Canadian Medical Association

The specialty profiles contain summary information on Canadian physicians’ practices including workload, income and satisfaction, as well as information on educational requirements, supply and demographics. These profiles may be useful to medical students planning their future careers as well as to health care researchers and others seeking information about specialists. 

These profiles were prepared in collaboration with Dr. June Harris of Memorial University of Newfoundland.  

Please note: These profiles were last updated in Dec. 2019. As such, the data contained in these profiles may no longer be accurate. We will not be updating these profiles in the future.

Explore specialty profiles

Anatomical pathology

The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the morphologic aspects of disease.


A diversified specialty requiring physicians to draw upon their knowledge of pharmacy and physiology and to utilize their technical skills in the provision of perioperative care, critical care, emergency care and pain management.


The study and practice of cardiology involves a wide range of patient care activities including: basic physical examinations; preventive health; and the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular disease through non-invasive treatment modalities or sophisticated interventions.

Cardiovascular and thoracic surgery

Cardiac surgery deals with diseases of the pericardium, heart and vessels, while thoracic surgery is the branch of surgery concerned with congenital and acquired diseases of the chest wall, mediastinum, lungs, trachea, pleura, esophagus and diaphragm.

Clinical immunology/allergy

This broad field focuses on disorders characterized by defective responses of the body's immune system.

Critical care medicine

The practice of multidisciplinary medicine with patients who have sustained, or are at risk of sustaining life threatening, single or multiple organ system failure due to disease or injury.


A diverse specialty that deals with benign and malignant disorders of the skin, mouth, external genitalia, hair and nails, as well as a number of sexually transmitted diseases.

Diagnostic radiology

This specialty is concerned with the use of imaging techniques in the study, diagnosis and treatment of disease. The radiologist’s major role is as a consultant to other physicians.

Emergency medicine

A high-pressure, fast-paced specialty that focuses on the recognition, evaluation and care of patients who are acutely ill or injured.


The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the diseases of the endocrine organs, disorders of hormone systems and their target organs, and disorders of the pathways of glucose and lipid metabolism.

Family medicine

The main primary care medical specialty in Canada. Family physicians (refers to both family physicians and general practitioners) deliver services across the entire spectrum of care, regardless of patient age, sex or condition.


A subspecialty of internal medicine and/or pediatrics dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders related to the digestive system including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon), gallbladder, pancreas and liver.

General internal medicine

A broad-based specialty that has its roots in primary care and is dedicated to providing primary and specialty care to adults.

General surgery

The general surgeon is trained to provide surgical care for the whole patient. This includes making a diagnosis; preoperative, operative and postoperative management of the patient; and the surgical treatment.

General/clinical pathology

A specialty concerned with all aspects of laboratory investigation in health and disease that focuses on the causes, manifestations and diagnosis of disease.

Geriatric medicine

Deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, remedial and social aspects of illness in older people, mainly patients 75 years of age or more.


A subspecialty of internal medicine and is concerned with the nature, function, and diseases of the blood.

Medical biochemistry

The primary role of the medical biochemist is to study and measure the biochemical abnormalities in human disease.

Medical genetics

The specialty requiring in-depth knowledge of basic genetic principles and of genetic diseases as they affect all body systems.

Medical microbiology and infectious diseases

Focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases; thus, it is concerned with human illness due to micro-organisms.

Medical oncology

A subspecialty of internal medicine that is closely associated with hematology and deals with tumors occurring in all organ systems. It is a varied, multidisciplinary field involving all aspects of internal medicine and requiring clinical knowledge and skills.


A subspecialty of internal medicine. Practitioners diagnose and treat diseases of the kidneys and urinary system.


The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the nervous system in health and disease. Neurologists diagnose and treat nervous system disorders involving the brain and spinal cord and other nerve and muscular conditions.


Focuses on the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. Practitioners diagnose problems through physical examination with the aid of such tools as MRI, CT scans and laboratory tests and frequently provide surgical treatment.

Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine is concerned primarily (although not exclusively) with the use of unsealed radioactive sources in the study, diagnosis and treatment of disease.


A specialty that encompasses medical, surgical, and obstetrical and gynecologic knowledge and skills for the prevention, diagnosis and management of a broad range of conditions affecting women's general and reproductive health.

Occupational medicine

The branch of medicine that emphasizes prevention, and deals clinically and administratively with the health needs of both individuals and groups with respect to their working environments and includes the recognition, evaluation, control, management and rehabilitation of occupationally related diseases and injuries, and other conditions affecting ability to work.


Deals with the screening, diagnosis and management of optical, medical and surgical disorders and diseases of the eye, associated orbital structures and neuro-visual pathways.

Orthopedic surgery

Focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of diseases of the bones, joints, ligament, muscles, tendons and nerves.


This specialty is concerned with the screening, diagnosis and management of medical and surgical disorders of the ear, the upper respiratory and upper alimentary systems, and related structures of the head and neck.


Pediatricians are specialists who focus on the physical, emotional and social health of neonates, infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

Physical medicine and rehabilitation

Physical medicine and rehabilitation (also known as physiatry) is concerned with the comprehensive diagnosis, medical management and rehabilitation of people of all ages with neuromusculoskeletal disorders and associated disabilities.

Plastic surgery

Includes the management of major burns, reconstruction of congenital malformations, cosmetic surgery and other minor surgical procedures.


The medical specialty that deals with the diseases of the mind. Central to the psychiatrist’s role is a comprehensive assessment, leading to a diagnosis and a treatment plan for the care and rehabilitation of patients with mental illness, and emotional and behavioural disorders.

Public health and preventive medicine

The branch of medicine concerned with the health of populations. These specialists use population health knowledge and skills to play leading and collaborative roles in the maintenance and improvement of the health and well-being of the community.

Radiation oncology

Medical specialists with unique knowledge, understanding and expertise in the diagnosis and care of patients with malignant disease.

Respiratory medicine/respirology

A subspecialty of internal medicine concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the respiratory system. It is strongly rooted in physiology.


This specialty is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases, which may involve many systems, as well as joint, muscle and skeletal disorders. Specialists in this field have an interest in autoimmune diseases that underlie many rheumatologic conditions.


A surgical subspecialty that focuses on the medical and surgical treatment of disorders and diseases of the female urinary tract and the male urogenital system. It involves diagnosis, endoscopy, surgery and lithotripsy.

No results

Back to top