The number of physicians in Alberta increased by 12 per cent from 2015 to 2019, while the population grew by six per cent. Alberta has more physicians per person than the national average, and more than British Columbia, Ontario or Quebec.

“This data confirms that we need new approaches to paying and working with doctors. We spend 15 per cent more per capita on physicians than the national average, but Albertans aren’t seeing better results, and we have the same shortages in smaller communities that we’ve seen for decades. The previous government increased spending by $1 billion a year, yet rural physician supply grew slower than in other provinces. We need to align compensation with patient care, and make sure doctors are practising where Albertans need them.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

The number of new physicians in rural Alberta grew by 6.9 per cent from 2015 to 2019. This is well below the national average, including Quebec (7.5 per cent increase), Ontario (nine per cent increase), and British Columbia (13 per cent increase) – all with much lower spending.

Alberta spends $5.4 billion a year on physicians, the highest level ever in the province and highest per capita of all provinces.

This includes $81 million a year to support rural physician recruitment and retention through various programs. Changes have been made to protect access to rural health care, including abolishing the $60,000 cap on the Rural and Remote Northern Program (RRNP), making this the most generous incentive in the country.