File photo courtesy: Canva.

The number of doctors in Canada is growing at a rate of more than double the country’s population, accelerating an upward trend that’s been taking place for the past twelve years.

The information was released this week in a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Between 2014 and 2018, Canada’s population increased by 4.6 per cent, with the number of physicians growing by 12 per cent over the same time period. In 2018, there were 241 physicians per 100,000 people, the highest number per capita ever recorded.

“For the last 12 years, the growth rate of the physician population has outpaced that of the general population,” reads an excerpt from the report, noting the highest levels of growth were between 2014 and 2018.

The largest single-year increase in physicians was in 2018, with 89,911 doctors in the country. That’s a 3.8 per cent increase over the previous year.

The largest physician growth was in Manitoba and British Columbia, which has seen increases of more than 17 per cent. Quebec experienced the lowest level of growth at 5.9 per cent.

Female-male doctor ratio inching towards parity

Female family physicians appear to be entering the workforce three times faster than males and inching towards gender parity:

“In 2018, 46.6 per cent of family medicine physicians and 37.5 per cent of specialist physicians in Canada were female. Since 2014, the number of female physicians in the workforce has increased by 21.1 per cent, while the number of male physicians has increased by 7.0 per cent.”

The number of female physicians in the Canadian workforce has grown from 11.1 per cent in 1978 to 42.1 per cent in 2018.

Modest pay increases

Between 2017 and 2018, total gross clinical payments through medical plans were $24.7 billion, a 3.9 per cent increase over the previous year.

The average gross clinical payment was $345,000 in 2018, with consultations and visits making up the majority of the payments.

CIHI has been collecting data physician data since 1994 and reporting on it since 1997.

Read the full analysis here.