Canadian Medical Association

In 2019, physicians’ offices employed more than 289,000 Canadians directly and indirectly, according to a report published today by The Conference Board of Canada. The economic contributions of physicians’ offices, which includes employment, purchases of goods and services, contributed $39.5 billion to Canada’s economy in 2019. 

“In addition to providing core health infrastructure, physicians' offices are a key component of Canada's economy making significant contributions to the communities in which they operate and to the country as a whole”, says Dr. Ann Collins, President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). “Considering the impacts of the pandemic, CMA has welcomed measures by governments to ensure the stability of physicians’ practices through this unprecedented time. We continue to encourage such measures be made available to physician practices, recognizing their dual contribution to the health of Canadians and to the economy.”

The report, The Economic Influence of Physicians’ Offices, was funded by CMA to provide an economic assessment of physicians’ offices in Canada.

Greg Hermus, Principle Economist at The Conference Board of Canada and lead researcher of the report, says “The report highlights the economic contributions made by physicians practising out of an office setting in 2019, and the vulnerability of those contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Key findings:

  • There were 46,934 physicians’ offices across the country in 2019, which directly employed 167,000 Canadians—more than telecommunications, utilities, legal services, the postal service, couriers and messengers.
  • For every physician employed, a further 1.91 jobs were directly supported in their offices in 2019.
  • Physicians’ offices contributed $39.5 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. Regionally, physicians’ offices contributed nearly $14 billion to Ontario’s GDP in 2019, followed by Quebec at $9.6 billion, Alberta at $5.7 billion and British Columbia at $5.6 billion.

Impact of COVID-19

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, 91 per cent of physicians reported having experienced a reduction in patient care, with 33 per cent reporting a drop of more than 50 per cent. 
  • For those physicians who are not paid a salary, this dramatic decline has generated financial hardships that have contributed to staff layoffs and office closures.
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