NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 6, 2007

Despite spending more on health care than any other industrialized country in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) except Iceland and Switzerland, Canada ranks poorly in several categories according to a new study by the Fraser Institute. 

For instance:

  • Canada ranks 17th in the percentage of total life expectancy that will be lived in full health.
  • It also ranks 22nd in infant mortality, 15th in perinatal mortality and fourth in mortality amenable to health care.
  • Other rankings for Canada included 9th in potential years of life lost to disease, 10th in the incidence of breast cancer mortality and 2nd in the incidence of mortality from colorectal cancer.


  • On an age-adjusted, comparative basis, Canada, relative to comparable countries of the OECD, has a small number of physicians, ranking 24th out of 28 countries.
  • Notably, Canada had the second-highest ratio among 20 OECD countries for which data were available in 1970.
  • Since 1970, however, all but one of these countries have surpassed Canada's growth in doctors per capita.
  • While the age-adjusted proportion of doctors in Canada grew by 24 percent, the average increase in the proportion of doctors in the other 19 countries was 149 percent.

With regard to age-adjusted access to high-tech machinery, Canada performs dismally by comparison with other OECD countries:

  • Canada ranks 13th of 24 in access to MRIs and 18th in access to CT scanners.
  • It also ranked 7th of 17 in access to mammographs, and tied with two other nations at 17th of 20 in access to lithotriptors.

Lack of access to machines also means longer waiting times for diagnostic assessment, and mirrors the longer waiting times for access to specialists and to treatment found in the comparative studies examined for this study.

Source: "The Fraser Institute: High-Priced Canadian Health Care System Provides Poor Access to Care Compared to Other Nations," Fraser Institute," November 5, 2007.


Browse more articles on Health Issues