Health Fact Sheets
Primary health care, 2015
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In 2015, 16.8% of Canadians aged 12 or older, or roughly 5.0 million people, reported that they did not have a regular health care provider they see or talk to when they need care or advice for their health.Note 1 Significantly more males (20.7%) than females (13.1%) reported they were without a regular health care provider.Note 2
Among both sexes, the proportion of those without a primary health care provider was highest among those aged 18 to 34. Males were more likely (35.1%) to report that they did not have a health care provider compared with females (22.3%). The group that had the lowest proportion of people without a health care provider were Canadians aged 65 or older (around 6% for both males and females; Chart 1).
Data table for Chart 1
|Age group (years)||Percent||Confidence Interval|
|Lower 95%||Upper 95%|
|Total (12 or older)||20.7||19.8||21.5|
|12 to 17||18.6||16.4||20.8|
|18 to 34||35.1||32.9||37.2|
|35 to 49||22.2||20.3||24.2|
|50 to 64||14.1||12.8||15.5|
|65 or older||5.7||4.8||6.7|
|Total (12 or older)||13.1||12.5||13.8|
|12 to 17||16.3||14.0||18.6|
|18 to 34||22.3||20.5||24.1|
|35 to 49||11.8||10.5||13.0|
|50 to 64||9.0||8.0||10.0|
|65 or older||6.2||5.4||7.0|
Note: A regular health care provider is defined as a health professional that a person sees or talks to when they need care or advice about their health. This can include a family doctor or general practitioner, medical specialist, or nurse practitioner.
Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2015.
The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was lower than the national average (16.8%) in:
- Newfoundland and Labrador (11.9%)
- Prince Edward Island (11.3%)
- Nova Scotia (11.3%)
- New Brunswick (9.2%)
- Ontario (10.4%)
The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was higher than the national average in:
- Quebec (27.8%)
- Alberta (19.5%)
The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was similar to the national average in Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba.
In 2015, AboriginalsNote 3 were more likely to report they did not have a primary health care provider (20.8%) compared to the non-Aboriginal population (16.1%).
Of the 5.0 million people without a primary health care provider, the most commonly reported reasons were that they had not tried to find one (27.4%) or that they did not need one, but had a usual place of care (28.0%).Note 4
For many Canadians, the first point of contact for medical care is their regular health care provider. Being without a regular health care provider is associated with fewer visits to general practitioners or specialists, who can play a role in the early screening and treatment of medical conditions.
A regular health care provider is defined as a health professional that a person sees or talks to when they need care or advice about their health. This can include a family doctor or general practitioner, medical specialist, or nurse practitioner.
Nabalamba, A., and W. Millar. 2007. “Going to the doctor.” Health Reports. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. Vol. 18 no. 1. (Accessed January 11th, 2017)
Carrière, G. 2005. “Consultations with doctors and nurses.” Health Reports. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. Vol. 16 no. 4. (Accessed January 11th, 2017)
Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0508.
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