Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Physician supply increasing twice as quickly as Canadian population

Physician payments also on the rise; fewer doctors migrating

OTTAWA, December 15, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Between 2009 and 2010, growth in the supply of physicians was more than double that of the Canadian population, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). While the physician population increased by 2.3%, a somewhat lower increase than the previous year, the Canadian population as a whole grew only 1.1%. In 2010, there were approximately 69,700 active physicians working in Canada—the greatest number of active physicians there has ever been in this country.

The 2010 edition of CIHI's annual report Supply, Distribution and Migration of Canadian Physicians shows that over the past five years, the growth in the number of physicians in Canada has consistently outpaced population growth. In 1980, there were 151 active physicians per 100,000 Canadians; in 2006, there were 190; and in 2010, there were 203. Over the past five years, the number of physicians and the physician-to-population ratio increased in all provinces and territories except Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

"Although continued investments across Canada to train and retain more doctors means we now have more physicians than ever, it's important to remember that numbers alone do not tell the whole story," says Michael Hunt, CIHI's Director of Pharmaceuticals and Health Workforce Information Services. "The demand for physician services depends on a number of factors, including the health care needs of Canadians, the way care is organized, the number of hours doctors are working and the scope of practice of other health professionals."

CIHI's report also shows a significant increase in the number of medical graduates, both from Canadian universities and abroad. In 2010, Canadian faculties of medicine awarded a record number of medical degrees (2,448), an increase of 30% over 2005 and 55% over 2000. With continued growth in the number of training seats, it is expected that this upward trend in the supply of physicians will continue in the coming years. The number of international medical graduates practising in Canada also grew significantly. In the past five years, the number of international medical graduates increased by 18.0% (versus 9.5% for the number of Canadian-trained physicians), adding more than 2,500 physicians to the Canadian supply.

Physician payments up; total clinical payments near $19 billion

As the number of doctors increases, so do total clinical payments to physicians in Canada. Clinical payments reached close to $19 billion in 2009-2010. The average pay per physician is also increasing: between 2005 and 2010, average payments to doctors increased by 21.5%, or about 4% a year on average. In 2010, the average gross fee-for-service income for a family physician was $239,000, while for a specialist it was $341,000. (Only physicians who earned at least $60,000 in fee-for-service payments are included in this calculation. Fee-for service payments represent about 75% of total payments to physicians in Canada. Gross income covers doctors' salaries and overhead such as office expenses, staff salaries and other practice costs.)

"Expenditures for physicians' services continue to represent the fastest-growing category of health spending," says Geoff Ballinger, CIHI's Manager of Health Human Resources. "Although part of this growth is related to the large number of new physicians Canada has trained and gained over the past decade, part is also due to increases in physicians' average earnings."

Physician migration on the decline

Fewer physicians are migrating within and outside of Canada. For example, there was 20% overall less movement of doctors over provincial and territorial borders in 2010 than in 2006.

As for the national border, physician migration out of Canada decreased by 16% between 2006 and 2010. In total, 202 physicians returned to Canada in 2010, and 173 left for another country.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wine Country Ontario reminds consumers it's time for Icewine

NIAGARA, Ontario, December 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Every year, for the month of January, Wine Country Ontario celebrates one of Canada's most cherished products, Ontario Icewine. Niagara's annual Icewine Festival, unique in the wine world, is a time when consumers have the best opportunities to discover and enjoy the delicious and luscious sensations of Icewine while taking part in unforgettable Icewine-inspired experiences.

While Icewine can and should be enjoyed any time of the year, January is a special time when the Niagara region turns into a wintry wonderland, a magical place like no other. Wine enthusiasts, cocktail fans, foodies and music lovers alike can choose from a collection of Icewine related events reflecting the authentic and local flavours of Ontario.

Events will be hosted throughout the Niagara region and at the outdoor street festivals in the towns of Niagara-on-the-Lake and Jordan Village where visitors can warm up to cozy open fires, admire sparkling ice sculptures and enjoy live entertainment. Activities include an annual Icewine Gala, casual and formal culinary experiences, food and cocktail competitions, an outdoor concert and action-packed winemaker challenges. Guests can also purchase a Discovery Pass, where visitors can choose from over 30 incredible wine and culinary experiences along the Wine Route. And while Icewine is the focus of this annual celebration, visitors also have the opportunity to taste festive sparkling wines and sensational VQA red and white wines.

"There is no doubt that the Icewine Festival is one of Wine Country Ontario's signature celebrations. A visit to Niagara during this magical time is something that is not only unique to Ontario but is quintessentially Canadian" - Ed Madronich, proprietor of Flat Rock Cellars and Chair of the Wine Council of Ontario "for Wine Country Ontario"

View the Icewine Festival video

For information on Icewine facts visit the Wine Country Ontario media centre for the Story on Icewine .