Doctor Shortage Much More Severe In Canada’s North

News Release 11-75

Ottawa, January 20 — Canada’s doctor shortage is far worse in the North than in the South. Where the population-to-physician ratio in the South is usually 400 or 500 to one, the ratio across the North can be 2,000 or even 3,000 to one, depending on the Northern region in question.The Conference Board of Canada’s Somebody Call a Doctor map is part of an ongoing Centre for the North series, which illustrates similarities and differences between Canada’s North and South and among Northern regions.

“It’s no secret that Canada suffers from a doctor shortage. But the pain is not felt evenly across the country,” said Derrick Hynes, Director, Centre for the North. “Not only are there fewer doctors, Northerners frequently have limited access to them. Northern Canadians often have to be transported hundreds or even thousands of kilometers to reach a doctor, which increases the risks to human health and security, and health care costs.”

Based on 2006 census data, the Northern regions with the fewest number of doctors per 10,000 population include Northern Saskatchewan (3), Nunavut (5), Northern Newfoundland and Labrador (8), Northern Alberta (10), and Northern Manitoba (11). In comparison, the Southern regions with the lowest ratios are Prince Edward Island at 16 doctors per 10,000 population, and New Brunswick (20).

The Centre for the North is a Conference Board of Canada program of research and dialogue. Its main purpose is to work with Aboriginal leaders, businesses, governments, communities, educational institutions, and other organizations to provide insights into how sustainable prosperity can be achieved in the North. Over its five-year mandate, the Centre for the North will help to establish and implement strategies, policies and practices to transform that vision into reality.

For more information contact

Brent Dowdall
Manager, Communications
[email protected]

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