Skip to main content

Canada's health-care system is far less efficient than those in many other industrialized countries, but still ranks near the top in terms of the quality of care it delivers, a new World Health Organization study has found.

The report ranks Canada 30th in the world because it gets less for its health-care dollar than the public systems in other countries, including France, Oman and Britain.

However, Canada placed seventh for the general health of its population, one of the criteria used to establish the overall rating.

Story continues below advertisement

The World Health Report 2000, which surveyed 191 countries,

ranked Canada lower than many other Western countries because Canadians pay more out of their own pockets for medical expenses.

"The fact of the matter is, Canada is one of the largest spenders, and when you then compare what you are getting with the amount of the money that goes in, there is probably room for improvement," said Julio Frenk, one of the authors of the report.

His study found that Canada's system is 88-per-cent efficient, meaning that the system wastes 12 cents of every dollar.

The ranking was based on several criteria. Life expectancy was used to measure the health of the society. The researchers also looked at whether all segments of a society are equally healthy or whether some, like the poor, are sicker.

As well, it calculated the financial burden that individuals must shoulder on their own and evaluated whether the money spent resulted in a healthier population.

Canada fared well on the health of its population, ranking seventh over all. Britain, by comparison, was very close at ninth.

Story continues below advertisement

Over all, Canada was ranked behind France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Israel and Morocco, among others.

The United States was ranked lower than Canada, and was 37th on the list.

But while Canada spends $1,800 per person a year, Britain spends less than $1,200. The study converted currencies into what it calls an international dollar (based on what a unit of currency could buy) so expenditures could be compared.

The study concluded the United States spends the most on health care of any country, at $3,700 per person, but was ranked only 37th over all. But while Canada was ranked seventh in terms of the health of its population, the United States was ranked 15th.

Canada fared worse than other industrialized countries on health-care expenses not covered by medicare.

The study found that of all the G7 countries, Canada had the lowest public expenditure on health care other than the United States. Only 70 per cent of Canada's health-care budget is financed by the federal and provincial governments. Individuals account for 17 per cent of total health-care expenditures in Canada. The rest is covered by private insurance. Britons pay for only 3 per cent.

Story continues below advertisement

SELECTED NATIONS' RANK IN HEALTH CARE

The World Health Organization study was based on several criteria. Life expectancy was used to measure the health of the society. The researchers also looked at whether all segments of a society are equally healthy or whether some, like the poor, are sicker.

Rank    Member States
 1.     France
 2.     Italy
 3.     San Marino
 4.     Andorra
 5.     Malta
 6.     Singapore
 7.     Spain
 8.     Oman
 9.     Austria
10.     Japan
18.     Britain
22.     Colombia
25.     Germany
29.     Morocco
30.
CANADA
32.     Australia
34.     Denmark
37.     U.S.
39.     Cuba
41.     New Zealand
45.     Kuwait
50.     Poland
53.     Jamaica
55.     Albania
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies