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431-00180 (Health)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English



  • Statistics Canada cites that approximately 4.8 million Canadians do not have a regular doctor;
  • Despite the number of physicians in Canada growing, the number of Canadians without a regular doctor remains stable;
  • 92 per cent of physicians work in urban centres, while just 8 per cent work in rural areas; and,
  • In Victoria and Sidney, B.C., average wait time for a walk-in clinic are 92 and 180 minutes respectively.

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to:

  • Work with all the provinces and territories in Canada to come to a holistic and fair solution to Canada's family doctor shortage.

Response by the Minister of Health

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Darren Fisher

The Government of Canada is committed to working with provinces and territories to ensure that every Canadian has access to a family physician or primary health care team.  Despite a record number of physicians practicing in Canada, finding a health care provider is still an issue for some Canadians. With an increasing need for care in the community, our health care system must adapt so that all Canadians can get the care they need, regardless of where they live.


The Government of Canada recognises that health is a shared responsibility and that the provinces and territories are responsible for the administration and delivery of health care and the management of their health workforce. In the face of COVID-19, provincial and territorial governments have rapidly expanded opportunities for Canadians to access publicly funded health care services virtually so that they can continue to safety access necessary care.


On May 3, 2020, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $240.5 million to help provinces and territories accelerate their efforts to meet health care needs through virtual tools and digital health applications, including telephone, text and/or video-conferencing. This funding will help Canadians to be able to virtually access the services and resources they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, including education, information, and mental health and substance use supports. The federal government is working in partnership with provinces, territories and key stakeholders, like Canada Health Infoway, on how these resources can best meet the needs of Canadians.   This will include support for technology and infrastructure that allows for secure messaging and information sharing between patients and providers, secure video-conferencing, remote patient monitoring, patient access to COVID-19 and other lab results, and support for integration of technology into existing systems.


The Government of Canada also provides ongoing support to improve access to family physicians in underserved areas. Family doctors and family medicine residents in training with an accredited medical school in Canada are eligible for Employment and Social Development Canada’s Student Loan forgiveness of up to $8,000 per year, to a maximum of $40,000, provided they practice in underserved areas. Acknowledging the importance of nurses and nurse practitioners in the delivery of primary care, nurse practitioners and registered nurses, willing to work in underserved areas, are also eligible for federal Canada Student Loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 per year, to a maximum of $20,000.


The federal government will continue to work with provinces and territories to help to address gaps in access to primary health care.

Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
May 12, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00180)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia

Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.

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