As access to health care has become more difficult, Canadians want government to encourage use of virtual care

More than 70% of voters for every major political party say virtual care options should be encouraged

Jul 05, 2024

spark*insights completed national survey research with a large sample of 2,694 adult Canadians, conducted between June 14 and June 20, 2024. The research was conducted on behalf of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. The key findings of this research are the following:

  • Two out of three (65%) say it is difficult or impossible to access the health services they need in a timely fashion.
  • Two out of three say that someone in their household has used virtual care to get advice from a doctor or nurse. This includes a majority in every region of the country.
  • 78% say the use of virtual care should be encouraged in the future. This includes large majorities of supporters of all political parties, all age groups, and in every region of the country. The more a household has used virtual care the more likely they are to want to see it’s use encouraged in the future.
  • When asked how they would react if the federal government took steps to make it harder for people to access virtual health care, 71% said it would annoy or anger them. This includes two thirds of current Liberal Party voters.
  • Most (60%) Canadians believe that the ideal way for Canada’s health system to operate is to have government deliver the core services needed and to have a market for some health services that consumers can buy from non-government providers. Most (61%) believe that is how the system operates today.
  • A total of 86% of those surveyed said they think it would be a good idea if “more group, workplace or personal health benefit plans included coverage for people who want to use virtual health services in the future”. This includes 91% of Liberal Party voters.

Our Take

Bruce Anderson, Partner and Chief Strategy Officer: “Many are struggling to get the health care services they need in a timely fashion, including finding a family doctor. Many are also finding it difficult to manage cost of living pressures. Virtual care solutions are popular because they improve access to health counselling, and add convenience – which often means saving money as well.

Canadians have become comfortable with non-government provision of some health services, through workplace or similar benefit plans. They believe that non-government stakeholders in these situations augment and fill gaps in the health system without jeopardizing the fundamental principles of public health care. People want to see expanded use of virtual care and would react badly if the opposite occurred.”

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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