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A new report by Statistics Canada suggests that about half of Canadians in need of health care had difficulty accessing services during the first year of the COVID-19 crisis.

The findings released Tuesday are based on the responses of 25,268 adults in 10 provinces – including 6,517 Indigenous individuals – to a survey last spring about the pandemic’s impacts on health care

The data found 49 per cent of respondents with medical needs reported difficulty accessing care between March, 2020 and May, 2021.

The report adds that 85 per cent of respondents said they got the health care they needed in spite of these hurdles, while the remaining 15 per cent did not receive at least one required service.

The survey also found 30 per cent of participants with health concerns said they put off seeking medical attention, with COVID-19 concerns ranking among the top reasons for these delays.

Gregory Marchildon, a health policy professor at University of Toronto, says pandemic-related disruptions are bound to have serious health impacts down the line.

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