Health workforce in Canada: Overview

November 24, 2022 — Health care providers play a vital role in protecting and improving the health of people in their communities. CIHI collects supply and demographic data on more than 30 different groups of health care professionals. This information can be used to help plan for a sustainable and equitable health workforce. Learn more in the release of Health Workforce in Canada, 2017 to 2021: Overview.

Note: The following data and findings reflect the most recent information available from the 2020–2021 data cycle.

Key findings

  • Annual growth varies across Canada’s health care professions.
    • The supply for some health care professional groups declined between 2020 and 2021, including health information management professionalsReference i (-18.8%), genetic counsellorsReference i (-11.1%) and medical laboratory technologistsReference i (-0.6%).
    • Other professions saw an increase in supply. The fastest-growing groups of health care professionals in 2021 were physician assistantsReference i (17.9%), nurse practitioners (10.7%) and social workersReference i (7.5%).
  • ParamedicsReference i and dental hygienists were more likely to be younger compared with other health care professionals — more than 1 in 5 were younger than age 30.
    • By contrast, about 1 in 4 psychologistsReference i and physicians were 60 and older.
  • Women continue to play a vital role in the health workforce.
    • Women represented more than 97% of the supply of midwives,Reference i dental assistantsReference i and dental hygienists.
    • Men represented the majority of the supply for paramedicsReference i (63.5%) and chiropractorsReference i (60%).

Featured resources

Data tables

These data tables offer comparable information for more than 30 groups of health care professionals by province/territory in Canada.

Download data tables(XLSX)

A profile of selected mental health and substance use health care providers in Canada, 2021

Take a closer look at this visual of mental health and substance use health care providers in Canada.

View infographic 


Use this guide to better understand the strengths and limitations of Health Workforce in Canada, 2017 to 2021: Overview data, as well as the data sources and definitions.

View methodology notes(PDF)

Related resources


Back to Reference 1 in text
Counts may be understated due to the non-regulatory status of the profession across jurisdictions. Please use with caution.

How to cite:

Canadian Institute for Health Information. Health workforce in Canada: Overview [Product release]. Accessed January 29, 2023.

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