Health policies and data

OECD Health at a Glance 2009: Key findings for Canada


The OECD’s latest edition of Health at a Glance shows that all countries could do better in providing good quality health care.

Quality of Care

Screening rates for breast and cervical cancer are higher in Canada than in most other developed countries, and Canada’s survival rates for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer are among the highest in the OECD.  Canada does well also in achieving low mortality rates for people admitted to hospitals with a heart attack, but mortality rates for people admitted for stroke are higher than the OECD average. 


In 2006, 73% of eligible women in Canada were screened for cervical cancer (OECD average 64%), and 70% for breast cancer (OECD average 62%).

  • The 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer during 2000-2005 was 72%, the second highest after Korea (OECD average 66%). For breast cancer, it was 87%, the third highest after the United States and Iceland (OECD average of 81%).
  • The 5-year relative survival rates for colorectal cancer during 2000-2005 were 62% for females and 60% for males, lower than in Japan, Iceland and the United States, but higher than the OECD average (58% for females and 56% for males).
  • In-hospital case-fatality rates within 30 days of admission for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) are slightly lower than the OECD average (4.2% vs. 4.9%, in 2007). However, Canada has higher rates of deaths in hospital for both ischaemic (7.0% vs 5.0%) and hemorrhagic stroke (23.2% vs 19.8%).

Health Expenditure

Canada spent 10.1% of GDP on health in 2007, more than the OECD average of 8.9%. Spending per person is also higher than the OECD average.


  • Total health spending accounted for 10.1% of GDP in Canada in 2007, compared with an average of 8.9% across OECD countries. The United States (16.0%), France (11.0%), Switzerland (10.8%), Germany (10.4%) and Belgium (10.4%) had a higher share.
  • Canada’s spending on health per person is also higher than the OECD average, with spending of 3895 USD in 2007 (adjusted for purchasing power parity), compared with an OECD average of 2984 USD. Per capita health spending over 1997-2007 grew in real terms by 3.8% in Canada, slightly less than the OECD average of 4.1%.
  • The public sector continues to be the main source of health funding in all OECD countries, except Mexico and the United States. In Canada, 70% of health spending was funded by public sources in 2007, less than the average of 73% for OECD countries. 


  • Journalists are invited to contact the OECD’s Media Relations Division (tel.: 33 1 45 24 97 00 or to obtain a copy of OECD Health at a Glance 2009.
  • For further information about the content of OECD Health at a Glance 2009, please contact Mark Pearson (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 69 or or Gaétan Lafortune (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 67 or in the OECD Health Division.
  • More information on OECD Health at a Glance 2009 is available at
  • For information on OECD's work on Canada, please visit


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