Fraser Institute News Release: Canada has almost 20 per cent fewer doctors per capita than OECD average

VANCOUVER, Jan. 18, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The number of doctors in Canada (per person) lags far behind other developed countries, and if current trends continue, Canada likely won’t close the gap in the coming years, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“Physicians play a crucial role in Canada’s health-care system, but compared to other developed countries, Canada has a low ratio of physicians to people,” said Steven Globerman, international business professor at Western Washington University, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-author of The Supply of Physicians in Canada: Projections and Assessment.

The study finds that in 2015, Canada had just 2.7 doctors per 1,000 people. That’s almost 20 per cent lower than the 3.4 per 1,000 person average for the other developed countries in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), a group of developed high-income countries like Canada.

Crucially, projecting the number of doctors in Canada into future years—assuming current medical school enrolment and foreign-trained doctor trends continue—Canada will have 2.97 doctors per 1,000 people by 2030, still well below the 2015 OECD average.

“Unless current trends are reversed, an increasing scarcity of doctors looms large in Canada’s future,” Globerman said.

“Policymakers should think now about how having relatively few doctors will affect Canadian patients and the health-care system more broadly.”

Number of physicians/1,000 people in selected OECD countries

Germany 4.1
Australia 3.5
France 3.1
New Zealand 3.0
United Kingdom 2.8
Canada 2.7

Steven Globerman, Senior Fellow
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit

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