*For medical emergencies, always call 911*
If you do not have a family doctor, you may have asked yourself, who even needs one? Well the answer is simple, everyone! Finding a family physician that you trust and building a relationship with them over time is not only important for continuum of care, but can result in earlier diagnosis of medical conditions, a more positive patient experience, and overall better health.
However, with Canada facing a shortage of family doctor’s, it has become increasingly challenging to find a family physician. Below we have listed tips and websites to aid in your search, no matter where you are located in Canada.
- Try calling clinics close to you to see if any doctors are taking new patients. Ask to be put on a waitlist if none are available at that time
- Sometimes a doctor may take referrals from current patients, so ask a family member or friend to introduce you to their family doctor
- If you go to a walk-in clinic, ask the doctor if they are accepting new patients (or know of any who are)
- If you see a specialist, ask them if they know of any family doctors they could refer you to
Finding a Family Physician In Your Province
Residents of BC have a few options to find a family physician. There is the Pathways Medical Care Directory, Find a Doctor BC, and many Divisions of Family Practice also offer services to connect patients to a family doctor.
On the Alberta Health Services website, you can find a family physician through the College of Physicians & Surgeons (CPSA) or Primary Care Networks (PCN) search tools.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority’s website lists providers accepting new patients. It is kept as up to date as possible, but make sure to contact clinics directly to confirm availability. You can also use this Physician Search, but again will have to contact clinics directly to check availability.
Family Doctor Finder allows you to register online or by phone and will work with you to find a family physician that fits your needs.
Residents of Ontario have two options, you can register with Health Care Connect and a nurse will find a doctor or nurse practitioner for you, or you can use the Find a Doctor search, but will have to contact clinics directly to check availability.
To find a doctor accepting new patients, residents of Quebec can register for a waiting list through the Quebec Family Doctor Finder. However, it is not available in certain regions and the alternative is to contact your local health centre. Residents of Nunavik can call (819) 964-2905 and residents of the Cree Territory of James Bay can call (819) 855-2744.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador should register with Patient Connect NL to be matched with a physician when one becomes available. This can be done online or by phone at 1-833-913-4679 . You can also check this directory, but note that it may not be representative of all doctors accepting new patients.
Residents of New Brunswick can be put on a waiting list by registering online at Patient Connect NB or calling 811 and will be assigned to a provider on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Residents of Nova Scotia can register for the Need a Family Practice Registry online or by calling 811 and will be notified when a care provider becomes available in their area.
Prince Edward Island
Residents of Prince Edward Island can register for the Provincial Patient Registry online or by calling 1-855-563-2101 (toll free). A doctor or nurse practitioner will be assigned to you when one becomes available.
The Find a Family Doctor Program helps residents of Yukon apply to be matched with a doctor. If one comes available they will be notified by mail.
Unfortunately, the Northwest Territories does not have a program to match residents with physicians, or a registry/waitlist. To find nearby health centers and contact numbers, search your region under the “Regional Portals” menu of this website.
Residents of Nunvaut can use this Health Facilities Map to identify nearby health clinics. Phone numbers are listed so that you can call and check availability.
Still not having much luck? Although having a family physician located near you is ideal, virtual care may be a viable option. Learn more about online options in our article Your Guide to Telemedicine in Canada.