Media Releases

Wait times in Quebec ERs: The MEI publishes its ranking

  • Patients in the Laurentians had the longest waits, with stays lasting 7 hours and 16 minutes.
  • The ER at the Hôpital Anna-Laberge was the worst, with a median length of stay of 10 hours and 27 minutes.

Montreal, March 9, 2023 – The median length of stay for a patient in an ER in Quebec was 5 hours and 11 minutes last year, according to a Montreal Economic Institute study published this morning.

“If you need emergency medical care in Quebec, you’d better learn to be patient,” says Emmanuelle B. Faubert, economist at the MEI and author of the study. “The fact that an ER visit now takes over five hours shows that our system no longer works.”

With the exception of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the median length of stay of an emergency room visit has been increasing for four years, going from 4 hours and 31 minutes in 2018 to 5 hours and 11 minutes last year.

The average length of stay has also increased by 1 hour and 39 minutes over the same period, to its current length of 9 hours and 1 minute.

“The rise in median and average length of stay means a typical ER visit is a bit longer, and you’re more likely to be faced with exceptionally long wait times,” Ms. Faubert explains.

The longest emergency room visits in Quebec are in the Laurentians (7 hours and 16 minutes), the Lanaudière region (6 hours and 49 minutes), and Laval (6 hours and 45 minutes).

The ER at the Hôpital Anna-Laberge had the longest visits in Quebec, with a median length of stay of 10 hours and 27 minutes last year.

“Waiting in an ER is not like waiting for the new iPhone,” says Ms. Faubert. “More than ever, Quebecers need the government to try new ways of doing things, because the quasi-monopoly model has demonstrated its limitations.”

You can consult the MEI publication here.

You can consult the MEI’s regional ER length of stay rankings here.

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. 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. 

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