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New Data Shows There Are Now 2.5 Million Ontarians Without a Family Doctor  

July 11, 2024

The Ontario College of Family Physicians is calling for urgent supports to ensure family doctors can provide Ontarians with the care they need 

The list of Ontarians without a family doctor continues to grow. New data shows the number of Ontarians without a family doctor has reached 2.5 million, up from 1.8 million in 2020. More than 160,000 people were added to the list of those without a family doctor in a six-month period alone, according to new data.

“Every Ontarian deserves a family doctor, and patients should be able to find one in their community,” said Dr. Mekalai Kumanan, President, Ontario College of Family Physicians. “System-wide issues are stretching family doctors far beyond capacity. We need to address the pressing issues facing family doctors today.” 

New data also shows that 670,000 Ontarians live at least 51 km from their family doctor, meaning they too cannot access care where and when they need it, according to research from Upstream Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital. More than 130,000 Ontarians live more than 200 km from their family doctor, the distance between Toronto and areas such as Parry Sound, Belleville or London.   

“It’s too far and it’s impacting how Ontarians receive care because they are not seeing their family doctor – or any family doctor – as often as patients who live closer,” said Dr. Archna Gupta, family doctor and researcher with Upstream Labs. “Our data shows that without a family doctor nearby, patients may need to rely on hospital emergency departments more frequently and do not get screened for cancer as often.” 

Family doctors are the foundation of our healthcare system, and the care and expertise they provide cannot be replaced. Having a regular family physician improves health outcomes, reduces mortality, decreases hospitalizations and reduces healthcare costs. 

“While some progress has been made by the Ontario government, including investments in teams to support family doctors, and a commitment to cut the unnecessary paperwork family doctors face, more change to support time with patients is needed,” said Deepy Sur, CEO, Ontario College of Family Physicians. “Ontario can implement changes with urgency so the impacts can be felt by family doctors and patients right away.” 

A solution that could support family doctors now is to dramatically reduce the amount of paperwork. Ontario’s family doctors report spending up to 19 hours a week on paperwork – time that would be better spent with patients.  

Additionally, many family doctors are reporting they are leaving the profession because compensation has not kept pace with inflation and does not reflect the increasingly complex care they provide.  

Family doctors want to continue to be there for Ontarians, but they need more support to do so.  


*New data shows the latest trends in Ontarians who do not have a family doctor, as of September 2023. This is the most recent data available. 


About the Ontario College of Family Physicians    

The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) represents more than 18,000 family physicians, including residents, retired family physicians, and more than 15,000 who are working in communities providing care to patients. Our members care for Ontarians across the health system from comprehensive community practices to hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care clinics, to palliative care and more. The OCFP supports its members by providing evidence-based education and professional development, promoting and recognizing leadership excellence in family medicine, and advocating for the vital role family physicians play in delivering the highest quality care to patients and families across Ontario.  

Media Contact  
Jay Scull 
Manager, Communications, OCFP    

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