Issue No. 2 - 
Physician Mix and Distribution
October 1, 2015
How are we ensuring that Canada has the right mix, distribution and number of physicians?
FMEC PG Recommendation 1 

Recommendation #1 (Ensure the right mix, distribution, and number of physicians to meet societal needs) aims to ensure that the Canadian medical education system helps to meet the continuously changing and evolving needs of Canadians, through accurate modeling and forecasting of the physician workforce, providing medical students and those interested in a career in medicine with up to date information about the profession, and supporting the promotion of a more robust educational path to increase the number of clinician scientists across the country.

Current Implementation:
  • The Physician Resource Planning Task Force (PRPTF) is working on terms of reference for a sustainable pan-Canadian physician resource planning committee and will test their collaborative process using an emerging topic in physician resource planning at their November 2015 meeting. Requests for Proposals are being received for the development of a pan-Canadian supply-based projection model.
  • The Future MD career counselling tool has been formally launched ( This comprehensive tool features a Q&A format, glossary, and cross-referencing to provide factual responses to all of your questions. A broad range of topics address questions related to admissions, costs and funding, international medical graduates, earnings and residency and practice.
  • Planning is underway for a Consensus Conference on Clinician Scientist Training in Canada, to be held in February 2016 in London, Ontario.
To see the full recommendation and transformative actions, please consult the full FMEC PG Collective Vision
About the FMEC PG Implementation Project
The Future of Medical Education in Canada Postgraduate (FMEC PG) Implementation Project is helping to ensure that medical residents in this country continue to receive the best training possible and are able to meet the changing healthcare needs of Canadians.

The FMEC PG Implementation Project is funded by Health Canada and a consortium of four organizations: The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Le Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (The Royal College).
Reflections from Dr. Nick Busing, Project Lead

Our first FMEC PG recommendation (Ensure the right mix, di stribution and number of physicians to meet societal needs) is the overarching reason for reforming PGME.

Our system needs to be socially  accountable... we need to train physicians to address ongoing and emerging needs such as end-of-life care and seniors care, which are becoming increasingly important as the Canadian population ages. This expectation, combined with the reality that certain graduating residents are having difficulty finding employment (e.g. orthopedic surgeons, nephrologists, etc.) is a compelling argument for a flexible system that can respond to changing needs and that can create flexibility for the learner on entering training and while still in training.

Once we have a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of the national supply of physicians and can start to match this with the ongoing and emerging needs of the community, there will have to be some difficult discussions with our medical schools, looking at the numbers and types of physicians we are in fact training. Where there is a mismatch between the numbers and type being trained and the need, we will have to expect an adjustment in residency program allocation. This will lead to a discussion about our care model in many centres that is often built around a fixed resident compliment, and might have to be significantly altered.

These are huge issues but ones we need to address to create a truly respon sive and socially accountable postgraduate medical education system.

D r. Nick Busing led transformative change from 2005-2013 as President and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Prior to joining AFMC, Dr. Busing spent 20 years at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. He is a past president of the CFPC and a past chair of the Canadian Medical Forum.