11/29/2012 03:09 EST | Updated 01/29/2013 05:12 EST

ER Waiting Time: Canadians Wait More Than Four Hours On Average, Report Finds

TORONTO - A report says Canadians spend more than four hours on average in hospital emergency rooms waiting for treatment, and one in 10 wait eight hours or more.

The report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information also found more than half of Canadians surveyed said they can't get an appointment with their family doctor on the same or next day.

The report says 14 per cent of patients wait more than three months for an appointment with a specialist, and 25 per cent have to wait four months or longer for elective surgery.

CIHI says that on any given day, about five per cent of patients are in acute-care hospital beds waiting to be discharged to residential care or back home with support services.

One in five of these patients — most of them aged 65 or older — wait more than a month to be moved.

Waits for cancer, cardiac, joint-replacement and sight-restoration operations have dropped since 2004–2005, largely because of targeted investment in these areas.

“Wait times have improved for certain types of care, but more can still be done,” John Wright, CIHI president and CEO, said in a statement.

LOOK: Check out the highlights from Canada's 2011 community health survey:

How Healthy Are Canadians?

Smoking Rates For Adults:

Smoking rates for both men and women have fallen over the last decade. Rates for men fell from 28.1 per cent in 2001 to 22.3 per cent in 2011 and for women, from 23.8 per cent to 17.5 per cent.

Smoking Among Teens:

Since 2001, the largest smoking decline for both sexes occurred among teens. Young people aged 15 to 17 saw rates falling from 20.8 per cent to 9.4 per cent in 2011. And teens aged 18 to 19 saw rates drop from 33.7 per cent to 19.1 per cent.

Second Hand Smoke:

The proportion of non-smokers aged 12 and older who were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home declined from 10.6 per cent in to almost half at 5.5 per cent in 2011.

Eating Fruits And Veggies:

In 2011, 40.4 per cent of Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they consumed fruit and vegetables five or more times per day. This was down for the second year in a row from the peak of 45.6 per cent in 2009.

Physical Activity:

In 2011, 53.8 per cent of Canadians were at least 'moderately active' during their leisure time, up from 52.1 per cent the year before. 'Moderately active' would be equivalent to walking at least 30 minutes a day or taking an hour-long exercise class at least three times a week.


At least 60.1 per cent of Canadian men, about 7.6 million, and 44.2 per cent of women, roughly 5.6 million, had an increased health risk because of excess weight. These rates have remained stable since 2009.


In 2011, 18.3 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older, roughly 4.6 million adults, reported height and weight that classified them as obese. This rate was unchanged from 2009.
Between 2003 and 2011, obesity rates among men rose from 16 per cent to 19.8 per cent, and among women, from 14.5 per cent to 16.8 per cent.

Heavy Drinking:

In 2011, 19 per cent of individuals aged 12 and over reported heavy drinking, up from 17.3 per cent in 2010.

The proportion among males rose from 24.8 per cent to 26.8 per cent and among females, it rose from 10.1 per cent to 11.4 per cent.
Heavy drinking refers to consuming five or more drinks per occasion and at least once a month during the year prior to the survey.