Public Release: 

CIHR releases research results to inform the development of benchmarks for wait times

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

This press release is also available in French.

OTTAWA (November 16, 2005) - The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) released today research reports "Toward Canadian Benchmarks for Health Services Wait Times" in the areas of cancer, joint replacement and sight restoration.

CIHR, in partnership with the Provincial and Territorial Ministries of Health, funded eight Canadian research teams, based in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia that carried out research regarding wait times for three of the five priority areas established in the Ten-Year Plan to Strengthen Health Care signed during the First Ministers Meeting in Ottawa, September 2004.

The research teams synthesized Canadian and international evidence from the best available research studies to help answer two questions: (1) what does existing research say about the relationship between clinical condition, wait times and health outcomes or quality of life for individuals waiting for treatment; and (2) what are the national or international wait time benchmarks (proposed or in use) for treatment, and what research evidence (if any) are they based on.

"This research will help inform the development of evidence-based benchmarks and identify key gaps where further research is needed in order to establish new benchmarks or to modify existing benchmarks as new evidence emerges," said Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). "The reports released today provide a good starting point. CIHR plans to continue working with all levels of government and other decision-makers to support research that will help set evidence-based benchmarks for wait times."

In December, CIHR's Institute of Health Services and Policy Research intends to issue a second call for research relating to the two questions above, in the clinical priority areas not initially funded: cardiac treatment, diagnostic imaging, and other types of, or treatments for, cancer. CIHR will also continue to fund research to break new ground in the science of evaluation and management of wait times for a variety of health care conditions and health care services.


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to close to 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

The following documents are available at:

Summaries of research results on wait times for:
Joint Replacement
Sight Restoration

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