Canadian Medical Association

Peer support brings together people who share similar life experiences so they can provide each other with non-judgmental listening and advice related to life, work and other issues. 

Peers share insights, coping strategies, information and resources. They also act as sounding boards, providing insight, encouragement, help, hope and recovery for co-workers experiencing challenging situations, distress or big decisions.

Peer support in health care comes in many different forms, both formal and informal. It may be provided in a one-on-one setting or in a group, and may also include mentorship and coaching.

Five facts about peer support

  1. Most people want to connect with someone who understands them. That understanding often comes from similar experiences and can be reassuring when someone is stressed or uncertain. Peer support is rooted in the belief that everyone can recover from trauma, mental health or addiction issues, mistakes, burnout, depression, and other concerns.
  2. Peer support starts with an authentic human connection. Peer supporters share their own stories of similar experiences and how they got through them. They walk beside someone — not directing, but listening to and validating their feelings.
  3. While peer support complements clinical approaches, it is not clinical. Peer supporters do not provide diagnoses, recommend specific treatments or give other medical advice. They help colleagues discover and build on what works for them. 
  4. Peer support improves outcomes. People who use peer support show improved coping and self-management skills, have stronger social networks and tend to be less isolated. Their symptoms are reduced, they use substances at a lower rate, they require shorter and fewer hospitalizations, and they have less need for intensive services.
  5. Peer support is growing and formalizing. More services are employing peer workers as a part of interdisciplinary care teams, and peer-led services continue to grow.

Adapted from the Canadian Mental Health Association: 5 things to know about peer support.

Canada-wide peer support programs:

CMA Community

The health of Canadians depends on a thriving health workforce. This online community focuses on building a new medical culture, one that’s centered on physical and mental well-being, and embraces equity and diversity.

Safe Spaces: Let’s Get Real

The Canadian Federation of Medical Students offers medical students across the country an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues around medical student health and wellness.

Find provincial and territorial peer support programs:


Alberta Medical Association’s Physician and Family Support Program

The Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP) provides 24/7 confidential support for Alberta’s physicians, residents and medical students, as well as their immediate family members.

Learn more about the physician support programs offered by the Alberta Medical Association.

British Columbia

Local Peer Support Programs

Local Peer Support Programs offer confidential, non-clinical, emotional support to physicians facing a range of work and life-related challenges. These programs are tailored to the specific needs of each physician community, and delivered by trained Peer Supporters who are fellow physicians, offering a unique understanding of the stresses and pressures faced by those in medicine.

Learn more about the BC Physician Health Program’s Local Peer Support programs and other support and learning groups.


Doc360 Physician Health Programs

Doctors Manitoba provides evidence-based peer support options for physicians, resident physicians, and medical learners experiencing challenges in their personal or professional lives.

Learn more about Physician Peer Support and other physician wellness programs offered by Doctors Manitoba.

New Brunswick

Peer Support Program

The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) offers a province-wide peer support program, connecting The Peer Support Program was created to connect New Brunswick physicians (including residents and medical learners) seeking support with trained volunteer physicians. Program participation and all information disclosed remains completely confidential.

Contact Meaghan Sibbett at NBMS Wellness for additional information.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Peer support

Direct, 1:1 physician peer support is offered on an ongoing basis, and a virtual physician peer support group is offered every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Whether you’re dealing with a complaint, a negative clinical outcome, workload stress, or any other challenge, you’ll receive confidential support from a physician experienced in supporting colleagues.

Learn more about the Physician and Family Assistance Program offered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association.

Nova Scotia

Professional Support Program

Doctors Nova Scotia’s Professional Support Program (PSP) provides confidential peer-to-peer support for members and their families who are dealing with personal or professional problems.

Learn more about the physician wellness programs and support services offered by Doctors Nova Scotia.

Northwest Territories

Physician and Family Support Program

Northwest Territories Medical Association members have access to the Alberta Medical Association’s (AMA) Physician and Family Support Program (PFSP). This program provides 24/7 confidential support and help with personal health issues.

Learn more about the Physician and Family Support Program offered by the AMA.


Doctors Lounge Online

The virtual Doctors Drop-In Group provides an online meeting place for the same exchange of support and encouragement, where you can meet with others with similar backgrounds and life experiences.

Learn more about Doctors Lounge Online and other services offered by the Physician Health Program offered by the Ontario Medical Association.

Prince Edward Island

Peer-to-Peer program

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) is a structured peer support program, which aims to be a driver of cultural change in the medical community on Prince Edward Island, by providing colleagues with opportunities to connect, share challenges, express gratitude, and develop coping strategies together.

Learn more about the Medical Society of Prince Edward Island’s offerings on physician health and wellness.


Quebec Physicians’ Health Program

The Quebec Physicians’ Health Program (QPHP) is a peer support program, offering practical support to physicians in a receptive, respectful, and psychologically safe environment.

Learn more about QPHP’s services and resources.


Physician Health Program

The Physician Health Program (PHP) provides assistance to physicians, medical learners, and their families who are struggling. The program provides assessment and treatment, education, counselling and coaching, monitoring, and advocacy to help physicians continue in effective medical practice.

Learn more about the Physician Health Program offered by the Saskatchewan Medical Association.


Member and Benefit Programs

The Yukon Medical Association offers several wellness resources to members, such as mentorship support and counselling services.

Learn more about the services offered by the Yukon Medical Association.

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