No More Freedom 55? Six in Ten (58%) Canadians Believe that Many Will Delay Their Retirement so they Can Afford Health Care

Seven in Ten (70%) Worry That Without Immediate Action on Health Care Canadians are Going to Have to Pay Out of Pocket for Services in the Future

The author(s)

  • Mike Colledge President, Canada, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, May 22, 2019 — Canadians fear getting older means more out of pocket expenses for health care. A new Ipsos survey for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) found that six in ten (58%) Canadians believe many will be delaying their retirement date to afford health care. Canadians 45-54 years old are significantly more likely to agree with this (64%) compared to Canadians under 35 (53%) and between 35-44 years old (57%); those 55 and over (60%) also more likely to agree than those under 35. Regionally, residents of Atlantic Canada (65%) are most likely to believe this, while Ontarians are the least (56%).

Canadians have always prided themselves on having free, universal health care. However, this appears to be under threat, and seven in ten (70%) Canadians believe that if immediate action is not taken on health care, everyone is going to have to pay more out of pocket for health care services in the future. Older Canadians (those 55 and over) are the most concerned about the possibility of health care costs impacting their pocketbook (77% 55+ vs. 70% 35-54, 58% 18-34).

These fears around health care are fueled by an aging population. The survey found that nine in ten (88%) say they are worried about the growing number of seniors requiring greater health care, with over half (56%) saying it worries them a great deal. As well nine in ten (88%) are also worried about the financial burden and increased costs an aging population will place on the health system, with over half (52%) again saying it worries them a great deal.

Canadians Want Action Taken to Address Health Care Concerns and it Could Sway Votes

With an aging population, it is clear Canadians believe health care is at risk and action is required or health care will not only be a financial burden to provincial and territorial governments, but to Canadians pocketbooks as well. Seven in ten (69%) Canadians believe that the health system requires new federal funding to help provinces cover the rising costs of health care in the context of an aging population. Canadians were also presented with a number of health policy proposals and asked which ones they think would improve the health system, and how likely they would be to vote for a political party that adopted such a policy.

As the table below shows, a federal pharmacare program comes out on top as the policy that would be most likely to very much improve the health system (38%) and that would be most likely sway votes, with a third (35%) saying they would be much more likely to vote for a federal political party that adopted this policy. Policies that focus on health care for seniors round out the top three, both in terms of improving the health system, and likelihood to sway vote. This underscores the importance Canadians place on addressing the impact of an aging population on health care. Over three in ten believe that increased funding from the federal government to help provinces cover the rising costs of health care for seniors would very much improve the health system (34%), and that they would be much more likely to vote for a federal party that adopted this policy (31%). Similar proportions believe that a new family care benefit to provide financial assistance so that more seniors can afford the care options they need would very much improve the health system (29%), and that they would be much more likely to vote for a federal party that supported this policy (29%).

Policies Canadians Believe Most Likely to Improve the Health System and Influence Vote


About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 25th to March 4th, 2019. For this survey, a sample of 3,352 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mike Colledge

President, Canada

Ipsos Public Affairs

+1 613 688-8971

About Ipsos

Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. Ipsos ranks fourth in the global research industry. With offices in 89 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across five research specializations: brand, advertising and media; customer loyalty; marketing; public affairs research; and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of €1,780.5 million in 2017.

The author(s)

  • Mike Colledge President, Canada, Public Affairs