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CMAJ - March 21, 2000JAMC - le 21 mars 2000

Doctors working harder, earning less

CMAJ 2000;162:860

Other Pulse articles / Autres chroniques Médicogramme |

Census data from Statistics Canada indicate that average physician net earnings before income taxes fell between the 1981 and 1996 censuses.

The study of census data, conducted by the Income Statistics Division of Statistics Canada, reveals that the average net earnings of physicians decreased from $107 500 in 1980 (adjusted to 1995 dollars) to $105 200 in 1995. Interestingly, earnings fell for all age groups among physicians under age 55 but increased for those who were 55 or older. For example, physicians in the 60-64 age group saw a 9% increase in average earnings. Given that a majority of physicians are paid on a fee-for-service basis, this may imply that older physicians were working harder and were providing more services in 1995 than in 1980.

The study also compared the average net earnings of male and female physicians. In 1995 the average male physician had net earnings of $117 200, while the average female physician earned $76 000, or 64.8% of what her male colleagues earned. After standardizing for age and full-time/part-time practice, female physicians earned 73.3% as much as males.

Specialists had average net earnings of $116 500 in 1995, compared with $98 700 for general practitioners and family physicians. Male specialists earned, on average, 20% more than male GP/FPs, while the average earnings of female specialists exceeded those of their primary care colleagues by only 7%. — Lynda Buske, Chief, Physician Resources Information Planning, CMA.

Readers may send potential research topics to Patrick Sullivan (sullip@cma.ca; 800 663-7336, x2126; fax 613 565-2382).

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