Since 2010, the Canadian population has increased by 12% while Canadian admissions to medical school has only increased by 6% during the same timeframe. Statistics Canada reported in 2019 that approximately 4.6 million Canadians did not have regular access to a primary care provider. All 17 faculties of medicine across the country are willing to increase capacity of medical students and residents as long as funding is made available by provincial governments. Although some provinces have begun increasing medical student enrolment and residency positions, a national and coordinated approach to this issue is required.
Not only are admissions not increasing at the same rate as the Canadian population, but some Canadian medical students are unable to secure a residency position upon graduation. An individual with an MD degree cannot practice medicine in Canada until they complete a residency. When medical school graduates are unable to secure a residency position, there are delays to them entering practice and providing care to Canadians. Additional family medicine residency positions, especially in rural and underserved communities, are needed to increase the number of primary care providers available to Canadians. Funding additional family medicine positions in 2023 would result in additional doctors practicing by 2025.
AFMC is asking the Government of Canada to work with provincial and territorial governments to increase admissions to medical school to match population growth and ensure the right number of residency positions for the system. This would contribute to an improved long-term strategy that ensures Canadians receive the health care they desperately need.