VANCOUVER — A new study released today by the Fraser Institute suggests 45,619 Canadians went outside the country for non-emergency medical treatment in 2015.
The study from the Vancouver-based think tank comes out days after U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump took a swipe at the Canadian health care system during a town-hall debate with Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
Trump said when Canadians need a big operation, they go to the United States because of what he said was a "catastrophic'' Canadian system in certain ways.
U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Oct. 9, 2016. (Photo: AP)
The Fraser Institute study did not indicate how many Canadians went to the U.S. for medical treatment, only that they went outside the country.
The Republican candidate also accused Clinton of secretly plotting to implement a Canadian-style, single-payer health care — a system he said "would be a disaster'' if adopted in the United States.
The study says wait times are among the likely reasons some Canadians seek treatment elsewhere. Citing its own research, the Fraser Institute claims patients waited an average of 9.8 weeks for medically necessary treatment in 2015 after seeing a specialist.