Health Fact Sheets
Primary Health Care Providers, 2016

Release date: September 27, 2017

In 2016, 15.8% of Canadians aged 12 and older (roughly 4.8 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 The proportion of females without a regular health care provider declined between 2015 and 2016 (13.1 %, 11.9 %).Note 2 For males, there was no change between 2015 and 2016.

Significantly more males (19.9%) than females (11.9%) reported they were without a regular health care provider. Males aged 18 to 34 were more likely than any other age group to be without a regular health care provider. Among females, the rate was highest for those aged 12 to 17 and 18 to 34. The group that had the lowest proportion of people without a health care provider were Canadians aged 65 and older (6.5% for males and 5.3% for females; Chart 1).

Chart 1 Percentage without a regular health care provider, by age group and sex, household population aged 12 and older, Canada, 2016

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Age group (years) (appearing as row headers), Percent and Confidence Interval, calculated using Lower 95% limit and Upper 95% limit units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Age group (years) Percent Confidence Interval
Lower 95% limit Upper 95% limit
Males
Total (12 and older) 19.9 19.1 20.7
12 to 17 18.3 16.2 20.4
18 to 34 33.3 31.4 35.3
35 to 49 21.7 19.8 23.6
50 to 64 13.4 12.1 14.7
65 and older 6.5 5.6 7.4
Females
Total (12 and older) 11.9 11.2 12.5
12 to 17 16.2 14.2 18.2
18 to 34 18.6 17.1 20.1
35 to 49 12.1 10.8 13.5
50 to 64 8.5 7.4 9.7
65 and older 5.3 4.6 6.0

Of the 4.8 million people without a primary health care provider, the most commonly reported reasons were that they had not tried to find one (28.7%) or that they did not need one, but had a usual place of care (26.3%).Note 3

The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was lower than the national average (15.8%) in:

The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was higher than the national average in:

The proportion of residents who were without a primary health care provider was similar to the national average in Manitoba and British Columbia.

In 2016, Aboriginal peoplesNote 4 were more likely to report they did not have a primary health care provider (19.2%) compared to the non-Aboriginal population (15.8%). 

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About primary health care

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.

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References

Nabalamba, A., and W. Millar. 2007. “Going to the doctor”. Health Reports. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. Vol. 18 no. 1. (accessed January 11, 2017)

Carrière, G. 2005. “Consultations with doctors and nurses”. Health Reports. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. Vol. 16 no. 4. (accessed January 11, 2017)

Data

Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0508.

Notes

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