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  • Writer's pictureAdham ElZein

The Pressing Challenges of the Canadian Healthcare System


Canada is known around the world for its publicly-funded healthcare system, which provides citizens with coverage for medical services and care. Despite this, there are still many challenges facing the Canadian healthcare system. In this blog post, we will explore some of these issues and what can be done to address them.


As a start, the costs associated with providing healthcare in Canada are rising steadily year-on-year. This is largely due to the complexity of the system and its outdated technology, which can make it difficult for hospitals and other healthcare providers to efficiently provide quality care.


At the beginning of 2020, the emergence of COVID-19 has put a strain on the healthcare system in Canada as well. In addition to the challenges posed by the pandemic itself, there are several existing issues that have been amplified. These include increased wait times for elective surgeries, inadequate resources, and lack of access to healthcare services. Let’s take a closer look at these issues and how they impact Canadians during this unprecedented time.

At the start of the pandemic, many medical facilities across Canada were forced to delay or cancel elective surgeries due to overcrowded ICUs and limited Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies. This resulted in an influx of people waiting for surgery, causing wait times to skyrocket in some areas. For example, surgical wait times in Ontario increased from 8 weeks pre-COVID to 20 weeks post-COVID—a 150% increase! This is especially concerning as many Canadians require these procedures to maintain their health and quality of life.


The shortage of resources has been one of the most pressing challenges during the pandemic. Across Canada, hospitals were struggling with insufficient PPE supplies and lack of personnel needed to care for patients. This is compounded by an aging population who require more frequent medical attention. With limited beds and staff, medical facilities were, and still are, often unable to provide care for all those who need it, leaving many without access to necessary treatments or services. This is especially true for Indigenous populations living in rural or remote areas. Lack of transportation options and long wait times are just two of the primary reasons why access to healthcare services can be difficult for certain Canadians.


Immigrants in Canada also face challenges accessing healthcare services due to language barriers or unfamiliarity with their rights as permanent residents or citizens. Despite having access to public healthcare through provincial programs like OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), many immigrants still find themselves unable to access much needed care due to financial constraints or fear of deportation if they can’t pay out-of-pocket fees associated with certain treatments or tests. This is particularly concerning given that immigrants may already be more vulnerable to health risks due lower socio-economic status and greater exposure risk due language barriers when seeking employment opportunities during and post pandemic.


The healthcare system in Canada faced numerous challenges during the pandemic, and still is —from increased wait times for elective surgeries, inadequate resources and lack of access for immigrants—which can have severe implications on our communities’ health and well being over time if not addressed adequately. It is therefore essential that we work together as a nation during this difficult time by advocating for improved policies related to public healthcare reform and supporting organizations working towards providing equitable coverage across all demographics so that everyone can access necessary care without any obstacles or delays.

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