Media Contacts

Laura Heinze

Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)



Facts about the Family Practice Residency Program:

  • As of July 2015, UBC’s Family Medicine Residency Program expanded to the Kootenay-Boundary region of the Interior.
  • The Kootenay-Boundary site welcomed its first four residents in July, for a total of eight overall residents across the two-year residency program by July 2016.
  • Kootenay-Boundary is the 17th UBC Family Medicine residency training site, and one of eight rural sites.
  • With over 300 residents any given time, UBC’s Family Medicine residency program is one of the largest in Canada.

Facts about rural physician and health care professionals recruitment:

  • In 2014-15, government spent approximately $100 million on incentives to recruit and retain physicians in B.C.’s rural communities.
  • Recruitment efforts in rural communities are significantly outpacing population growth. In 2014-15, there were 2,441 doctors practicing in rural areas in B.C., compared to 2,260 in 2010-11 – an increase of about 8%. During the same period, population in rural British Columbia has grown by only 2.1%.

By the numbers:

  • According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., as of February 2015, there were 5,942 family doctors registered to practice in B.C. – an increase of 7% over the previous five years (5,548 general practitioners as of December 2009).
  • According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, as of 2013, there were 123 family doctors per 100,000 people in B.C. – compared to the national average of 111.
  • Since 2003, the provincial government has more than doubled (128 to 288) the number of first year undergraduate medical school spaces in B.C. – graduating up to 288 students per year by 2015. The number of entry-level postgraduate residency positions has also increased from 134 in 2003 to 338 positions in 2015, primarily in family medicine. More than 500 additional family physicians have graduated from UBC as a result of the medical school expansion.
  • Statistics from the Canadian Community Health Survey show that in 2014, 84.9% of British Columbians now have a regular physician, up slightly from 84.5% in 2013.
  • In the latest agreement with the Doctors of BC, the Province committed $67 million in new funding towards ongoing support of the work of A GP for Me and other primary-care focused programs. Almost 66,000 patients are now matched with a primary care provider thanks to this work.
  • Nurse practitioners were introduced as an important part of health care teams in B.C. in 2005, helping meet the growing need for primary and community health care. Nurse practitioners work in a variety of settings including community clinics, community health centres, primary care clinics, specialty units and clinics (such as orthopaedics and cardiology), emergency departments, and residential care facilities. As of May 1, 2015, there were 341 practicing nurse practitioners in the province.

Learn more:

To read the Ministry of Health’s strategic document, Setting Priorities for the BC Health System and the accompanying policy papers, please visit: