Most Quebec medical grads are leaving the province

Despite province’s doctor crisis, Ontario gets 22 percent of Quebec’s new MD grads


According to some new numbers from the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, more than half of doctors who graduate in Quebec are leaving the province, despite its increasingly overburdened and understaffed health system.

The Ottawa-based association says 52 per cent of recent medical grads from McGill University, which is the only English-language medical faculty in the province, are heading elsewhere, with 22 per cent settling in Ontario. The numbers were compiled to reflect where doctors who graduated in 2006 are currently practicing.

The Toronto Star reports that the province is suffering, along with many other provinces, from a severe doctor shortage. “It’s a major preoccupation for Quebecers who have seen nightmarish scenarios recently, including “average” emergency wait times of 16 hours and media reports of overburdened hospitals putting patients not just in hallways but even staff lounges and cafeterias,” according to the newspaper’s Quebec bureau chief.

The numbers also indicate that Ontario is keeping most of its graduates, although a portion moved to western Canada, and that more than half of the medical graduates from Memorial University and Dalhousie University were no longer working in the Maritimes. Again, Ontario got a significant portion – 27 percent- of these new doctors.

Quebec’s education ministry says it costs anywhere from $158,200 to educate a family doctor to $283,600 for a cardiac surgeon.

According to the Star, Gatineau doctor Gilles Aubé, who ran for the Parti Québécois in the December election, is calling for students to sign contracts to remain in Quebec. However, cardiology resident Dr. Martin Bernier says Quebec needs to fix the problem of pay inequality for its doctors and the existence of too much red tape in the medical system.


Most Quebec medical grads are leaving the province

  1. I have a post doctorate fellow who treats me as part of the teaching done at my doctors office in Ottawa. She graduated from McGill. Just one of many. Those of us who moved from Ont to Que now must pay for the difference that is paid to doctors in Ont from what is actually paid by QHIP. If the pay scales were the same then maybe these doctors would stay in Quebec. Also there seems to be no encouragement from the provincial government to keep them in Quebec. Interestingly there are more “anglos” who left and who are now returning to Quebec. Most of us are bilingual and are quite comfortable in the “new” Quebec where our talents are welcomed.

  2. The Francophone doctors don’t leave. Why is Quebec subsidizing doctors for Ontario. Perhaps Quebec should cut funding to McGill and give it to Universities that train doctors who stay in Quebec.

  3. Sam, if the Francophone doctors don’t leave, maybe that’s a sign. Perhaps the Quebec government should look into why the Anglophone doctors are leaving, instead of looking for someone to punish.

  4. I agree with Matt and what Dr. Bernier said in the article. They must find a way to fix the problem at the source (health system in general) instead of scaring away even more potential doctors.

  5. If all Quebec students were required to take at least 2 French classes to get their degrees than the med students would be better prepared to live and work in Francophone Quebec.

  6. Given that medical residents in Quebec have the lowest salaries in the country, it should come as no surprise that English-speaking MD graduates from McGill enter English programs outside the province.
    Similarly, students graduating from Quebec’s only English-language medical school tend to choose to continue in English-language residency programs, which are available in Quebec only at McGill and at 13 different schools in the rest of the country. I question the relevance of the interpretations offered concerning these surveys – they reflect agendas more than insight into the data.

  7. Frankly, I am considering moving out of Quebec because of the medical system. I have moved form Hamilton to Montreal for work, but I have been seeing nightmares with the Quebec Medical System. Even the poorest country in the world has a medical system better than the quebec one. I think many new immigrants as me are considering moving out of quebec – Health is paramount

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