Government & policy
B.C. has top performing provincial
OTTAWA – British Columbia and Alberta have the top performing healthcare
systems in Canada overall, but all 10 provinces have room for
improvement, according to a Conference Board report released in
Healthy Provinces, Healthy Canadians: A Provincial Benchmarking Report
is the first report to compare and evaluate the performance of
provincial healthcare systems in Canada based on comparable health
indicators released by the provinces in 2004.
“This benchmarking analysis outlines where provinces are strong and
where they need to make improvements,” said Glen Roberts, director of
Health Programs for the Conference Board. “No province performs well in
all areas of their healthcare system.”
For example, British Columbia was the top performer in both overall
health of the population and health outcomes of policies and programs,
but posted the second-lowest score in patient satisfaction.
“The results also indicate that spending larger sums of money does not
translate into high performance. It is how the money is spent, rather
than how much, that makes the difference in the effectiveness of
healthcare systems,” said Roberts.
As an example, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador tied for eighth
among the 10 provinces in the benchmarking. Newfoundland and Labrador
had the highest government health expenditures per capita among the
provinces, while Nova Scotia spent the least amount per capita.
The report assesses the provinces based on 70 health indicators in three
broad categories: health status indicators that measure the overall
health of a population; healthcare outcome indicators, which track the
effects of policies and programs on quality of life; and, healthcare
utilization and performance indicators that measure the public’s
perception of the system in their province.
The overall provincial rankings are as follows:
• British Columbia
• New Brunswick
• Prince Edward Island
• Newfoundland and Labrador/Nova Scotia
Data were not available for the federal government, Yukon, Northwest
Territories and Nunavut, and a number of indicators from Quebec were not
The report also updates Canada’s health performance compared to 23
leading Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
countries. As in previous benchmarking analyses, Canada is a
middle-of-the-pack performer with a ranking of 11th, tied with Iceland,
Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The Conference Board regards this report as the second step in a
four-step process. The first was the collection of data, which the
provinces have done. The Conference Board has assembled and analyzed the
data as the second step. The third step is examining the “why” behind
the results, and the fourth step is making the needed improvements,
which is in the hands of the federal and provincial governments.
The report is publicly available from the Conference Board’s web site at