Health Care Delivery Praised in Saskatchewan, Derided in Quebec

Saskatchewan is the only Canadian province where half of the population offers a positive assessment of the current state of health care, while Quebecers offer the heaviest criticism towards the services provided by emergency rooms, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey collected the views of a representative sample of 55,501 Canadians over the past two years, to ask questions related to health care delivery in their province. The respondents who actively engaged in five specific health care services were also asked about their own experience.

Health Care Delivery

In Saskatchewan, half of respondents (50%) rated the delivery and maintenance of health care services across the province as “good.” Manitoba is second on the list with 47 per cent, followed by Newfoundland and Labrador with 45 per cent, Ontario with 44 per cent, and New Brunswick with 41 per cent.

Nova Scotia (39%) is barely ahead of the provincial average on this question, while the ranking is lower for Alberta (37%), Prince Edward Island (36%) and British Columbia (35%). Quebec is at the bottom of the list, with only one-in-four respondents (26%) saying health care delivery in the province is “good.”

Family Doctor / General Practitioner

The 43,656 respondents who visited a family doctor or general practitioner in the past two years offered mostly positive views on their last experience. Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador all tied for first place with 93 per cent, followed by British Columbia with 91 per cent, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick with 90 per cent, Manitoba and Ontario with 89 per cent, Alberta with 88 per cent, and Prince Edward Island with 87 per cent.


A similar scenario ensued when 23,678 respondents were asked to analyze their last visit to a specialist, with 94 per cent of New Brunswickers expressing satisfaction. Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec tied for second place with 91 per cent, followed by British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia with 90 per cent, Saskatchewan and Ontario with 89 per cent, Alberta with 88 per cent, and Prince Edward Island with 87 per cent.

Advanced Diagnostic Tests

The 10,873 Canadian adults who experienced an advanced diagnostic test, such as an MRI, CT Scan or angiography (non-emergency) also provided glowing marks. New Brunswick is ahead of all other provinces with 94 per cent, followed by Saskatchewan, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador with 92 per cent, Nova Scotia with 91 per cent, British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba with 90 per cent, and Quebec with 88 per cent.

Hospital Stays

Out of the 5,360 Canadian adults who reported staying at a hospital for one or more nights over the past two years, respondents in Prince Edward Island offered the best reviews (90%). New Brunswick is second on the list (89%), followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (87%), Saskatchewan (83%), Nova Scotia and Quebec (80%), Ontario (79%), Manitoba and British Columbia (78%), and Alberta (75%).

Emergency Rooms

This is the only one of the five services evaluated where the level of satisfaction drops below the 60 per cent mark at the national level. The best performers on emergency rooms across the country are British Columbia (67%) and Saskatchewan (65%), followed by New Brunswick (64%), Nova Scotia and Manitoba (63%), and Prince Edward Island (61%). The four lowest-ranked provinces are Newfoundland and Labrador (59%), Ontario (57%), Alberta (55%) and Quebec (48%).


Only Saskatchewan can point to the endorsement of half of respondents for the way it is handling the delivery and maintenance of health services. In eight other provinces, at least half of the population brands the situation as “poor”, with practically seven-in-ten Quebecers expressing dismay.

However, once Canadians are actually exposed to the system, overall satisfaction with three of five services is remarkably high. About nine-in-ten Canadians from coast-to-coast report that their last visit to a family doctor, a specialist or to have a diagnostic test was satisfactory.

Two other areas are facing struggles. At least one-in-five people who stayed at in a hospital for one or more nights in Ontario, Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta say they are dissatisfied with their experience. The lowest incidence of dissatisfaction is observed in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Emergency rooms appear to be a national problem, with at least one third of Canadians declaring that their last experience was not satisfactory. British Columbia and Saskatchewan are definitely ahead of the provincial average, while the level of dissatisfaction surpasses the 50 per cent mark in Quebec.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From February 2009 to November 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted eight online surveys with 55,501 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 0.4%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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