Physician Burnout in Canada: Challenges and Possible Future Interventions


  • Karuna Manchanda School of Health Administration, Dalhousie University



Background: Physicians are the backbone of the health-care industry, and the state of their well-being significantly influences the productivity, financial conditions and overall performance of the health care system. The objectives of this literature review are to highlight the challenges posed by physician burnout to the Canadian health care system and suggest possible recommendations to reduce this burnout. Methods: Database searches were conducted to study the effects of physician burnout on the health care system. Websites of organizations like the Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Medical Protective Association, Canadian Collaborative Centre for Physician Resources and Medical Council of Canada were searched. Research papers from Canada, the United States, Europe and Hong Kong were assessed to support the existence of burnout among physicians in Canada and globally. Results: Burnout affects the Canadian health care system in terms of estimated cost, patient safety, productivity, performance, COVID-19 pandemic response and future medical workforce supply. It was found that the level of physician burnout is increasing notably among the Canadian workforce, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding more stress to the situation. The costs of burnout rendered to the health care system are continually increasing each year in Canada. Many physicians across the world are considering retiring early, while others are considering quitting the profession altogether, adding to the pressure already imposed on the physicians remaining in the system. Recommendations to reduce burnout among physicians from the literature were studied as part of this review. Conclusion: Physician burnout has several negative impacts on the health care system. This literature review provides a concise overview of the major challenges posed by burnout among Canadian physicians. It will help contribute to plans and strategies to reduce physician burnout in the future.

Author Biography

Karuna Manchanda, School of Health Administration, Dalhousie University

Masters Student at School of Health Administration


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