Skip to Main Content
Follow us

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 2012 and 2016.

  • Since 2012, residency quota and the number of new trainees have increased on average 1-2% per year
  • Certifications for all specialties combined have generally trended upward steadily
  • The medical workforce grew by approximately 2200 physicians each year
  • The number of incoming (‹35) and potentially departing (65+) licensed physicians was equally balanced (2016)
  • In 2016, males represented a larger proportion of the licensed physician workforce as compared to females (59% vs. 41%)

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 Down
New Trainees Up Up Down
New Certificants Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians Up Up NC
Licensed Physicians (Age) Younger 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 2016, 40% of residency quota were assigned to Family Medicine programs, equating to 1643 positions
  • New certificants in Family Medicine rose from 1098 in 2012 to 1442 in 2016; an average annual increase of 7%
  • 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 (Emergency Medicine) aged 65+, there are four Family Physicians (Emergency Medicine) aged ‹35

Laboratory Specialties

  Laboratory Specialties Anatomical Pathology General Pathology Hematological Pathology Medical Biochemistry Medical Microbiology
Residency Quota Down NC Up NC NC
New Trainees Down Down NC NC
New Certificants NC NC NC 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 41 positions distributed across 15 medical schools
  • While General Pathology increased based on early indicators of physician supply, the number of licensed physicians declined to 265 (2016) from 301 (2012). 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 Down NC Up Up NC NC Down Down NC Up NC Down
New Trainees Up NC Down Down Up Up NC NC Down NC NC Up NC NC
New Certificants Up NC NC Down 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 Equal Younger Younger Older Equal 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 2012–2016, 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 Emergency Medicine experiencing the largest growth (annual average increase of 7.2%)
  • Emergency Medicine is a relatively young workforce, where for every one physician aged 65+ there are four 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 Down Down NC Down NC Down NC NC
New Trainees Down Up Down Down Down NC Down NC Down NC NC
New Certificants Up Up Up NC Up NC Down NC Up NC Up
Licensed Physicians Up Up 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 an 8% average annual decrease in residency quota and a 9% average annual decrease in new trainees.
  • Orthopedic Surgery, the only specialty to experience a decline in new certificants, went from 89 in 2012 to 76 in 2016
  • Decreasing quota and new trainees has not yet impacted the licensed physician workforce which is still trending upwards for surgical specialists. However, for some specialties, growth has slowed in recent years. For instance, the Cardiac Surgery workforce grew by a relatively low annual average rate of 0.6%.
  • 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 NC Down NC NC Down NC Up NC Down Down NC NC Up
New Trainees Up NC Up NC NC Down Up Up NC NC NC Up NC Up
New Certificants Up NC Up NC NC Down Up NC Up NC NC NC NC
Licensed Physicians Up Up Up Up NC Up Up Up Up Up Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Younger Older Equal 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 2012, there has been a 38.9% increase in new certificants in Internal Medicine subspecialties
  • There were 1,400 licensed Cardiologists (IM) in 2016, 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 NC NC NC NC Down NC NC NC Down NC
New Trainees NC NC Up Down NC NC
New Certificants Up Down Down NC Up Up NC NC NC Up NC Up
Licensed Physicians Up NC Up Up Up Up Up Down Down Up Up Up
Licensed Physicians (Age) Younger Older 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
‘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
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Cardiology (PED) and Infectious Diseases (PED) have seen a decline in residency quota with 4%, 9% and 16% average annual decreases, respectively
  • Overall, trainees that entered pediatric subspecialties occupied less than half of the available quota. For example, in 2016, 124 quota were allocated but only 61 trainees were recorded
  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology experienced a large increase in its licensed physician workforce, from 56 in 2012 to 85 in 2016.
  • 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)