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Women to account for half of Canada's MDs by 2030

What will Canada's medical workforce look like in 20 years?

Based on a model developed by the CMA, it will look much like it does now, except there will be more physicians, they will be younger, and more of them will be women.

The model used existing data in areas such as MD retirement rates, Canada's production of new physicians and emigration flows to develop projections about changes in Canada's physician population between 2013 and 2030. The model was created by the CMA's Canadian Collaborative Centre for Physician Resources (C3PR). It employs a status quo scenario in which rates of graduation, attrition and other factors that affect health human resources continue at their current pace.

The model points to steady, incremental growth in the physician population, and projects that Canada will have 102,270 licensed physicians in 2030, compared with 74,526 today.

Although growth in the physician supply is projected to continue at existing rates, one major change will accompany the expansion - by 2030, half of Canada's practising physicians are projected to be women, compared with 37% today.

The model outline notes that this change is not expected to affect productivity: "The gap between the hours worked by females and males is narrowing, so the fact that the proportion of female physicians is increasing does not appear to have a huge effect on the number of full-time equivalent physicians."

The proportion of physicians over age 55 is also projected to decrease gradually, from 39% today to 36% in 2030.

The CMA created C3PR to provide national leadership in the development of standardized methodologies and approaches to describing and measuring physician resources in Canada.

See: National physician supply projections to the year 2030

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.