Canadian Medical Association

Physician Changemakers

Dr Katharine Smart

Dr. Katharine Smart

It is a situation every physician dreads — treating a critically-ill patient and realizing the necessary medical resources are not available. For Whitehorse pediatrician Dr. Katharine Smart, working with marginalized groups in under-resourced communities has shaped her commitment to improving health equity.

Dr. Katharine Smart's full story

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Waiting room

2019 Ipsos survey

6 in 10

Canadians worry a great deal about the shortage of health professionals, including family physicians

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Statistics Canada Canadian Community Health Survey 2018


of the population aged 12 years and older does not have a regular health provider (family doctor, medical specialist or nurse practitioner)

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2020 Deloitte report, Clearing the Backlog


is the minimum funding increase provinces require — over current baseline costs — to return wait times for six key procedures to pre-pandemic levels, within one year.

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2017 CMA Physician Workforce Survey


of surgeons are unsatisfied with the amount of access they get to operating rooms to care for their patients

CMA activity and submissions


May 9, 2022

Appearance before House of Commons committee to address the health human resources emergency

CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart appears before the Standing Committee on Health to highlight potential actions that would help mitigate Canada’s health human resources crisis, reduce surgical backlogs, expand access to primary care, and more.

May 3, 2022

​​​​​​​Appearance before House of Commons committee to discuss the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program

In his remarks before the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, CMA President-Elect Dr. Alika Lafontaine explains how improving the administration of the NIHB program is a key part of addressing the health inequities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.

April 14, 2022

CMA submission: Recommendations to address the health human resources crisis

In this submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, the CMA and Canadian Nurses Association — in partnership with the College of Family Physicians of Canada — outline eight policy pillars critical in alleviating the health human resources crisis.

March 28, 2022

Appearance before House of Commons committee to discuss health workforce crisis

CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart appears before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities to highlight the need for strategic federal investments to support rebuilding health care delivery in Canada.

February 16, 2022

Appearance before House of Commons committee to study Canada’s health workforce

CMA President Dr. Katharine Smart appears before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health to welcome a study on Canada’s health workforce. In her remarks, she explains physician burnout is at an all-time high and the health workforce is in the midst of a crisis.

February 15, 2022

CMA 2022 pre-budget submission: Addressing Canada’s health care crisis

In this submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the CMA proposes recommendations to tackle Canada’s health care crisis and create a foundation for a stronger health care system in the future. Recommendations include investing in health workforce planning, increasing access to primary care and addressing surgical backlogs. 

February 11, 2022

Virtual care in Canada: progress and potential (Report of the Virtual Care Task Force)

Based on its review of developments in virtual care since the release of its 2020 report and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the task force re-emphasizes two of its initial recommendations and puts forward four new ones for how to optimally incorporate virtual care into the Canadian health system.

February 2, 2022

CMA submission: Advancing pan-Canadian licensure

This document provides federal policy options to advance pan-Canadian licensure by reducing interprovincial and interterritorial barriers.

November 30, 2021

Understanding the health care impacts of the pandemic

A new study commissioned by the CMA provides evidence of the broader health impacts of the pandemic and the  backlog in procedures to inform policymakers and the federal government about the actions and funding required to alleviate them.

November 9, 2021

Canada’s doctors and nurses urgently calling for federal measures to address Canada’s health workforce crisis

In this joint letter to the prime minister, the CMA and Canadian Nurses Association urge the federal government to follow through on its health commitments, including actions to improve access to primary, mental health and long-term care, eliminate health system waitlists and protect health workers from harassment.

August 5, 2021

CMA 2022 Pre-Budget Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

This submission proposes recommendations to reimagine Canada’s health systems as part of its COVID-19 pandemic recovery, including increasing the Canada Health Transfer, enabling access to primary care, increasing public health capacity, establishing an older adults care benefit and reducing interprovincial mobility barriers for health professionals.

June 29, 2021

CMA endorses recommendations for equity

This report from Health Canada’s Task Team on Equitable Access to Virtual Care created principle-based recommendations to help promote digital health equity in publicly funded health care.

June 24, 2021

CMA Letter - Bill C-30 Implementation

Bill C-30, the 2021 Budget Implementation Act, included a key CMA recommendation to introduce additional investments to the Canada Health Transfer to support provinces and territories in rebuilding the country’s health care system after the COVID-19 pandemic.

June 23, 2021

CMA submission: The Future of Care for Canada’s Older Adults

In this submission to a parliamentary committee, the CMA outlines recommendations to improve care for older adults, including sustained funding for health care, national standards in long-term care, supports for aging in place and a Seniors Care Benefit.

May 26, 2021

National Approach to Licensure

This joint letter to provincial and territorial health ministers makes the case for a national approach to licensure, underscoring the state of crisis of the health care system and the need to address the mobility of heath care professionals across jurisdictions to improve access to care.

May 20, 2021

Appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance Bill C-30: The Budget Implementation Act, 2021

In her remarks, CMA President Dr. Ann Collins urges the committee to include $1.2 billion of funding over four years in Budget 2021 to expand the establishment of primary care teams and enhance equitable access to care for Canadians across the country.

April 23, 2021

Appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health: Study on the Emergency Situation Facing Canadians in Light of the COVID-19 Pandemic

CMA President Dr. Ann Collins calls for continued collaboration between federal, provincial and territorial governments in responding to the pandemic, and for additional resources to bolster the weakened health care system, including to expand primary care.

April 21, 2021

CMA endorses approach to patient transfers in rural and remote Canada

This Call to Action — authored by a committee formed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada — highlights the need to develop standards and protocols to improve patient transfers in rural and remote communities.

November 30, 2020

Committee Appearance: House of Commons Standing Committee on Health (HESA)

CMA President Dr. Ann Collins calls on government and health authorities to protect Canadians and care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by enhancing access to mental health resources, addressing backlogs in medical services, expanding primary care teams and boosting public health capacity.

October 26, 2020

Clearing the Backlog: The Cost to Return Wait Times to Pre-Pandemic Levels

This Deloitte report — commissioned by the CMA — examined the pre-pandemic wait times for six procedures accounting for 80% of the diagnostic and surgical care in Canadian hospitals. It estimates more than $1.3B is needed to clear the backlog caused by COVID-19 and bring wait times back to pre-pandemic levels within one year.  

September 29, 2020

CMA submission: Valuing caregivers and recognizing their contribution to Quebec’s health system

In this submission to the National Assembly review of Bill 56, on the role of caregivers in Quebec, the CMA makes several recommendations to support their critical work by expanding tax credits and training for caregivers and improving access to virtual care.

August 27, 2020

Recommendations for Canada’s long-term recovery plan - open letter

This joint letter to the prime minister outlines a series of recommendations to address gaps exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in areas such as virtual care, support for older adults, Canada’s National Anti-Racism Strategy, primary care, pharmacare and mental health resources for health care professionals.

August 7, 2020

CMA pre-budget submission

This submission proposes recommendations to expand public health capacity and primary care access; scaling up virtual care and addressing inequities in access to digital health services; ensuring better care is secured for seniors; and mitigating the risks and financial burdens experienced by physicians and front-line health care workers.

March 16, 2020

CMA recommendations for emergency federal measures to care for and protect Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic

In this submission to the finance minister, the CMA recommends the federal government implement six priority measures to support the domestic response to the COVID-19 pandemic

February 25, 2020

2020 pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee

This submission proposes a one-time fund of $1.2 billion over four years to help establish models of primary care in each province and territory

August 2, 2019

CMA submission: Acting on Today’s and Tomorrow’s Health Care Needs

The CMA’s pre-budget submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance provides recommendations to improve access to primary care, better prepare for and mitigate the health impacts of a changing climate, and more

May 13, 2019

CMA report: Regional Member Forums

A summary of the CMA’s cross-country meetings with members, along with online discussions, touching on the need for a national approach to health human resource planning and more

May 8, 2019

CMA commissioned survey: Canadians’ health care concerns

Polling results reveal Canadians’ biggest concerns with the health care system, including wait times, a shortage of health professionals and overcrowded hospitals

March 2, 2019

CMA endorses “A New Vision for Canada: Family Practice − The Patient's Medical Home 2019”

This report from the College of Family Physicians of Canada is intended to guide governments and policy-makers on structuring a primary health care system to best meet the needs of Canadians

January 31, 2019

CMA statement on report from Ontario Premier’s Council on Improving Healthcare and Ending Hallway Medicine

The CMA responds to the council’s report on needed improvements to the health care system, underscoring the inequities facing at-risk populations, rural and remote Canadians, and seniors

May 25, 2018

CMA letter to Ontario political party leaders

The CMA calls on leaders to take action to reduce wait times and address the growing number of Canadian medical graduates without residency training positions

November 14, 2017

CMA statement on reducing number of unmatched medical students in Canada

The CMA supports actions by the Canadian Deans of Medicine to reduce the number of unmatched Canadian medical graduates and improve flexibility for medical resident transfers

May 20, 2016

Joint CMA & Canadian Psychiatric Association policy: Access to mental health care

The CMA and Canadian Psychiatric Association provide a series of recommendations for stakeholders and governments to ensure Canadians have timely access to mental health treatment and support

May 12, 2016

CMA submission: Reducing barriers to physician mobility and for a more uniformed health care system in Canada

The CMA puts forward a series of recommendations for the federal government to help reduce barriers to mobility of physicians and enhance uniform access to care

March 25, 2015

Accessibility: the solution lies in cooperation

A joint brief from the CMA and the Québec Medical Association on improving access to health care in the province of Quebec

October 25, 2014

Streamlining patient flow from primary to specialty care: a critical requirement for improved access to specialty care

This CMA policy outlines existing challenges and identifies solutions to facilitate appropriate, timely and informative communication between referring physicians and consulting specialists

May 24, 2014

Management of physician fatigue

This CMA policy explores the impact of physician fatigue on patient care, and the need for strategies to help address it at the individual, organizational and system level

May 9, 2012

CMA submission: A Doctor for Every Canadian − Better Planning for Canada's Health Human Resources

The CMA underscores the need for a pan-Canadian approach to ensure adequate health human resources, in support of a sustainable health care system

October 23, 2011

Principles for health system governance

This CMA policy provides principles and recommendations for developing, implementing and evaluating health system governance models to help deliver high quality care

Tools & Resources


2019 CMA Physician Workforce Survey results

The survey collected information from physicians on workload, practice settings, remuneration methods, waiting times, use of information technology, employment and more


A snapshot of Canada’s physicians: Facts and statistics

Everything from the number of physicians working in Canada, to demographics and specialty numbers, workload and remuneration

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