Positive Views on State of Health Care Drop in British Columbia

Half of the province’s residents say a shortage of doctors and nurses is the biggest problem facing the system right now.

Vancouver, BC [September 30, 2020] – Just over three-in-ten British Columbians believe the province’s health care system requires a major overhaul, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 31% of British Columbians believe health care in the province has so much wrong with it that we need to completely rebuild it, up 20 points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in November 2020.

Only 13% of British Columbians (-9) think health care in the province works well, and only minor changes are needed to make it work better, while half (50%, -14) say there are some good things in health care in British Columbia, but some changes are required.

“Negative perceptions about the current state of the health care system in British Columbia increase with age,“ says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “While only 22% of residents aged 18-to-34 call for a complete rebuild, the proportion rises to 30% among those aged 35-to-54 and to 40% among those aged 55 and over.”

Half of British Columbians (50%, +26) consider a shortage of doctors and nurses as the biggest problem facing the health care system right now. Long waiting times is a distant second on the list of concerns with 18% (-9), followed by bureaucracy and poor management (10%, =) and inadequate resources and facilities (7%, -6).

Two-in-five British Columbians (40%, =) say they would be willing to pay out of their own pocket to have quicker access to medical services that currently have long waiting times—a proportion that rises to 49% among those aged 18-to-34.

In addition, a third of British Columbians (33%, +6) would consider travelling to another country to have quicker access to medical services that currently have long waiting times.

In September 2020, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled that access to private health care is not a constitutional right, even if wait times for care under the public system are too long.

More than a third of British Columbians (37%, -9) agree with the decision taken by the B.C. Supreme Court justice, while 49% (+18) disagree and 14% (-9) are undecided.

British Columbians who voted for the BC Liberals and the BC Green Party in the 2020 provincial election are more likely to disagree with the justice’s decision (52% and 51% respectively) than those who supported the BC New Democratic Party (NDP) (43%).


Results are based on an online study conducted from September 23 to September 25, 2022, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca