Print

Ontario Wait Times

Frequently Asked Questions about Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Wait Times


What is a wait list?

A wait list is a list of people who need special medical care, such as :

This list lets doctors decide who gets treatment first. Patients whose illness is more serious or life threatening, get treated first.

Note :   Ontario does not have one wait list for all patients. Each doctor keeps a list of patients who need treatment.

What is a wait time?

A wait time is the amount of time you have to wait for your surgery or exam. Your wait is measured from the time your surgery or exam is booked until the time you receive it. If you need several surgeries or exams for your condition, each one may have its own wait time.

Why do we have wait times?

Wait times happen in Ontario because :

Who goes on a wait list?

Anyone who needs a treatment that has a wait list is placed on the list, unless it is an emergency. Emergency patients are treated as quickly as possible.

How long will I wait?

How long you have to wait depends on :

If I have a long wait time, what can I do?

Your doctor can talk with you about these options.

If your condition changes while you are waiting for treatment, let your doctor know and talk with your doctor. Your doctor can assess your illness and decide if waiting for treatment will affect your health.

Do better doctors have longer wait lists?

All doctors working in the province meet Ontario’s standards of training and ability when :

There is no way to tell whether one doctor is better than another.
Some surgeons may have longer wait times because :

What treatments does the Ontario government track wait times for?

We track 14 adult health care service areas and 10 health care services for children and infants (paediatric) in Ontario :

Adult Health Care Service Areas

Paediatric (Age 18 or Less) Health Care Service Areas

Links to radiation, systemic therapy, and cardiac wait times in Ontario.

How do we measure wait times?

We measure wait times in 2 ways :

Why do some hospitals report their wait times while others do not?

Today, only hospitals that get Ontario government funding to provide extra procedures have to report wait times.

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline
1-866-532-3161
TTY 1-800-387-5559. In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Core hours : 8:30am - 5:00pm