Ontario Wait Times for Weight Loss Surgery

Question Below Submitted By:  

Linda H. (a patient from Ontario, Canada)

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 name was added to their list I had actually made it to #3 in the list of people to be called in Hamilton.

My name went to the BOTTOM of the list when it was sent to Ottawa. Fortunately when I had heard Ottawa was accepting patients I had my doctor refer me there in Feb of 2010. I had my first contact with them at the end of November and that was just for a information session with approx 15-20 other people.

By my calculations that’s 9 months before 1st contact. Since
then I’ve been making multiple trips to Ottawa for appointments that could have been done either by phone or at my own doctor’s office (ex: blood work and dietitian). All these trips have cost ME days off work (loss of income), time,
and expensive GAS! And all this with NO guarantee the surgeon w
ill accept me when and if I ever do get to see him or her.

If I could afford it I’d go to the U.S. or any other country and get it done in a much more timely fashion.

Related: Bariatric Surgery Canada


Patient Responses to the Question Above

Update to post

by: Linda H.

I should also mention that whenever I suggested to Ottawa that things such as the blood work or dietitian appointment could have been done in Kingston (where I work at the local hospital), their answer was that their people are bariatric trained.

I will say though I was able to do the social worker interview by telephone, which was very much appreciated.

They've now deemed I need to see their psychologist in July (another delay and day off work).

The compromise is 3 hrs with the psychologist in the morning and the education class (3 hrs) in the afternoon - still with no guarantee of acceptance.

At least it's only one day off work with loss of income and spending gas.

I'm going through the EXACT same thing...

by: Anonymous

Aside from the part about Hamilton, my situation is the same.

I even worked at HDH in Kingston for 5 years before my back pain became unmanageable.

Now I live on a meager (especially in comparison to the OPSEU wages I WAS getting) ODSP income.

The $700 it's cost me in the last 10 months has put a serious strain on my budget AND my back. Sometimes I get the feeling that the decision to deny me the surgery was made months ago, but they continue to go through the motions so that it SEEMS like serious consideration was given to your case before you were declared an unsuitable candidate for surgery...maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Up date

by: Linda H

Let's see-I've pretty well given up on Ottawa.

They insisted I have two heart tests, which after my taking a firm stand, the types were changed and done here in Kingston.

OH MY breaking NEWS!!!!Kingston can do heart testing!!! DUH.

They also conveniently insisted on a colonoscopy, which to make them happy I had done in Sept 2011. A polop was found and now it isn't scheduled to be removed until May of 2012.

Even though the physcian who did the colonoscopy said A: it was NOT cancerous and B: it should not interfere with a bypass.

You guessed it-Ottawa says no way until it's out-another delaying tactic.

As I was STUPID enough to buy the OPTIFAST the last time I was in Ottawa I'm now trying to sell it before it expires in Nov.

I've been told they will reimburse me if I spend my time and gas to bring it back to them.

I have it listed on Kijijji.

There is one slightly bright light at the end of the tunnel-there are rumours that the HDH in Kingston will be starting a bariatric program.

I'm just waiting to find out when and who to send a referral to.

I've also had my doctor refer me to as I told Ottawa, a COMPETENT hospital that will actually DO the procedure!

Rules Ignored by the Clinics.

by: Anonymous

I would really like to know why and how Windsor can make up their own rules on who is accepted into the program. For instance, I had my meeting last week and I was dismissed from the program because I have only stopped smoking for a month and 3 days. They said that I have to be 3 months smoke-free to be in the program.

However, they obviously have not read the powerpoint put out by the government stating that you only must be smoke-free for 6 months before surgery takes place. So how is that at my very first appointment I was dismissed from the program, it is not like I am going to get surgery within the next 6 months as I have also heard that Guelph is backed up 6-9 months?

Yes, I am very upset because I had to take a day off from my temp job, drive for 5 hours and waste gas money. I actually wonder what the Canadian Government thinks about their rules and regulations around this surgery being ignored.

Great experience

by: Georgette

I am post op.

it was around 15 months of a process before I had surgery.

Would not change it for the world.

Life post op is very challenging.

You have to prepare yourself on all levels.

The time and process with the Windsor centre allowed mores to build up info about all aspects and prepared me in all respects.

It isn't a race to surgery and you only get one chance to succeed.

Having a patient attitude really helped me learn about myself and to get some counseling for what was making me fat in the first place. The care I received in Guelph was fantastic.

My sister in new Brunswick has been waiting 6 plus years for surgery.

My friend in the USA was turned down by her insurance company. Thank god live in Ontario.

Extremely happy

by: Anonymous

My first appointment with Guelph was in October 2011. I went through the stages of blood work and dietitians.

I just had my surgery September 28! So my process was less than a year. I am extremely happy I had to do the counseling and that so I am prepared to manage such a huge life changing process!! Well worth the wait! The staff in Guelph was extremely supportive and the nurses at the hospital were amazing!

I only hope that other people get as much support as I did from their clinic! My mind and attitude are in a much better way...

Try BC... not

by: Anonymous

I live in victoria BC and have been trying to get my surgery since 2004.

I was originall turned down because I didn't fit the surgeons criteria..."running/walking 25K marathons"... if I could do that wouldn't need the surgery! DUH2010 - 40 more pounds later finally get back into a surgeon, and am told absolutely.

Start going through the process and keep being told I'm getting closer then... BAM! sorry VIHA and BC Health have reduced surgeries and are trying to catch up on one of the surgeons (there are 3 or should I say were 3) back log. It's now going on to 2013 and I've done everything! Gained more weight due to all the crap leading to severe depression. Now I'm told my Dr. has decided to no longer practice bariatric surgery (except lap bands where he can do privately and get paid) because he is tired of being yelled at, people pleading in his office and being frustrated because he can't do anything to help and practice what he went to school to do.

So now I'm being put onto the other surgeon and get to start all over again.

He is working on his patient list from 2007! I'm 50 and I will literally be dead by the time my name comes up in this lottery.


by: Anonymous

I submitted my requisition to my family doctor almost 3 years ago. It took one year for me to receive a letter from the bariatric Center in Hamilton to let me know they received my application and they would be sending me a date and time for my orientation meeting.

I thought that would be in a couple of monthsbut instead I waited another year. After getting in for my orientation meeting they told me that things will move quite quickly.

I waited almost one full year to finally get in for my appointment. I had my first two appointments on the same date meeting with a dietitian and the nurse. After that appointment they booked me in three weeks later to meet with the internist and social worker. He told me after that appointment it takes two weeks after that to meet the surgeon. (providing I have met all the qualifications which I have so far). All the ladies at the reception desk informed me that once I see the surgeon I should have my surgery about three weeks after that.

So it seems as soon as my appointment started things progressed very quickly. Almost with lightning speed. Hoping to have my surgery by the end of May.

wait time

by: Heather

From start to finish I was 16 months until I had surgery. I was 4 months from initial referral until the orientation, then one year of appointments, blood work, and various other tests until surgery.

Surgery was at Toronto Western performed by Dr. Penner who did an amazing job along with his team. Majority of the organization was all done through Sudbury Bariatric Team. My only appointment in Toronto was the surgery itself. For the next 5 years Sudbury Bariatric Team will continue to follow me and provide support and service.

Find right Doctor

by: Lisa

I live in the GTA in Ontario. I am obese according to my BMI. I have been to many family doctors I am at risk of diabetes and need a dramatic change. My weight has brought me many problems.

Although I have been to many doctors, no one is flexible enough to refer me to Bariatric Surgery. They send me to many different dietitians (none work) they have prescribed me pills for weight loss and it doesn't work. Blood work came out great, there is no illness that could impede me from losing weight. Even though this surgery is my last resource, no Doctor wants to give me a referral to surgery.

Please, anyone, help me find the right family doctor that will listen and help me out.

Hamilton Bariatric wait

by: Anonymous

I've been waiting 2 years now which is crazy negligent, irresponsible and definitely unacceptable. It took 6 months from family doctor referral to initiation meeting; contacted a year later and told that everything will go quickly after that, but 7 months later....still waiting and pretty much in need of a scooter now because of mobility.

My diabetes is getting worse, every day of waiting is more damage to my internal organs, etc. It's disgusting. Advice: seek the surgery out sooner than later. If you are willing to do the surgery and your doctor says you are pre-diabetic, get on that list. I've been told the longer you have diabetes the less likely it will go into remission after surgery. The 2 year wait is pretty much a death sentence. To discover that so many people face the same wait time is (disgustingly) enlightening bc I thought it was only me. How awful.

Multiple trips and bloodwork

by: Penny Crossman

I too, went through numerous trips and yes, complained. I found later, they like to do their own blood work as some of the local blood labs aren't always as accurate.

I was rather glad there weren't too many hands in the cookie jar so to speak. Bottom line how much did your surgery cost? $0.00.

So really gas and a few hours out of your day is a small price to pay. I'm 1 1/2 post op and sooooo happy I made the trips. I now am not paying for the numerous prescriptions I used to take.

My BMI is where it should be and my blood pressure is not having to be controlled with pills. You really need to look at the big picture not just the here and now. Kudos to Hotel Dieu and the fantastic program they have. I would do it all over again.

Looking for optifast

by: Koko

Any extra optifast anyone? I am looking for it. Thank you

Click here to see more patient comments

Click here to add your own response

Share Your Comments

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


[ Last editorial review/modification of this page : 05/21/2021 ]

* Disclaimers: Content: The information contained in this website is provided for general information purposes and your specific results may vary depending on a variety of circumstances. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her existing physician(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. Advertising: Bariatric Surgery Source, LLC has entered into referral and advertising arrangements with certain medical practices, original equipment manufacturers, and financial companies under which we receive compensation (in the form of flat fees per qualifying action) when you click on links to our partners and/or submit information. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Read More

Request a Free Insurance Check

Fill out the below form for a free insurance check performed in partnership with your local bariatric surgeon.


Los Angeles/Orange County