Surgical Wait Times In Canada


There are two categories of orthopaedic wait lists in Canada.

Wait List #1 – The wait time to see a surgeon for an initial face to face appointment.

  • Given the risks and potential complications of surgery – it is only undertaken as the last resort. That’s why your referral letter is so important to surgeons before deciding whether you need to be seen or not.
  • The first wait time is from the moment a surgeon reviews and accepts your referral letter to the date of an initial face to face appointment.
  • Just because you have an abnormal x-ray or MRI, does not mean you will be offered an appointment to see a surgeon.  
  • If your physician’s referral letter doesn’t state you’ve exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you can expect that you will not be offered an appointment.
  • Not all provincial health authorities report the first wait time because this wait time depends on an individual surgeon’s office schedule and the number of referrals they have.  
  • The appointment date and time of your initial appointment will be communicated by the surgeon in a letter to both your physician and yourself.

Wait List #2 – The wait time to when you actually undergo surgery.

  • The second wait time is from the date your surgeon (a) offers you surgery in their office, (b) you sign the necessary paperwork until to the date you undergo surgery. 
  • Please be aware that surgeons are dependent on the availability of operating rooms in order to perform surgery.
  • With COVID-19, operating rooms in many hospitals across Canada were closed and consequently surgeons have a significant backlog of patients waiting for surgery. Please don’t get mad at your surgeon or their reception staff –  they are trying their best to accelerate appointments and surgery for all their patients.
  • Provincial health authorities record and report this wait time by one or more of the following; 
    • name of the surgical procedure
    • name of the hospital
    • name of the health region,
    • the name of the surgeon.  
  • When reading tables, look for drop down menus that allow you to sort wait-times by surgeon name, hospital or health region.

National Wait Times

Alberta Wait Times

British Columbia Wait Times

Manitoba Wait Times

Newfoundland Wait Times

New Brunswick Wait Times

Nova Scotia Wait Times

Ontario Wait Times

PEI Wait Times

Quebec Wait Times

Saskatchewan Wait Times

Canadian Surgeons

Surgical Wait Times

Joint Replacements

Spine Clinics

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