Canadian Medical Association

Change is possible. 

Massive backlogs, an acute shortage of family doctors and record-high burnout among health care workers have become the norm in health care. 

But the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been leading a movement of physicians challenging that status quo – and decision-makers are listening.

The recent boost to federal health transfers – a historic commitment of close to $200-billion over the next 10 years – reflects the CMA’s tireless advocacy to stabilize a system in crisis and move the dial on relevant long-term transformation. 

And we’re not done yet. We continue to work with physicians and health partners across the country to ensure a better future of care.

A net-zero emissions health system

The CMA’s work on climate change is focused on building a health system that’s as good for the planet as it is for patients. We contributed to Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy addressing the health impacts of climate change as well as the policy brief for Canada published in the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate. We are supporting physicians’ effort to green the system through a new course, Leading Sustainable Health Systems. And we are committed to responsible investing to decarbonize the CMA’s portfolio by 2050. We also continue to work closely with leading climate partners such as CASCADES, Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care, HealthCareCAN, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Choosing Wisely Canada as well as the WHO, Healthcare Without Harm, Global Climate and Health Alliance and COP. Read more about net-zero health care.

Health Care Crisis

Pan-Canadian licensure

A recent survey of CMA members shows that 95% support pan-Canadian licensure, with 63% indicating it would make them more likely to seek out locum opportunities in other provinces and 75% agreeing that it would improve access to health care in rural, remote and northern communities. Almost three-quarters of those surveyed also said pan-Canadian licensure would better leverage the use of interprovincial/territorial virtual care and 73% that it would make Canada a more attractive place for international medical graduates. Calls for broader licensure are gaining momentum, with Ontario signalling support for health workforce mobility and talks on regional licensure among the Atlantic provinces. The CMA is building on that work through engagement with a wide range of stakeholders – to date, we have garnered formal support from more than 15 national health organizations. Read more about the benefits of pan-Canadian licensure.


Integrated health workforce planning

Building a more sustainable health workforce must start with the people who know it best – providers and patients. Through events like our Health Summit Series: Bold Choices in Health Care, the CMA engages stakeholders from across the health sector on issues including better care delivery models, funding and key priorities for next-generation health professionals. These efforts inform work such as the co-development, with the Canadian Nurses Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, of eight health human resource policy recommendations. One result was an invitation to the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on Health Workforce – the first time in a decade. Read more about our focus on workforce planning.

Health Care Crisis

A pan-Canadian framework for the physical, psychological and cultural safety of the health workforce

The CMA’s latest National Physician Health Survey – which included responses from more than 4,000 physicians and medical learners – revealed a profession in distress. Although our work on a framework for physical, psychological and cultural safety is at an early stage, we continue to look for opportunities to actively improve physician well-being. That includes a pivotal role in the passage of Bill C-3, an amendment to the Criminal Code to protect health care workers from bullying and harassment, as well as calls for enforcement of that law. We have also  collaborated with the McMaster University Health Forum and speak to international colleagues about our ongoing success with the CMA’s Physician Wellness Hub. Read more about our vision for a safer profession.


A physician-focused response to Canada’s health care crisis

The CMA advances urgent action on the health care crisis at the highest levels – in one-on-ones with federal leaders, at meetings of the Council of the Federation and with health ministers from across the country. We also partner for impact with patients, community groups and dozens of health organizations, including the Canadian Nurses Association, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, HealthCareCAN and the College of Family Physicians of Canada, to call attention to shared problems, shared solutions and to safeguard our collective future. Read more about physician-focused response to Canada’s health care crisis.

Addressing Indigenous health in allyship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

The CMA is committed to advancing reconciliation in health care in allyship with Indigenous Peoples. To identify areas of focus for our work, we have convened a Guiding Circle, a group of First Nations, Inuit and Métis experts and knowledge-keepers. Together, they represent the diverse and broad perspectives of communities across the country. The CMA also continues to build awareness of the impact of colonialization on Indigenous health through projects such as the documentary The Unforgotten. The CMA Foundation is supporting Indigenous-led organizations through giving, most recently with a $2-million contribution to the Indigenous Peoples Resilience Fund and a $1-million grant to the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. Read more about our approach to Indigenous health.

Administrative burden

Data from the CMA’s recent National Physician Health Survey reveals that, on average, doctors are spending one or more days a week (10+ hours) on administrative work alone. As we know, the increasing administrative burden (particularly elevated in family medicine) stems from several sources, including the large volume of third-party forms physicians are asked to complete, poorly designed EMRs and increased administrative follow-up. Addressing this burden is part of the CMA’s eight critical health human resource policy recommendations, co-developed with the Canadian Nurses Association and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. The CMA has also been working closely with provincial and territorial medical associations on this issue. Read more about the significant impact administrative work is having on the profession.

Aging with dignity in the community

The CMA believes older adults should have access to a full spectrum of support to allow aging with dignity in our communities. We look forward to engagement with a wide range of stakeholders as our work to make this a reality evolves. Read more about aging with dignity.

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