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Welcome to the CHHRN-CIHI Library

The library is a searchable online bilingual database of peer-reviewed literature, grey literature, as well as data resources on all matters related to health human resources within and concerning Canada.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel - Can we resolve the physician distribution challenge in Canada?

Place of Publication
Ward T
International Medical Workforce Collaborative 2004
The less-than-optimum distribution of physicians in Canada has been a topic of much discussion, some research and little change for the past few decades. The Canadian system is somewhat unique in that it is not a single system rather it is an aggregation of thirteen separate, independent health-care systems. Although the last four decades has seen an increase physician numbers, and a concomitant decrease in the physician per population ratio, regional disparities still exist. In the absence of a coordinated national approach to physician human resource planning, provinces and territories have attempted many programs or policies to recruit, retain and to direct the distribution of physicians within their respective jurisdiction. Success to date has been mixed. Moreover, there has been a great reliance on International Medical Graduates as a method to resolve some aspects of the physician supply problem. This particular source of physician manpower is unlikely to be as available in the future, and Canada must look to other means to resolve service issues. In the absence of a coordinated national approach, provinces and territories will continue to seek methods to attract physicians to under-served areas.