Canadian Medical Association

Ottawa (ON) – October 29, 2019 – New data released today by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) shows overwhelming support for national physician licensure. The findings, from the 2019 CMA Physician Workforce Survey, reveal that nine in 10 physicians support national licensure and three quarters agree it will improve access to care for Canadians. Nearly 7,000 physicians responded to the survey and provided input on the realities of their practice – from the potential impact of technology to working hours and patient care.

“Physicians are prepared to embrace technology to alleviate the strain on our health care system,” says Dr. Sandy Buchman, CMA president. “The potential that technology, such as virtual care, can offer to increase access to care is obvious and it’s time to put this technology to work, for all our benefit.”

Under current rules in most jurisdictions, physicians must currently be licensed in the jurisdiction where the patient they are treating resides. In order to provide care for patients in other jurisdictions, they must secure an additional license or licenses, a costly and time-consuming process that can impact access to care.

Among the report’s key findings:

National licensure:

  • Nine in 10 (91%) physicians support the implementation of national licensure that would enable them to practise in all Canadian jurisdictions.
  • Three quarters (74%) agree that a national physician license would improve access to care for Canadians.
  • 62% found that the overall complexity of the process to obtain a license was a significant obstacle to practising in another jurisdiction.
  • The length of the process (58%) and the cost of getting licensed in another province/territory (53%) were other key obstacles.

Access to technology:

  • More and more physicians are now reporting the use of technology in their practices, including increased online access to lab test and diagnostic results (87%), and lists of medications taken by patients (72%). 63% are ordering lab and diagnostic tests electronically.
  • One in five patients (22%) are now able to view their health records online.
  • More patients than ever are also able to book appointments online (13%).

The 2019 CMA Physician Workforce Survey was conducted between March and May 2019. 6,762 physicians responded and the survey results are considered accurate to within 1.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.