Job prospects Medical Specialist in Canada

People working as a medical specialist have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada. Find out what the future holds for them in your province or territory. These prospects are applicable to all Specialist physicians (NOC 3111).

Note that these employment prospects were published in December 2019 based on information available at that time. You can read our new special report to learn about the impact of COVID-19 on some occupations in your province or territory. You can also visit the Canadian Online Job Posting Dashboard to find the latest data on the demand and work requirements for this occupation.

Job opportunities over the next 3 years

Explore future job prospects by province and territory.

Location Job prospects
Newfoundland and Labrador Good Good
Prince Edward Island Good Good
Nova Scotia Good Good
New Brunswick Good Good
Quebec Good Good
Ontario Good Good
Manitoba Good Good
Saskatchewan Good Good
Alberta Good Good
British Columbia Good Good
Yukon Territory Undetermined Undetermined
Northwest Territories Undetermined Undetermined
Nunavut Undetermined Undetermined
Legend: The job opportunities can be: Undetermined Limited Fair Good

You can also look at this data on a map. Go to LMI Explore

Labour market conditions over the next 10 years

Take a closer look at the projected labour demand and supply for this occupation over the 2019-2028 period. For more information on future job trends, go to the Canadian Occupational Projections System.


SHORTAGE: This occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level. The section below contains more detailed information regarding the outlook for this occupational group.

Employment in 2018


Median age of workers in 2018


Average retirement age in 2018


Detailed analysis

In order to determine the expected outlook of an occupation, the magnitude of the difference between the projected total numbers of new job seekers and job openings over the whole projection period (2019-2028) is analyzed in conjunction with an assessment of labour market conditions in recent years. The intention is to determine if recent labour market conditions (surplus, balance or shortage) are expected to persist or change over the period 2019-2028. For instance, if the analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings (a shortage of workers) in an occupational group in recent years, the projections are used to assess if this situation will continue over the projection period or if the occupation will move towards balanced conditions.

Over the 2016-2018 period, employment in this occupational grew significantly, despite a decline in 2018. However, the unemployment rate remained extremely low at 0.7% in 2018, limiting employment growth opportunities due to the lack of available workers. While the number of unemployed workers remains low, the number of job vacancies has increased significantly. As a result, in 2018 there was less than one unemployed worker per job vacancy. According to the OECD, Canada currently has 2.8 doctors per 1000 people and is ranked 24th out of 30 OECD countries with respect to the number of doctors per capita. As a comparison, the top three countries, Austria, Norway, and Lithuania have ratios of 5.2, 4.8, and 4.6 doctors per 1000 thousand people respectively1. Hence, analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group.

For Specialist physicians, over the period 2019-2028, new job openings (arising from expansion demand and replacement demand) are expected to total 32,500 , while 20,000 new job seekers (arising from school leavers, immigration and mobility) are expected to be available to fill them.

The labour shortage conditions seen in recent years is expected to persist into the 2019-2028 period, and could even become more acute as the projected number of job openings is expected to be substantially larger than the projected number of job seekers over that period. Job openings will result primarily from expansion demand. Indeed, as the Canadian population ages, the demand for health services is expected to rise. In addition, as a result of population aging, the number of complex health conditions as well as those requiring additional follow-ups is expected to grow, increasing the need for specialist physicians. Consequently, the employment growth rate for these workers is projected to be the highest among all the occupational groups. In addition, retirements are also expected to substantially add job openings, despite the retirement rate being similar to the average for all occupations. Even though these workers tend to be older, they also retire at a much older age. With regard to labour supply, school leavers are expected to represent the main source of job seekers. Access is difficult for people who obtained their medical degree outside Canada. Still, 22% of job seekers are expected to be immigrants completing their certification examinations of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and licensing by the provincial or territorial licensing authority. However, a number of specialist physicians are anticipated to move into management occupations or to become university teachers to prepare the next crop of specialist physicians. In order to prevent a labour shortage, a substantial increase in the number of school leavers would be needed. Nevertheless, this will not be possible in the short term because of the many years of training that a potential worker must go through before being able to work as specialist physician.

1 Source: OECD, March 2020,

Source Canadian Occupational Projections System – ESDC

Labour Market Information Survey
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