Canadians strongly support improved health workforce planning to help meet their current and future health care needs, according to a recent Ipsos study, commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).
Three-quarters of people surveyed (76%) believe Canada does not currently have the right number of health workers across all regions. 87% of respondents agree that a long-term plan for the health workforce should be put in place to ensure Canadians can receive the right care at the right time wherever they live.
The survey findings come as Canada’s health ministers have committed to supporting the country’s health workforce by scaling up physician mobility, providing more training opportunities, improving the availability and sharing of labour market data, and expediting credentials for internationally trained health professionals.
These tactics are critical to stabilize the health system in the short and medium term, and the CMA believes an integrated, long-term planning framework is needed to ensure sustainable and accessible care into the future.
Additional findings from the Ipsos/CMA survey show that:
83% agree that a lack of cooperation and coordination between levels of government is a significant barrier to developing and implementing a long-term health workforce plan;
60% agree that the greatest perceived benefits of more long-term planning are improved quality of care and better access to care, such as shorter wait times; and
a strong majority (82%) agree that the public should have a voice in health workforce planning.
“Access to care is in crisis,” says CMA President Dr. Kathleen Ross. “The lack of planning is likely part of why we are facing one of the worst shortages of health professionals in recent history. We need an actionable, sustainable pan-Canadian health workforce plan to meet the care needs of the public now, and well into the future.”
The Ipsos/CMA online survey was conducted between Sept. 15–19, 2023, and included a nationwide sample of more than 3,100 people in Canada aged 18 years and older. The poll is accurate to within + or – two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.