CMA May Start Private Medical Schools to Combat Shortages

Responding to shortfalls in physicians, the Canadian Medical Association says it will start private medical schools if the government does not increase the number of slots in the public universities.

The Globe and Mail: CMA threatens to set up private medical schools

If the provinces do not sharply increase enrolment in traditional universities, private medical schools could fill the gap, says the president of the Canadian Medical Association. “Clearly, we need more spots, and if governments aren’t doing it, we may have to push the private side,” Albert Schumacher said.

In the 1980s, medical school enrolment was cut sharply, a short-sighted decision being felt today. While the number of spots is now increasing, the pace is too slow to make up for the shortage of MDs, he said.

There are currently 16 (and soon 17 with the establishment of Lakehead and Laurentian universities’ Northern Ontario School of Medicine) medical schools in Canada. Within three years, they will produce almost 2,400 graduates annually. But Dr. Schumacher said Canada needs 3,000 graduates a year to be self-sufficient. Shortfalls are being addressed, in part, by wooing doctors from abroad. “We cannot continue plundering the developing world for physicians,” he stated.

Ironically, in the United States, it is the American Medical Association that has spent decades fighting to keep the number of slots artificially small.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. RA says:

    I work in medical imaging. I know as many doctors that speak with foreign accents as I know who don’t. I’ll bet we import half our doctors.

    Canada has trouble attracting foreign doctors because once they see their socialist quota of patients they shut down their practice until the next fiscal year starts. Bottom line, they can’t make any money up there.