The number of Canadians who travelled abroad for non-emergency medical treatment dropped slightly last year, according to a new report from a think tank whose past research Donald Trump’s campaign cited to support his debate-night claim that when Canadians need “a big operation,” they often head for the United States to avoid long waits at home.
The Fraser Institute’s latest report, released Wednesday, found that an estimated 45,619 Canadians left the country for elective medical care in 2015, down about 13 per cent from 52,513 in 2014.
That works out to about 1 per cent of all Canadian patients receiving non-emergency care outside of Canada’s borders last year, a minor decrease from an estimate of 1.1 per cent the year before.
The right-leaning institute’s new estimates come on the heels of Mr. Trump name-dropping Canadian health care in Sunday night’s presidential debate, and not in a positive way.
“And if you haven’t noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s catastrophic in certain ways.”