Opinion Polls

Health Care System – Survey of Canadians

The Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) commissioned Leger to poll Canadians on certain questions concerning the health care system.

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Media release: Health care: Quebecers more open to competition for better access

Montreal, December 4, 2019 – While governments keep shovelling billions of dollars into the country’s health care systems, and results continue to disappoint, a strong majority of Quebecers are open to entrepreneurship in order to alleviate the lack of service, all while maintaining the universal coverage of care. Indeed, across the country, it is Quebec that is the most open to this, shows a Leger poll carried out on behalf of the MEI.


  • 75% of Quebecers, Manitobans, and Saskatchewanians agree that private entrepreneurs should be allowed to provide more care, as long as the government pays for it. For the country as a whole, the level of support is 68%, with only 20% opposed.
  • 55% of Quebecers agree that private companies should be allowed to manage public hospitals, compared to 42% nationally. The young are most open to the idea of private management within our public health care systems (46% of Canadians aged 18 to 34).
  • Only 25% of Canadians consider that the health care system treats patients in a timely manner. In the Atlantic Provinces, only 16% of people find that treatment is timely.
  • 63% of Canadians believe that individuals should have the right to buy private health insurance if they are not treated within a reasonable time. The proportion is similar from one province to the next.
  • 67% of Canadians would like their employer to provide them with access to virtual consultations with a doctor. In Quebec, the proportion is 76%, the highest in the country.

“Canadians are obviously ready to drag their health care systems out of the 1970s to bring them into the 21st century. A majority of them have understood the advantages of making more room for entrepreneurs when it comes to the provision of care, as long as it is covered by the government and accessible to all, like in Europe,” observes Patrick Déry, Senior Associate Analyst at the MEI. “Hallway medicine in Canada is not an unavoidable fact of life!”

“Clearly, the range of solutions that people are ready to consider in order to improve the health care system shows that the winds of change are blowing. Politicians should take note and propose more ambitious reforms, rather than content themselves with spending more and more money. Health care entrepreneurship has proven itself everywhere else, and it improves access to care. There’s no reason not to make greater use of it,” concludes Krystle Wittevrongel, Associate Researcher at the MEI.

Among Canadian provinces, it is in Quebec that support for this kind of measure is the highest. With Dr. Brian Day fighting in court for the right to purchase private health insurance, it is worth noting that 63% of Canadians want this right.

The Web survey was conducted from November 22nd to November 25th, 2019 among a representative sample of 1,527 Canadians 18 years of age or older. 

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal, Calgary, and Paris. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.


Interview requests: Pascale Déry, Vice President, Communications and Development, MEI. Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2233 / Cell: 514-502-6757 / Email: pdery@iedm.org

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