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Frequently Asked Questions

About CMA

  1. What is the ultimate governing body of the CMA?
  2. Why do you have to belong to a provincial/territorial medical association in order to become a member of the CMA?
  3. How is CMA policy arrived at?
  4. Why is the CMA presidency for just a one-year term?
  5. Why are there more CMA presidents from some provinces/territories than others?
  6. What is the governance transformation process all about?

About our partner organizations

  1. Looking for statistics on physicians?
  2. Are you looking for a doctor, or do you wish to file a complaint about a physician?
  3. Are you an international medical graduate wishing to practise in Canada?
  4. Do you have a medical question or need medical advice?

About CMA

1. What is the ultimate governing body of the CMA?

The CMA's ultimate governing and legislative authority is General Council, which meets annually in August, and whose delegates are representatives of provincial/territorial medical associations, affiliate societies and past officers of the CMA, among others. Past officers have voting rights as delegates for five years following completion of their terms of office (2009-2013 for those who could vote in August 2008, when the bylaw was changed by General Council).


2. Why do you have to belong to a provincial/territorial medical association in order to become a member of the CMA?

In order to be an effective lobbyist, the CMA believes that the lobby activities must take place at both the provincial/territorial and national levels. In addition, membership in both the provincial/territorial medical association and the CMA provides tangible, visible support for the profession as a whole, from coast to coast to coast.

Membership in the CMA complements provincial/territorial medical association membership by helping physicians meet day-to-day challenges through advocacy activities, professional development programs, publications, financial planning and practice management services.


3. How is CMA policy arrived at?

Member input is taken into consideration by the CMA Board of Directors and General Council when formulating policy, through various feedback mechanisms including CMA standing committees and special task force groups, the CMA Member e-Panel, membership baseline surveys, member outreach initiatives, focus groups and various online consultation processes.


4. Why is the CMA presidency for just a one-year term?

Serving as president of a national organization requires an enormous commitment from the individual, the individual's practice and his/her family. There are meetings, speaking engagements, conferences and other activities that swallow up huge blocks of time, made especially taxing because they happen across six time zones within Canada (more when you travel abroad). It means being away from family and practice often, which puts a strain on patients, loved ones and colleagues, so no doctor is anxious to be distanced for any longer.

As it is, the new president has already put in considerable time the preceding year as president-elect and will continue to serve for one more term as the past president — so it's at least a three-year responsibility. This helps the CMA maintain continuity, but has a strong impact on the physician's personal and professional life. And because this organization has always wanted its president to be a physician who is practising on the front lines, well aware of the joys and challenges of the current workplace and political climate, this means the job suffers — and a working doctor is virtually pulled from the roster for a sustained period. However, like academic research, we feel this serves the greater good in the long run.


5. Why are there more CMA presidents from some provinces and territories than others?

If it seems like some areas produce more CMA presidents than others, that's because it's true. It is the CMA's longstanding tradition that the province or territory scheduled to host the organization's next annual meeting and General Council, through an established divisional rotation, has the right to elect and nominate a president-elect candidate — who, if elected, would take office in the subsequent term. Nominations from the floor may also be made, but the designated division's candidate is most often chosen. The selection of the host province or territory has evolved from another tradition that reflects the CMA's status as a national organization -— rotation among five geographic regions, roughly based on proportional representation. The recognized regions are: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, , Mid-West and West.


6. What is the governance transformation process all about?

At General Council in August 2008, the CMA approved a package of changes to its governance system that fundamentally altered the association’s structure. The reform package followed an 18-month process of extensive consultation with members, and it reaffirmed and strengthened the role of General Council as the CMA’s representative and legislative body. Among the key changes were new limits to affiliate status and a smaller board of directors.


Concerning our partner organizations

7. Looking for statistics on physicians?

The CMA compiles a broad range of statistics on physicians from data collected regularly from a number of national organizations — including our own. See the CMA’s Physician Data Centre for details on physician demographics, migration, physicians in training, workload and remuneration and other related subjects.


8. Are you looking for a doctor, or do you wish to file a complaint about a physician?

The provincial/territorial colleges of physicians and surgeons register and license physicians — or in the Northwest Territories, it’s the Department of Health — and often provide information on licensed physicians accepting new patients in their respective jurisdictions. The colleges are also the disciplining bodies for physicians practising in Canada.

If you have a complaint or are seeking a personal or family doctor, contact the appropriate college or department:


9. Are you an international medical graduate wishing to practise in Canada?

The CMA does not register or license physicians, nor does it assess qualifications or coordinate residency training programs or process visa applications. If you are an International Medical Graduate, contact the Medical Council of Canada about medical qualifications and the Canadian embassy nearest you for information on immigrating to this country. See also:


10. Do you have a medical question or need medical advice?

The CMA does not comment on individual medical conditions or treatment or provide medical advice. Ask your personal physician, if you have one, or check online for a wealth of medical information — but be sure that your sources are reputable and reliable. Also see: