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Licensed physician workforce

Licensed physician workforce


In 2014, Family Physicians comprised 56.1% of Canada’s licensed physician workforce and Medical, Surgical, Laboratory specialists made up the remaining 43.9%. The number of Family Physicians increased at a very consistent rate over the period of 2010 to 2014, with an average annual increase of 3.5%. At 2.5%, the average annual increase for all other specialties was somewhat lower.

Key Observations

  • Medical Genetics saw the largest specialty-specific rate of increase in workforce size from 2010 to 2014, growing 6% annually;
  • Emergency Medicine (Royal College) saw the second-biggest specialty-specific growth rate from 2010 to 2014, increasing annually by 5.2%;
    • While both of these specialties have grown in number, they still represent relatively small proportions of Canada’s physician workforce in 2014 (i.e., 0.1% for Medical Genetics and 1.1% for Royal College Emergency Medicine).
  • Of the 31 specialties for which data is available for this snapshot, 11 counted over 1,000 licensed physicians in 2014:
    • Anatomical Pathology saw the largest average annual increase, at 3.9%; 
    • Similar to Family Medicine, the number of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Orthopedic Surgery specialists increased by approximately 3.5% annually from 2010 to 2014;
    • Annual growth was lowest for Pediatrics and General Surgery (1.3% and 1.6%, respectively).
  • Two specialty workforces decreased in number from 2010 to 2014. Both are Laboratory specialties:
    • The number of General Pathologists went from 319 to 298, a 6.6% decrease;
    • The number of Neuropathologists went from 43 to 41, a 4.7% decrease.

Licensed physician workforce (PDF)

Licensed physician workforce (Spreadsheet)