Basic physician facts
Canadian Physician Resources ─ 2017 basic facts
- Number of active physicians (excluding residents) as of January, 2017 = 83,1591.
- There are 2.28 physicians per 1,000 population2.
1CMA Masterfile, January 2017, Canadian Medical Association
2Supply, Distribution and Migration of Canadian Physicians, 2015, Canadian Institute for Health Information
- 52% are family physicians; 48% are specialists of other disciplines.
- 40% (32,883) are aged 55 or older.
- 41% are female; 59% are male. Two thirds (64%) of family physicians under age 35 are female.
- 75% graduated from a Canadian medical school, 22% graduated from a foreign medical school, 3% not stated.
Source: CMA Masterfile, January 2017, Canadian Medical Association
- Less than 8%3 of physicians practise in rural areas whereas about 19%4 of Canadians live in rural areas. The figure for family physicians is 14% compared to 2% of specialists3.
- There is a higher concentration of foreign medical graduates in Saskatchewan (53% of all physicians) and Newfoundland (38%) than in provinces such as Quebec where only 9% graduated outside Canada5.
- 74% of Canadian graduates practise in the province where they graduated. Graduate retention figures range from 39% in Nova Scotia to 85% in Quebec5.
3CMA Postal Code file, January 2015, Canadian Medical Association
42011 Census of Population, Statistics Canada
5CMA Masterfile, January 2016, Canadian Medical Association
Physicians in training
- First year enrolment in undergraduate medical schools in 2015/16 was 2,919. This is an 85% increase since 1997/986.
- 53% of first year medical students in 2015/16 were female; 47% were male.
- Total enrolment in 2015/16 was 11,685; number of graduates in 2016 was estimated at 2,8536.
- Number of residents in postgraduate programs in 2015/16 was 16,200. Of these, 12,841 were Ministry-funded positions (3,370 at PGY-1); 1,867 were International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and 10,974 were Graduates of Canadian Medical Schools (GCMSs)7.
- The practice entry cohort in 2015 was 3,204. This excludes visa trainees and re-entry trainees7.
6Canadian Medical Education Statistics 2016, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada
72015-2016 CAPER Annual Census of Post-MD Trainees, Canadian Post-M.D. Education Registry
- In 2016 there were 2,833 GCMS matched to residency positions.
- 92% of GCMS participating in the match got one of their top three choices in the first iteration.
- 36.2% of Canadian grads made family medicine their first choice.
- There were 1815 IMGs (excluding IMGs from the USA) participating in the match (mostly in a parallel process). By the end of second round, 408 had Ministry funded residency positions.
Source: CaRMS Match Results 2016, Canadian Resident Matching Service
- 162 physicians moved abroad in 2015. In the same year, 272 returned from abroad for a net gain of 110.
- 739 physicians moved to another province/territory in 2015 (excl. residents). Net gains occurred in PE(2), QC (10), MB (3), SK(3) and BC (38).
Source: Supply, Distribution and Migration of Canadian Physicians, 2015, Canadian Institute for Health Information
- Canada has 2.6 physicians per 1,000 population (including residents) compared to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 3.3 (2014 or nearest year).
- Canada’s phys/pop ratio ranks 28 out of 35 nations ahead of the US, Japan, Poland, Mexico, Korea, Chile and Turkey.
Source: Health Statistics 2016, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
CMA Physician Data Centre
Canadian Medical Association
Updated March, 2017