Bariatric Surgery Canada: Wait Times, Insurance & Surgeon Listing

Reviewed & Updated By: Dr. Chris Cobourn

There are many experienced and well qualified surgeons for bariatric surgery in Canada. But if you want insurance to pay, the wait times are likely to be frustrating.

Fortunately, you do have 2 viable options if you don't want to wait. This page will cover all of the above, including...

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How to Qualify

In Canada, like most other countries, you must have a certain Body Mass Index (BMI) to qualify for bariatric surgery...

If your BMI is...

  • Over 40 or
  • Between 35 and 40 with a disabling weight related health issue (like type II diabetes)

...you should qualify for the common bariatric procedure in Canada.

Some surgeons also perform the intragastric balloon procedure (gastric balloon), a nonsurgical procedure, for anyone with a BMI over 27.

Insurance Coverage Details By Province for Bariatric Surgery Canada

Currently both the Gastric Sleeve and Gastric Bypass procedures are covered in almost all of Canada. Some provinces may cover Lap Band surgery, but the wait lists can be very long (5 to 10 years).

The relatively new and non-invasive intragastric balloon (gastric balloon) is also being performed more frequently even though insurance does not cover it.

Regarding wait times, the average for weight loss surgery in Canada is 5 years according to a study conducted by a surgeon at the McGill University Health Centre1, but some provinces have approved patients within a much shorter period of time.

If you don't want to wait, you have two options:

  1. Insurance may pay for you to have gastric bypass surgery outside of your province, although most provinces will not cover any expenses other than the surgery itself.
  2. Finance bariatric surgery on your own and receive treatment in a private facility. You won't be alone: public facilities only perform about one-third of all bariatric surgeries in Canada, while private-pay clinics account for the remaining two-thirds.1

Following are the insurance weight loss surgery and wait time details by province. Click your province's name to jump down to the province's directory of surgeons (provinces without links don't have surgeons listed)...

Following are the insurance weight loss surgery and wait time details by province.

Click your province's name to jump down to the province's directory of surgeons (provinces without links don't have surgeons listed)...

Province
Province
Newfoundland and Labrador (no surgeons listed)
Newfoundland and Labrador (no surgeons listed)
Nova Scotia (no surgeons listed)
Nova Scotia (no surgeons listed)
Prince Edward Island (no surgeons listed)
Prince Edward Island (no surgeons listed)
Province
Procedures covered by health insurance
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Band
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Band (all types covered, but not all are preformed in provice)
Newfoundland and Labrador (no surgeons listed)
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Band
Nova Scotia (no surgeons listed)
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Prince Edward Island (no surgeons listed)
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass (covered, but performed out of province)
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Gastric Band
Gastric Sleeve
Gastric Bypass
Province
Estimated waiting time at public facilities
7 to 10 years
3 to 5 years
Not available in province
3 to 5 years
Newfoundland and Labrador (no surgeons listed)
n/a (no bariatric surgeons in province)
Nova Scotia (no surgeons listed)
3 to 5 years
Initial appointment: 6 months to 1 year
Surgery: 2 to 3 years
Prince Edward Island (no surgeons listed)
n/a (no bariatric surgeons in province)
3 to 15 years
2 to 3 years
Province
Will province pay to have treatment elsewhere?
No
Emergency cases
Yes - Limited numbers
Newfoundland and Labrador (no surgeons listed)
Yes - Limited numbers
Nova Scotia (no surgeons listed)
Emergency cases
No
Prince Edward Island (no surgeons listed)
Yes - Limited numbers
No
Emergency cases

If you are looking for help paying for your surgery outside of insurance, Canada also has generous medical tax deductions, especially compared to other countries. As long as you can substantiate your gastric-sleeve-related expenses with a prescription, receipt, or other documentation, you should be able to write them off.

Further, if you have surgery covered by insurance, you can still deduct your out of pocket expenses along with your monthly insurance premium.

If your income is below a certain threshold, you may qualify for a tax credit called the refundable medical expense supplement.4 5

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About Smartshape Weight Loss Centre (SWLC)

Led by a team of Canada’s leading bariatric surgeons, the SmartShape Weight Loss Centre surgeons have a combined experience of over 40 years in advanced laparoscopic procedures.

With locations throughout Canada, the SWLC team is staffed by seven bariatric surgeons, clinical nurse specialists, patient coordinators, a registered dietician, a certified wellness coach and one of Canada’s only certified bariatric nurse specialists.

Click here for more information.

Self-Pay Costs for Canada Weight Loss Surgery by Province

Following were the results of our most recent Canadian Weight Loss Surgery Cost Survey. Only two provinces - BC and Quebec - have enough surgeons offering self-pay packages to develop an average cost...

If you're unable to view the map above, the following table summarizes the bariatric surgery cost data for Canada...

Region Region
Procedure Procedure
Average Cost Average Cost
Region BRITISH COLUMBIA
Procedure Lap Band
Average Cost $16,443
Region QUEBEC
Procedure Gastric Bypass
Average Cost $20,125
Region QUEBEC
Procedure Gastric Sleeve
Average Cost $19,625
Region QUEBEC
Procedure Lap Band
Average Cost $18,750

Exact Quote for You

Click here to find a top surgeon near you. Their office will be able to provide you with a more exact quote.

When contacting your local surgeon, ask about financing options, a free insurance check (if you have insurance) and how to sign up for their free local seminar.

Note: Prices listed above are averages; surgeons may charge higher or lower prices.

Bariatric Surgery Canada Provider Directory

If you are looking to speak to a bariatric surgeon directly, we partner with many top practices throughout Canada. Also, if you are close to the U.S. border or are willing to travel for surgery, you can search the United States bariatric surgeon directory. Click on one of the links below to jump straight to the list of our surgeons in these specific provinces...

Also keep in mind, before moving forward with any Canadian surgeon, be sure they are a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). According to the RCPSC...

"Fellows are specialists certified by the Royal College after they successfully complete our rigorous national certification examination in a medical or surgical specialty."

Click here to search your surgeon's name in the RCPSC database.

Having (or had) weight loss surgery in Canada?

Please share your Canada weight loss surgery experiences below!

Disclaimer: Bariatric Surgery Source is not responsible for the content of the sites we link to or the services offered by their organizations. The inclusion of the information below does not necessarily imply or express endorsement or sponsorship of the sites, their website's content or their services. The accuracy of the below information is not guaranteed and is subject to change.

Please scroll down to see our full list of Canadian providers (please note: provinces not included have no listed surgeons)...

Alberta

British Columbia

Manitoba

New Brunswick

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Ontario

Quebec

Saskatchewan

Receive obesity surgery in Canada? Please share your experiences and advice

Long wait times and deciding between private and public bariatric treatment in Canada make the decision to move forward with surgery all the more daunting.

Please help other visitors like you by sharing your experiences, thoughts or advice, such as...

- A review of your surgeon, their team and their facilities
- How you paid for surgery
- How long you had to wait
- What you did to get surgery approved
- Anything else you think is important to know!

Canada obesity surgery experiences from other visitors

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Ottowa Hospital - My Weight Loss Surgery Experience So Far 
Anyone thinking of going to the Ottawa Hospital for gastric bypass surgery--think again! Originally in 2009, I had been referred to Hamilton for the …

Gastric Bypass Surgery in New Brunswick, Canada 
When I first mentioned having gastric bypass surgery done to my family physician in Canada, he didn't know the first thing about how to begin the process. …

Ontario Wait Times for Weight Loss Surgery 
I was originally on a list in Hamilton and waited at least 1 year before Ontario came up with more money and my name was sent to Ottawa. By the time my …

Alberta Lap Band Surgery 
I want to have lap band surgery, but at a public clinic . I understand in Alberta the surgery is covered by Health Care. I don't know how I am really supposed …

Ontario- Lapband 
Not worth the money!!! In 2003, I paid $15,000, drove to Montreal (because SARS made it impossible to have the surgery in Scarborough Grace as planned) …

Would liver disease because of weight be considered more urgent than other health issues? 
I have been diagnosed with liver disease and the only way to repair it is to lose weight. I have fought my weight all my life so I am scared. My doctor …

Click here to write your own.

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References

  1. Hodges, David. Obesity: Not sexy enough to treat? The Medical Post. Apr 2009.
  2. Obesity Surgery: Availability Across the Country. CBC News. Available at:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map-obesitysurgery/. Accessed Feb 24, 2010.
  3. "Growing demand for bariatric surgery challenges... - CIHI."2015. 22 Apr. 2016
    https://www.cihi.ca/en/growing-demand-for-bariatric-surgery-challenges-patients-system
  4. "Line 452 - Refundable medical expense supplement." 2008. 22 Apr. 2016
    http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns409-485/452-eng.html
  5. "Allowable Medical Expenses on a Tax Return - TurboTax." 2014. 22 Apr. 2016
    https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax-resources/tax-deductions/allowable-medical-expenses-on-a-tax-return.jsp
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