Chapter 1:
The State of Physician Burnout in Canada

2-minute read

According to the CMA’s National Physician Health Survey, more than 50% of physicians and medical learners report high levels of burnout. 

Numbing numbers

The same CMA survey also revealed the following contributing and coexisting physician experiences

  • 79%: lack of professional fulfillment
  • 60%: worsening mental health
  • 51%: dissatisfaction with work-life integration
  • 48%: positive screening for depression
  • 47%: low levels of social well-being

A strained system

While the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated physician burnout and moral injury, it also brought to light that the Canadian healthcare system needs urgent care, drawing much-needed attention to challenges physicians have been raising for years. 

This spotlight on systemic contributors to burnout has inspired the beginnings of solutions in some parts of Canada, including:

  • Reimagined compensation models, such as with the transformative Longitudinal Family Physician Model in BC
  • Fewer barriers for many international physicians who wish to practice in Canada
  • Institutional supports dedicated to physician wellness
  • Incentives for primary care physicians 
  • Changes to traditional healthcare delivery models
  • Increases to Canada’s medical school capacity

Although these are promising small steps, comprehensive systemic transformation will take time. That’s why we’ve developed the Physician’s Guide to Tackling Burnout to support physicians in implementing individual burnout management strategies within the realities of today’s healthcare environment.

Chapter 2: Factors Contributing to Physician Burnout