Canada’s Health Care System: A Report Card: Ipsos Reid Survey for CMA

Canadians See No Improvement In The Health Care System Since 2003 & Are Less Optimistic About Future Of Health Care

Survey Also Finds Canadians Overestimate How Well Our Health Care System Performs In OECD Ranking

August 15, 2005, Toronto, ON – The fifth annual report card on the health care system in Canada, an Ipsos-Reid study conducted on behalf of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), finds that Canadians see no improvement in the health care system since 2003 and are less optimistic about its future. It also finds that Canadians overestimate how well the Canadian health care system performs in comparison to those of other developed countries.

As in years past, Canadians were asked to grade a number of aspects of the current health care system and rate their level of access to services. In this year�s survey, Canadians were also asked to estimate how well Canada�s health care system compares with other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

While this year’s study is quite consistent with last year�s in terms of Canadians� assessment of overall quality of the health care system, with six in ten (63%) Canadians giving the health care system a B grade or better, there has been a decline in optimism about the future of health care services, with half (50%) of Canadians saying that health care services in their community will get somewhat (36%) or much worse (14%) over the next two or three years. This is a 13-percentage point increase over the proportion that felt this way in 2003.

In terms of Canada’s performance in relation to other developed countries, the study demonstrates that Canadians are unaware of Canada�s underperformance across several key indicators. While Canadians are correct in thinking that Canada ranks 8th out of 30 countries in terms of life expectancy, Canadians overestimate Canada�s ranking across most of the performance indicators, notably the proportion of the system that is funded by the public sector, out of pocket expenses incurred for health care, and the number of physicians per person.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/Canadian Medical Association poll conducted from July 11th to July 15th, 2005. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1,006 adult Canadians were interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within �3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.


Ipsos-Reid is Canada’s market intelligence leader and the country�s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos-Reid employs more than 300 researcher professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and on-line panels. Ipsos-Reid�s Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada�including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country�all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos-Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group. To learn more, please visit