Canadians and Healthcare: Satisfaction and feelings about delivery options in 2023

Barely half of Canadians say the healthcare system is working well enough to meet their needs.

Mar 27, 2023


Barely half (54%) of Canadians say the healthcare system is working well enough to meet their needs. Two-thirds say is it not working well enough across the country, or in their province. Only Quebec finds a majority giving passing grades to their provincial government.

Since 2021, negative ratings for both the federal government (up 21 points to 49% poor/very poor) and provincial governments (up 15 points to 48% poor/very poor, have grown significantly.


Canadians are most unhappy about access to specialists, long-term care, surgical care, and timely emergency room care. Negative feelings about these topics are up by more than 10 points since 2021.

Canadians are more satisfied with access to virtual care, and with the amount that they pay for prescription drugs, physiotherapy, and affordable eye care.

While a majority (60%) say their access to a family doctor is excellent or good enough, 4 in ten say the system is falling short of their needs in this area. Unhappiness with this aspect of health care is up 16 points since 2021. Alongside sharp rises in unhappiness around access to a family doctor, surgical care, long-term care, and emergency care, we also see a 17-point increase in unhappiness with access to mental health services. Today, 49% say the system is falling short of their needs. Problems in this area are most acutely felt by younger Canadians.


Many Canadians are finding the healthcare system is failing to meet current needs. Opinions have deteriorated sharply, and pressure is evident both on the federal and provincial levels of government. Surgeries, ER care, long-term care, and mental health supports are among the most acute areas of public discontent.

People want health system improvement and this means that they are more open to non-public delivery alternatives than might have been the case in the past. They want policymakers to be open to innovations as well. Workplace or group insurance is already experienced by many as an effective way for private sector organizations to help people get the health services they need affordably.


The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from February 20 to 25, 2023. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

This survey was paid for by the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.

On behalf of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, Abacus Data and Spark Insights conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 adult Canadians. The interviewing was done online between February 20 and 25, 2023. This is the first of a series of releases highlighting key findings from that study. More information can be sought from Susan Murray of CLHIA ( or Bruce Anderson (

About spark*insights

spark*insights is lead by Bruce Anderson, one of Canada’s leading and most experienced public opinion researchers, along with Alex Kohut, former Senior Manager of Research & Advertising in the Office of the Prime Minister. From polling and research to analysis and guidance, we help organizations, uncover the factors driving or influencing public perception to gain valuable insights into the shape and movement of the landscape.

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