is the highest, 65% of respondents being favourable.

“It is heartening to note that those who are in the best position to observe the efficiency of the private sector in the delivery of health care, Quebecers, are also those most open to increased access to such care,” commented Norma Kozhaya, MEI economist and author of several studies on health care policies in Canada.


The poll was carried out through telephone interviews among a representative sample of 1,504 English- and French-speaking Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The interviews were conducted from April 5 to April 10, 2005. Using data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted according to gender, region, and language spoken at home to ensure a sample representative of the entire Canadian adult population. In the end, the maximum margin of error obtained for a sample of 1,504 respondents is ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

Detailed results of the poll, including the distribution according to voting intentions and by region, are available on MEI’s Website.

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For information and interviews, please contact: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications, Montreal Economic Institute, Tel.: (514) 273-0969 / E-mail: pleblanc@iedm.org

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