The Need for Hope Air’s Support

In Canada, our universal healthcare system comes with a caveat: you may need to travel great distances to reach care. With 3.2 million Canadians living below the poverty line – including 566,000 children, 191,000 single mothers and 216,000 seniors – cost is a huge barrier if you must travel to reach specialists far from home. Hope Air delivers on its promise that no one in Canada gets left behind in reaching the healthcare they need.

In Canada, more than 10 million people live outside large cities with specialized hospital care such as Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, and more than 30 per cent of the population requires a visit to a medical specialist.

If a child has cancer and needs to travel once a month for treatments several hours from home, it’s a huge burden on the family. The child must take time off school, the parent must take time off work and they both spend a lot of time away from the family. If they drive or take a bus, it can take four to 12 hours or more each way – and the discomfort and stress is intense. A cost of a flight is out of reach for those on a lower income – let alone several flights.

That’s why we provide all patients in financial need with free flights and accommodations regardless of age or illness – to make sure that all Canadians have access to healthcare.

How we help

The Canadian Medical Association has advised that a lack of access to specialists and other medically necessary services leads to delays in treatment and harm to health, including unnecessary pain and permanent disability. Cancer, for example, is the leading cause of death in Canada, and timely treatment and early detection is key to survival.

In addition, a diagnosis of a serious illness can be devastating to a patient’s mental health, and the emotional upheaval can disrupt many lives. Free medical travel from Hope Air helps provide patients with some relief in an incredibly stressful situation.

Hope Air’s programs help keep remote and smaller communities vibrant. We enable Canadians to continue to live where they choose regardless of local access to specialized medical care in their hometowns. Hope Air’s support ensures families are not forced to relocate to larger cities due to the financial burden of travelling for medical needs.

The impact

Hope Air’s travel and accommodation programs provide patients with an immediate and direct impact on their lives. As a result of Hope Air support, thousands of Canadians each year reach medical care rather than being forced to postpone or cancel medical treatments due to financial constraints.

Many of the patients we help are single-parent families, families with very ill children and children with special needs. We help children and their families travel to world-renowned children’s hospitals in large urban centres like BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary and SickKids in Toronto.

Hope Air is committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to ensure no Canadian gets left behind by helping ensure equal access to medical care and contributing to eliminating poverty, reducing inequality within our country, and ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all.

At Hope Air, we believe that every Canadian should have access to healthcare and with the support of our generous partners and supporters, we aim to reduce those barriers and the harm to patient health.

Hope is what we do.