Media Contacts

Laura Heinze

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

Sharon Shore

Senior Manager, Communications and Media Relations
Doctors of BC
604 638-2832 or 604 306-1866 (pager)



Facts about the Practice Ready Assessment program:

  • In July 2015, 14 international medical graduates were assessed as practice ready and placed in communities of need: McBride, Hazelton, Quesnel, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John (two), Terrace, Castlegar, Lillooet (two), Invermere, Port Hardy (two) and Powell River.
  • Another 16 international medical graduates will be assessed in the fall of 2015 – for a total of 30 practice ready family physicians per year.
  • Two additional cohorts of 15 internationally trained physicians will be assessed in 2016 based on funding and program evaluation.
  • Internationally trained physicians who successfully complete the assessment program can set up practice in one of the designated communities in need.

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 BC, 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.
  • The provincial government has more than doubled the number of first year undergraduate medical school spaces in B.C., from 128 to 288 between 2003 and 2011. The number of entry-level postgraduate residency positions 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% from 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. Since B.C.’s first group of nurse practitioners graduated in 2005, 341 nurse practitioners have been licensed to practice in the province.

Learn more:

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