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Royal College Medical Workforce Knowledgebase©

Royal College Medical Workforce Knowledgebase©

Physicians play an important role in caring for Canadians. They practice in diverse settings and provide broad health care services to patients, ranging from prevention to diagnosis to treatment and rehabilitation. The provision of specialized medical care depends on the availability of specialty-trained physicians and other health professionals as well as practice resources, such as specialized equipment. Physician workforce supply information is a starting point for providing insight into patient access to specialized medical care and longer term planning.

The Royal College Medical Workforce Knowledgebase provides key insights on the size and composition of Canada’s current and future physician workforce.

Physician supply is defined by many factors that determine the size and composition of Canada’s medical workforce, such as:

  • The number of entry level training positions and newly-certified specialists, which contribute to growth of the medical workforce and are known as inflows
  • Retirement and out-migration, which influence the number of physicians leaving the workforce and are known as outflows

Physician supply is the net sum of numerous workforce inflow and outflow factors. Changes to these flows affect the size and composition of the physician workforce, and ultimately the level of access patients have to specialized medical care.

Although the Medical Workforce Knowledgebase is currently limited to inflow and outflow measures, future development will include other factors like physician workload and practice information, as these factors also drive access. The Knowledgebase will continue to grow in a variety of other ways, including:

  • Covering subspecialties beyond the 31 primary specialties
  • Adding more workforce data, such as full-time equivalency rather than just head counts as is currently used in the Knowledgebase
  • Adding healthcare delivery data to provide insight on scope of practice across specialties and urban-rural settings
  • More in-depth analysis to understand how the healthcare workforce is changing against the needs of patients and communities.

For further information, please contact

The Royal College Strategic Plan, 'The goal that matters most' 2015-2017

The Royal College will be “a trusted source of data and evidence about the specialty medical workforce and practice of specialty medicine”.