"I spent nine years looking for a doctor": exploring access to health care among immigrants in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Soc Sci Med. 2008 Mar;66(6):1271-83. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.043. Epub 2008 Jan 14.


There is a growing body of research in Canada and from other countries acknowledging that immigrants face barriers in accessing health care services. As immigrants make up an increasing percentage of the population in many developed nations, a better understanding and eliminating these barriers is a major priority. This research contributes to current understandings of access among immigrant populations in Canada by exploring perceptions of access to care through focus groups with a diverse group of immigrants living in a Mississauga, Ontario neighbourhood. The results of eight focus groups reveal that immigrants face geographic, socio-cultural and economic barriers when attempting to access health care services in their community. This paper provides policy recommendations relevant to the federal, provincial and local levels for eliminating these barriers.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada
  • Communication Barriers
  • Cultural Competency
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Ontario
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Universal Health Insurance
  • Urban Health