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Medical Workforce Supply Overview

This overview provides a high level snapshot of what’s happening with Canada’s physician workforce. The summary graphics show how workforce supply is changing according to four main change metrics (residency quota, new trainees, new certificants, and licensed physicians).

Overall, the physician workforce increased across all four metrics between 2011 and 2015.

  • Since 2011, residency quota and the number of new trainees have increased on average 2-3% per year
  • Certifications for all specialties combined have generally trended upward steadily
  • The medical workforce grew by approximately 2400 physicians each year
  • The number of incoming (‹35) and potentially departing (65+) licensed physicians was equally balanced (2015)
  • In 2015, males represented a larger proportion of the licensed physician workforce as compared to females (60% vs. 40%)

download the data dashboardData Dashboard – interactive (.xlsx)

download the ChartbookData Dashboard – static (.pdf)

Family Medicine

  All Family Physicians (CFPC) Family Medicine Family Medicine (Emergency Medicine)
Residency Quota Up Up Up
New Trainees Up Up Up
New Certificants Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Equal Equal Younger

 

Family Medicine (Care of the Elderly)’ and ‘Family Medicine (Enhanced Skills)’ are not presented individually but are included in the summary of Family Medicine and the overall physician total.

Learn more about Family Medicine
  • Family Medicine and Family Medicine (Emergency Medicine) have grown according to all four trend lines
  • In 2015, 40% of residency quota were assigned to Family Medicine programs, equating to 1643 positions
  • New certificants in Family Medicine rose from 981 in 2011 to 1414 in 2015; an average annual increase of 10%
  • Family Medicine (Emergency Medicine) is a relatively younger workforce compared to Family Medicine
    • For every Family Physician aged 65+, there is one Family Physician aged ‹35
    • For every Family Physician (Emegency Medicine) aged 65+, there are five Family Physicians (Emergency Medicine) aged ‹35

Laboratory Specialties

  Laboratory Specialties Anatomical Pathology General Pathology Hematological Pathology Medical Biochemistry Medical Microbiology
Residency Quota NC Up Up NC
New Trainees NC NC Up Down
New Certificants Up Up Up NC NC NC
Licensed Physicians Up Up Down Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Older Older Older Older Older Older

 

NC=NO CHANGE; ‘—‘ = not reported due to small sample size, less than 5 years of data, or data not available
‘Laboratory Medicine’ and ‘Neuropathology’ are not presented individually but are included in the summary of Laboratory Specialties, the summary of Royal College specialties/subspecialties and the overall physician total

Learn more about Laboratory Specialties
  • Among Laboratory Specialties, the largest number of quota was allocated to Anatomical Pathology, with 43 positions distributed across 15 medical schools
  • New trainees in Medical Microbiology decreased by 4, from 12 (2011) to 8 (2015)
  • Anatomical Pathology experienced an average annual increase in new certificants of 10% between 2011-2015, largely as a result of an increase between 2011 and 2012 (37 vs. 46 new certificants)
  • While General Pathology increased based on early indicators of physician supply, the number of licensed physicians declined to 277 (2015) from 314 (2011). It is also a relatively older workforce; for every General Pathology physician aged less than 35 years there were five aged 65+

Medical Specialties

  Medical Specialties Anesthesiology Dermatology Diagnostic Radiology Emergency Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Genetics and Genomics Neurology Nuclear Medicine Pediatrics Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Psychiatry Public Health and Preventive Medicine Radiation Oncology
Residency Quota Up NC NC Down Up Up NC NC NC Down Up Up Up NC
New Trainees Up NC NC Down Up Up NC NC NC Down Up Up NC NC
New Certificants Up NC Up NC Up Up NC Up NC Up NC NC NC NC
Licensed Physicians Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Older Younger Older Older Younger Younger Equal Older Older Equal Younger Older Older Younger

 

NC=NO CHANGE; ‘—‘ = not reported due to small sample size, less than 5 years of data, or data not available

Learn more about Medical Specialties
  • From 2011–2015, Emergency Medicine, and Internal Medicine, saw increases in the number of quota, new trainees and certificants, and total licensed physician workforce.
  • Diagnostic Radiology and Pediatrics encountered a decline in both residency quota and new trainees.
  • All Medical Specialties experienced an increase in the licensed physician workforce, with Medical Genetics and Genomics experiencing the largest growth (annual average increase of 9%)
  • Emergency Medicine is a relatively young workforce, where for every one physician aged 65+ there are three physicians who are less than 35 years of age

Surgical Specialties

  Surgical Specialties Cardiac Surgery General Surgery Neurosurgery Obstetrics & Gynecology Ophthalmology Orthopedic Surgery Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Plastic Surgery Urology Vascular Surgery
Residency Quota Down NC Down NC Down NC Down NC Down NC
New Trainees Down NC Down Down Down NC Down NC NC NC
New Certificants Up Down Up NC Up NC NC NC Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians Up NC Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Older Older Older Older Equal Older Older Older Equal Older Older

 

NC=NO CHANGE; ‘—‘ = not reported due to small sample size, less than 5 years of data, or data not available

Learn more about Surgical Specialties
  • Surgical specialties experienced a reduction in both the number of residency quota and new trainees. For example, Orthopedic Surgery faced a 9% average annual decrease in both indicators
  • Cardiac Surgery, the only specialty to experience a decline in new certificants, went from 10 in 2011 to 7 in 2015
  • Decreasing quota and new trainees has not yet impacted the licensed physician workforce which is still trending upward for surgical specialists. However, for some specialties, growth has slowed in recent years. For instance, the General Surgery workforce grew by a relatively low annual average rate of 0.8%.
  • Surgical specialists are a slightly older workforce, with five physicians aged 65+ for every four physicians aged ‹35

Internal Medicine Subspecialties

  Internal Medicine Subspecialties Cardiology Clinical Immunology & Allergy Critical Care Medicine Endocrinology & Metabolism Gastroenterology General Internal Medicine Geriatric Medicine Hematology Infectious Diseases Medical Oncology Nephrology Respirology Rheumatology
Residency Quota NC Up NC Down Up Down NC Up NC NC NC NC NC Up
New Trainees Up NC NC NC NC Down Up Up NC Up NC Up Up Up
New Certificants Up Up Up NC NC NC NC Down NC Up NC Up NC
Licensed Physicians Up Up Up Up NC Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Younger Older Older Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger Younger

 

NC=NO CHANGE; ‘—‘ = not reported due to small sample size, less than 5 years of data, or data not available
‘Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology’ and ‘Occupational Medicine’ are not presented individually but are included in the summary of Internal Medicine subspecialties, the summary of Royal College specialties/subspecialties and the overall physician total

Learn more about Internal Medicine Subspecialties
  • Quota for Gastroenterology (IM) and trainees pursuing this discipline declined on average by 5% per year
  • The number of trainees entering Critical Care Medicine (IM) was less than half the available quota.
  • Geriatric Medicine and Rheumatology (IM) experienced increases in both residency quota and new trainees.
  • Since 2011, there has been a 47.8% increase in new certificants in Internal Medicine subspecialties
  • After initial expansion increases in 2012 and 2013, the number of new certificants in Hematology has been declining and there was 25% fewer new certificants in 2015 compared to 2011
  • There were 1,363 licensed Cardiologists (IM) in 2015, representing the largest single Internal Medicine subspecialty

Pediatric Subspecialties

  Pediatric Subspecialties Cardiology Clinical Immunology & Allergy Critical Care Medicine Developmental Pediatrics Endocrinology & Metabolism Gastroenterology Infectious Diseases Neonatal Perinatal Medicine Nephrology Pediatric Emergency Medicine Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Respirology
Residency Quota NC Down NC Up Up NC NC Down NC NC NC Up Up
New Trainees NC Up Down NC Up
New Certificants Up NC NC Up Up NC Up NC NC Up
Licensed Physicians Up Up Up Up Up Up Up NC NC Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Younger Older Younger Younger Younger Younger Equal Younger Younger

 

NC=NO CHANGE; ‘—‘ = not reported due to small sample size, less than 5 years of data, or data not available
‘Adolescent Medicine’, ‘Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology’, ‘Neurology (pediatric subspecialty match only)’ and ‘Rheumatology’ are not presented individually but are included in the summary of Pediatric Subspecialties, the summary of Royal College specialties/subspecialties and the overall physician total

Learn more about Pediatric Subspecialties
  • Cardiology (PED) and Infectious Diseases (PED) have seen a decline in residency quota with 5% and 10% average annual decreases, respectively
  • Overall, trainees that entered pediatric subspecialties occupied less than half of the available quota. For example, in 2015, 173 quota were allocated but only 61 trainees were recorded
  • Physicians newly certified in Neonatal Perinatal Medicine increased nine-fold, going from two in 2011 to 18 in 2015
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology experienced a large increase in its licensed physician workforce, which doubled in size between 2011 and 2015
  • Pediatric subspecialties are a relatively younger workforce with three physicians aged ‹35 for every one physician aged 65+

download the data dashboardData Dashboard – interactive (.xlsx)

download the ChartbookData Dashboard – static (.pdf)