Health spending to reach $331 billion by 2022, COVID costs down

Canada is expected to hit $331 billion in health spending by 2022, according to new estimates, but pandemic-induced spending gains appear to be slowing – despite COVID-19 hospitalization rates higher than in 2021.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Information (CIHI) released their annual National Health Spending Trends report on Thursday, giving their estimate of how much money is spent on health in Canada.

According to CIHI, by 2022, Canada will spend an average of about $8,653 per Canadian, with total health spending accounting for 12.2% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), down from a high of 13. 8% by 2020.

Before the pandemic, spending on health had steadily increased by about 4% annually from 2015 to 2019. This growth has skyrocketed to a 13% increase in funding in 2020, largely due to the pandemic, followed by an increase of 7%. health spending in 2021.

But after two years of COVID-19, this trend seems to have dropped significantly. According to CIHI estimates, total health spending is expected to grow by only 0.8% in 2022.

“Despite a slowdown in 2022, growth in health care spending in Canada continues to be driven by persistent factors such as aging population, population growth and the use of health care services. healthcare,” Ann Chapman, Director of Primary Care and Spending at CIHI, said in a press release. “The budget strain caused by the pandemic is putting pressure on efforts to restore the health system.”

Spending on health often increases with the economy, sometimes outstripping it. COVID-19 has driven an unprecedented increase in health spending in 2020.

CIHI is a nonprofit organization that works with federal, provincial, and territorial partners to compile and present data on healthcare management, research, and policy in Canada.

The spending report includes estimates for 2022 and 2021, as well as final figures for health care spending in 2020.


When looking at total spending on health, what services does that large $331 billion represent?

Hospitals, doctors and drugs are the largest spending categories, accounting for more than 50% of total health spending by 2022.

Almost a quarter of total healthcare spending in 2022 is spent on our hospitals, while doctors and medicines both account for 13.6% each.

This means hospitals will cost Canadians around $2,084 per person in 2022.

“Hospital spending growth is expected to accelerate as efforts to address surgical and other backlogs,” the statement said.

In 2020, spending on doctors fell by 3.6% as many forms of care were delayed due to fear of patients contracting COVID-19.

This category rebounded in 2021 and 2022, now reaching the second largest share of health spending.

Spending on medicines is expected to grow 5.4% in 2022, as requests for specialty drugs continue to grow, coupled with higher costs per person for problem-solving drugs. chronic.

CIHI also looks at who is paying for the services Canadians are receiving. The public sector is forecast to account for 72% of total health spending by 2022, of which the private sector accounts for 28%.

About 14% of total health spending in 2022 will be out-of-pocket costs.

From 2000-2019, the public and private divide remained fairly stable at 70% public, 30% private.


A new spending category was introduced in 2021 called COVID-19 Response Funding, which includes government-issued funding related to COVID-19 treatment, contact tracing, vaccinations, medical bills and other related costs.

In 2021, according to CIHI estimates, this category accounts for 9.9. % of total health care spending in Canada, but it is projected to account for only 4.4% of total health spending by 2022.

According to CIHI, federal, provincial and regional governments spent $29.3 billion on the pandemic in 2020, followed by about $32.5 billion in 2021.

But pandemic-related spending has halved for 2022, with governments spending only about $14.5 billion.

COVID-19 funding per person in 2022 is also expected to plummet by nearly half what it was in 2020, from $770 per person to $376.

This comes despite the total number of deaths from COVID-19 nearly doubling since last October.

According to the federal government, when looking at weekly COVID-19 cases, the top ten weeks with the largest number of hospitalizations all occurred this year, not 2020 or 2021.

And although hospitalizations have fallen since the Omicron surge in January 2022, causing the largest spike in cases in Canada during the entire pandemic, Canada still sees many hospitalizations. more this fall than last year.

According to data from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian hospitals saw an average of about 4,700 hospitalizations per day due to COVID-19 between September 15 and October 15, 2022. During the same period last year, the average was just 2,000 visits per day.

According to CIHI analysis, the largest portion of money allocated for COVID-19 Response Grants went towards the cost of COVID-19 treatment in 2022, at 34%. About 20% are included in vaccination.


Health spending varies significantly as a “per capita” figure depending on where you are in Canada due to a number of factors including salaries for healthcare professionals, services rendered and remoteness of the population. Territories have the highest medical costs per person, partly because residents are required to move elsewhere to receive specialist services.

According to CIHI, this is the predicted breakdown for 2022.

Ontario: $8,213 per person; Up 0.3%

Quebec: 8,701 USD/person; 1.8% off

Manitoba: $8,417/person; 1.0 percent off

Saskatchewan: $8,954/person; 0.03% off

Alberta: 8,545 USD/person; 3.5% off

British Columbia: 8,790 USD/person; Up 2.4%

Newfoundland and Labrador: $9,894 per person; 1.5% increase

Prince Edward Island: 8,531 USD/person; Up 2.3%

Nova Scotia: $9,536/person; 5.0 percent increase

New Brunswick: $8,010/person; Up 0.9%

Yukon: $15,884/person; 1.2 percent increase

Northwest Territories: $21,946/person; 2.3% off

Nunavut: $21,978 per person; 8.3% off

Compared to other countries, Canada has one of the higher levels of per capita health care spending. Of the 38 countries, Canada’s per capita spending in 2020 (the most recent year for which comparative data are available) is among the highest, below Germany and the Netherlands, but above Sweden and Australia. .

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