New guide to health human resources in Canada: CIHI

Information on: Canada’s Health Care Providers, 2007

December 3, 2007 – Effectively planning and managing Canada’s health care workforce is vital to ensuring Canadians can access health services when and where they need them. Today, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) presents Canada’s Health Care Providers, 2007, a comprehensive reference on the country’s health care workforce. This new report looks at how the health provider landscape has evolved, examines the complexities of health human resources planning and management in the current environment and provides the latest information on supply trends for various health professions.

Some highlights of the report:

Health care workforce

  • Size: In 2006, just over 1,000,000 people in Canada worked directly in health occupations; this represented 6% of the total Canadian workforce.
  • Growth: From 1996 to 2005, growth of health professions varied; for example, dental hygienists experienced a growth of 45%, pharmacists 29% and medical laboratory technologists 6%.
  • Age and sex: Women make up the majority of the health workforce (77% compared to 47% in the general workforce). The health workforce is also slightly older than the general working population, at an average age of 41.9, compared to a Canadian average of 39.6 in 2005.

Health of the workforce

  • Health: Those working in health care report levels of good health (96%) similar to the general Canadian workforce (94%). In 2003, 1.1% of health care workers versus 3.8% of the general labour force reported being injured at work.
  • Absenteeism: Despite reporting that they are in good health, health care workers have had a higher average number of lost work days when compared to the rest of the working population over the last 20 years. On average in 2006, the typical Canadian health care worker aged 25 to 54 missed almost 12 days of work due to his or her own illness or disability. This compares to an average of seven days of work missed for all employed Canadians.

Work environment

  • Part-time work: In 2005, more members of the health care workforce (24%) than the Canadian labour force (18%) worked part-time. Midwives, dieticians and nutritionists, audiologists, psychologists, RNs and occupational therapists all had a higher proportion of their workforce that worked part-time when compared with all health occupations.

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health.