Provincial Summary

In April 2008, the government announced that reducing wait times in emergency rooms and improving access to family health care are its two most important health care priorities over the next four years. Currently, 128 hospital sites across Ontario are submitting ER information to the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) for reporting on this website. This represents 90 percent of ER visits throughout the province.

The amount of time a patient spends in the Emergency Room is referred to as “Total Time Spent in the ER” and is measured from the time patients register or initially see a triage nurse, until the time they leave the ER. The time patients leave the ER may be when they are sent home after being treated or when they are admitted to a hospital bed, if medically necessary.

The data which is captured in the NACRS will help patients get a sense of how long they can expect to spend in an ER and why. Additionally, it will help the health care system monitor its progress in improving emergency room performance across the province.

Progress on Time Spent in ER


Time Spent in ER measured by subtracting the triage time or registration time from "time patient left ER" and is the maximum amount of time in which 9 out of 10 patients have completed their ER visit.
The data in the table below is based on ER visits completed for the most current time period at the 128 hospital sites across Ontario that are submitting ER data to the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS). The table shows an analysis between the current total time spent in ER versus the baseline total time spent in ER as well as a comparison against provincial targets where applicable.

LEGEND: Significant Decrease No Significant Change Significant Increase
NOTE: Significant change is defined as +/- 10%
Time Spent in the Emergency Room (9 out of 10 patients)
Type of ER Visits Baseline
Current (Hours)
July 2018
Target (Hours) ER Visits % of
Visits Within Target
Current vs. Baseline
Volume % of
% Change
Complex conditions /requiring more time for diagnosis, treatment or hospital bed admission14.010.38.03229596885-3.7-26.4
Admitted Patients36.430.1454271037-6.3-17.2
Non-Admitted Patients8.57.02775325993-1.5-17.5
Minor or uncomplicated conditions /requiring less time for diagnosis, treatment or observation4.84.64.0149417
1. Baseline Time Spent in ER is based on April 2008 data.
2. The total percentages may not add up to 100% due to missing data elements and/or rounding.
Please note: The baseline (April 2008) results have been updated to address a data quality issue that occurred in an organization and has since been resolved. This change request was approved by the Data Certification Council in September 2009.

Please click here to see data by Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS).