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Blog / How Much Do Doctors Make In Canada 2023 Update

How Much Do Doctors Make in Canada? (2023 Update)

Written by Seza on Aug 7, 2023

How Much Do Doctors Make in Canada? (2023 Update)

Are you a pre-med student in Canada with big dreams of becoming a doctor? Curiosity about the journey ahead might have brought you here, but amidst all the excitement lies a pressing question that lingers in your mind: “How much do doctors really make in Canada?” 

As you embark on your path to medicine, it’s only natural to seek clarity on the financial aspects of this noble profession. But fear not, for in this blog, we’ll delve deep into the current doctor salary landscape in Canada, providing you with the most up-to-date information for 2023. Get ready to explore the earning potential of medical professionals, uncover factors that influence their salaries, and discover the highest-paying specialties across different provinces. 

Let’s go!


Understanding Doctor Salaries in Canada

As an aspiring medical student in Canada, understanding doctor salaries holds profound significance in shaping your future career decisions. While medicine is undoubtedly a noble and fulfilling profession, it’s essential to be well-informed about the financial aspects that come with it. 

A clear grasp of doctor salaries allows you to make informed choices regarding your medical specialty, preferred location of practice, and long-term financial planning. Knowledge about the factors that affect a doctor’s salary in Canada will empower you to navigate the complexities of this rewarding profession strategically. Let’s delve into these vital considerations to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the financial landscape for medical professionals in the Great White North.


Significance of Knowing Doctor Salaries for Pre-Med Students

For pre-med students in Canada, the pursuit of becoming a doctor involves years of dedication, commitment, and financial investment. As you embark on this rigorous journey, understanding the earning potential of a medical career is paramount. Knowing doctor salaries not only helps you set realistic financial expectations but also influences critical decisions like choosing a medical specialty.

For instance, let’s compare the salaries of a family medicine physician and a neurosurgeon. Family medicine doctors typically earn a stable income, but neurosurgeons, being one of the highest-paying medical specialties, have the potential for significantly higher earnings. By being aware of such differences, you can align your passions and career aspirations with your financial goals.

Moreover, having insights into doctor salaries allows you to evaluate the return on investment for the extensive education and training required to become a medical professional. Medical school can be financially demanding, with many students taking on substantial debt to finance their studies. 

Read More: Why Canadian Med Schools Love MCAT CARS Section?

List of the Factors Affecting a Doctor’s Salary in Canada

Several factors influence a doctor’s salary in Canada, contributing to the variations seen across medical specialties and geographic regions. 

Here are some key factors to consider:


  1. Education: The level of education and training required for a specific medical specialty can impact salary levels. For example, becoming a specialist often involves additional years of residency and fellowship training, which can lead to higher earnings.


  1. Experience: Experience plays a crucial role in determining a doctor’s salary. Established and experienced physicians may earn more than those who are newly graduated or in the early stages of their careers.


  1. Location: The province or territory where doctor practices can significantly affect their salary. Urban centers and areas with high demand for medical services tend to offer higher compensation to attract healthcare professionals.


  1. Specialty: Medical specialties vary in terms of earning potential. High-demand and specialized fields, such as neurosurgery or cardiology, often command higher salaries compared to more general specialties.


  1. Demand/Supply: The demand for certain medical specialties can influence their salaries. Specialties facing a shortage of practitioners may offer more competitive compensation to attract doctors.


  1. Compensation and Benefits: The structure of compensation packages, including base salary, bonuses, incentives, and benefits, can impact overall earnings.


  1. Work-Life Balance: Some specialties may offer a better work-life balance, which can be an essential consideration for doctors when choosing their careers. A balanced lifestyle may sometimes come at the expense of higher earnings.


  1. Gross vs. Net Salary: Understanding the difference between gross and net salary is crucial. It’s essential to factor in taxes, insurance, and other deductions that can significantly affect take-home pay.


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Doctor Salary Trends in Canada: A 2023 Update

As the healthcare landscape evolves, so do the trends in doctor salaries across Canada. In this section, we will dive into the latest data to provide a comprehensive view of the current salary trends for medical professionals in the Great White North. According to recent data, the average salary for a doctor in Canada is an impressive $274,307 per year. This represents a notable increase of 3.5% from the previous year, showcasing the ongoing growth in medical professionals’ earnings. 


Among the provinces, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia continue to be the highest paying, while Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador offer comparatively lower salaries. While these figures provide a general overview, it’s crucial to note that doctor salaries can vary significantly depending on the medical specialty and level of experience. For instance, specialized medical practitioners, such as neurosurgeons or cardiologists, can command much higher salaries compared to family medicine doctors.


Current Trends in Doctor Salaries Across Canada

As of 2023, the average physician’s salary in Canada continues to show an upward trajectory. Recent reports show that the average physician’s salary in Canada is $274,544 per year, ranging from $83,379 to a staggering $414,389.

These indicate the diversity of earnings among medical professionals, taking into account various specialties, experience levels, and geographic locations. The variation in salary is influenced by factors we explored earlier, such as education, experience, specialty, and demand/supply dynamics.


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The Changes in Doctor Salaries Compared to Previous Years

Analyzing the historical data, it becomes evident that doctor salaries have experienced notable changes over the years. For instance, as of April 2022, the average gross payment per physician in Canada was reported to be $354,000. 

This reflects a significant increase when compared to data from previous years. The growth in doctor salaries can be attributed to factors like advancements in medical technology, changes in healthcare policy, and increased demand for healthcare services. As we delve deeper into the data, certain emerging trends and patterns in doctor salaries come to light. Notably, the variations in earnings across medical specialties remain significant. 

Family medicine doctors, on average, earned approximately $287,000, medical specialists earned around $370,000, and surgical specialists earned an average of $487,000^1. These differences indicate the unique financial landscapes that doctors encounter based on their chosen specialties.

It’s important to keep in mind that these figures represent the gross amount billed to the provincial government and do not factor in practice overhead, taxes, or other expenses. Approximately 20-30% of the gross salary goes towards covering these expenses, giving a more accurate reflection of take-home pay for physicians.

Understanding the current trends in doctor salaries is vital as it provides a glimpse into the financial rewards and considerations that come with a medical career. As the healthcare system continues to evolve, being aware of these trends can help aspiring medical professionals make informed decisions and plan for their future in the dynamic world of medicine.

Furthermore, certain regions experiencing a shortage of doctors have witnessed a surge in salaries to attract and retain healthcare providers. In provinces or rural areas with a scarcity of medical professionals, healthcare facilities and organizations often offer higher remuneration packages to entice doctors to work in these underserved regions.


8 Factors Affecting Doctor Salaries in Canada

Aspiring medical professionals often wonder about the factors that influence doctor salaries in Canada. In this section, we will explore the key elements that play a significant role in determining the earning potential of medical practitioners in the Great White North. Understanding these factors will not only provide you with valuable insights but also equip you to make informed decisions about your medical career and financial future.


Factor #1: Education and Training Requirements

The level of education and training required to become a doctor is a crucial factor in determining their salary. Medical professionals undergo years of rigorous education, including obtaining a medical degree from a recognized institution and completing specialized residency and fellowship programs. Those who pursue advanced medical degrees or attain board certifications in specialized fields often command higher salaries due to their extended and specialized training.

For example, a family medicine doctor with a general medical degree may have a starting salary, whereas a neurosurgeon, who completed an additional 7 to 8 years of specialized training, can earn significantly more due to their expertise and the complexity of their practice.


Factor #2: Experience Levels

Experience is a vital determinant of a doctor’s salary. As medical professionals gain experience in their respective fields, their expertise and skills grow, making them more valuable to healthcare organizations. Physicians with extensive experience typically earn higher salaries compared to those who are newly graduated or in the early stages of their careers.

For instance, a family medicine doctor who has been practicing for a few years may see an increase in salary as they gain experience and build a patient base. Similarly, a surgeon with years of experience may earn more than a newly qualified surgeon due to their track record of successful surgeries and patient outcomes.


Factor #3: Location (Provinces and Territories)

The geographic location of a doctor’s practice significantly impacts their salary. Provinces and territories in Canada have varying healthcare demands and cost of living, leading to differences in compensation packages. Urban centers and regions with higher demand for medical services, such as metropolitan areas, tend to offer higher salaries to attract and retain healthcare professionals. 

On the other hand, remote or rural areas facing shortages of medical practitioners may offer more competitive compensation packages to incentivize doctors to work in those areas. For example, a family medicine doctor working in a bustling city like Toronto or Vancouver may earn a higher salary due to the higher cost of living and increased demand for medical services.

In contrast, a family medicine doctor in a rural area may receive additional financial incentives, such as housing allowances or student loan repayment programs, to encourage them to practice in underserved regions.


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Factor #4: Specialty Choices

Medical specialties differ in terms of earning potential. Specialized fields, such as neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, cardiology, and radiology, often command higher salaries due to their specialized skills and the demand for their services. 

Conversely, medical professionals in more general fields, such as family medicine or pediatrics, may earn comparatively lower salaries. As you consider your medical career path, keep in mind that your chosen specialty can significantly impact your future earning potential. When selecting a medical field, it is essential to align your passion and aptitude with your financial goals.

For instance, a cardiologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating heart conditions may earn a higher salary than a general practitioner due to the specialized expertise required in cardiology and the complexity of the cases they handle.


Factor #5: Demand and Supply in the Healthcare Industry

The demand and supply of healthcare services in specific regions or medical specialties influence doctor salaries. Areas with a scarcity of doctors and a high demand for medical services tend to offer higher salaries to attract and retain healthcare professionals. Conversely, regions with an oversupply of doctors may experience salary compression, where salaries remain relatively stable or grow at a slower rate.

For instance, in regions where there is a shortage of medical specialists, hospitals and healthcare facilities may offer competitive compensation packages to entice specialists to practice in those areas. On the other hand, areas with an abundance of medical professionals may see salaries stabilize or grow at a slower rate due to increased competition.


Factor #6: Compensation Packages and Benefits

In addition to base salary, compensation packages for doctors may include various benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, malpractice insurance, and allowances for professional development and continuing medical education.  These additional benefits can significantly impact the overall compensation and job satisfaction of medical professionals.

For example, a comprehensive benefits package, including medical, dental, and vision insurance, can enhance a doctor’s overall compensation and provide valuable support for their well-being and work-life balance.


Factor #7: Work-life Balance Considerations

Work-life balance is becoming an increasingly crucial consideration for doctors when evaluating job opportunities. Practices or healthcare organizations that prioritize work-life balance may offer more attractive compensation packages to entice physicians seeking a fulfilling career and personal life harmony.

As you progress in your medical career, consider your priorities and seek opportunities that align with your desired work-life balance. For instance, some medical practices may offer flexible scheduling options or reduced on-call duties to support a healthy work-life balance for their physicians.

Keep in mind that while financial considerations are essential, they are just one aspect of a fulfilling and rewarding medical career. As you navigate the intricacies of becoming a medical professional, remember to stay true to your passion for medicine and your commitment to positively impacting the health and well-being of patients.


Average Doctor Salary in Canada by Province: A 2023 Update


Province Average Salary (CAD)
Alberta 289,000
British Columbia 164,939
Manitoba 252,974
New Brunswick 197,900
Newfoundland 200,990
Nova Scotia 197,386
Ontario 234,109
Prince Edward Island 223,348


As medical professionals embark on their careers, understanding the variations in doctor salaries across different provinces in Canada becomes a critical consideration. In this section, we will compare and contrast the average doctor salaries across various provinces, shedding light on the regions with the highest and lowest compensation for physicians. 

Doctor salaries can significantly vary depending on the province where medical professionals choose to practice. While Canada has a relatively consistent healthcare system, regional factors, such as cost of living, demand for medical services, and population demographics, influence the average compensation for physicians.

For example, a family physician in British Columbia may have a different salary compared to a family physician in Ontario, despite providing similar medical services. For instance, physicians considering moving from one province to another should thoroughly research and compare the compensation packages, cost of living, and potential career opportunities. 

While a higher salary may seem appealing, it’s essential to consider other factors such as work-life balance, job satisfaction, and available resources in the region.


Canadian Provinces with the Highest and Lowest Average Doctor Salaries

Among the provinces, several regions stand out for offering the highest average doctor salaries. Cities such as Calgary, AB, boast an average salary of $297,618 per year for physicians, making it an attractive destination for healthcare professionals seeking higher compensation. 

Similarly, Vancouver, BC, and Brampton, ON, offer competitive average salaries of $293,885 and $284,691 per year, respectively, attracting skilled medical practitioners to their bustling healthcare markets. On the other hand, certain provinces may have lower average doctor salaries due to factors such as a lower demand for medical services or a more affordable cost of living. 

For example, provinces with smaller populations or rural areas may have fewer healthcare facilities, leading to less demand for doctors and, consequently, lower salaries.Medical professionals looking for competitive salaries might consider pursuing opportunities in provinces known for higher compensation. 

However, they should also weigh other factors, such as lifestyle preferences, proximity to family and support networks, and career growth opportunities, before making a decision.

Average Doctor Salary in Canada by Province [2023 Update]

Potential Reasons for Salary Variations Among Canadian Provinces

  1. Cost of Living: Provinces with higher living expenses, such as British Columbia and Ontario, may offer higher salaries to offset the increased costs for medical professionals. However, it’s essential to consider whether higher salaries translate to a better quality of life, as higher living costs might offset the salary difference.


  1. Demand for Medical Services: Provinces experiencing a higher demand for medical services, particularly in specialized fields or underserved regions, may offer higher compensation to attract and retain doctors. For example, provinces with aging populations may have higher demand for geriatric care, leading to higher salaries for specialists in that field.


  1. Population Demographics: The age and health demographics of a province’s population can influence the demand for medical services and thus impact doctor salaries. Provinces with a higher proportion of elderly residents may require more specialized medical care, leading to higher salaries for certain medical specialties.


  1. Physician Shortages: Provinces facing a shortage of doctors in specific specialties or rural areas may offer financial incentives to attract physicians. These incentives may include signing bonuses, student loan forgiveness programs, or relocation assistance.


  1. Healthcare Funding: Variations in healthcare funding and budget allocations across provinces can influence the resources available for physician compensation. Provinces with higher healthcare budgets may have more funds to allocate to competitive salaries.


  1. Government Policies: Provincial governments may implement policies or incentives to attract and retain medical professionals, affecting salary trends. For example, some provinces may offer grants or tax benefits to doctors willing to practice in underserved regions.

It is essential to balance financial considerations with other personal and professional goals when choosing where to practice medicine in Canada. This way, you can set yourself on a path toward a fulfilling and successful medical career in your preferred region of Canada. 


List of Highest Paying Doctor Specialties in Canada 2023


Specialty Average Salary (CAD)
Ophthalmology $496,108
Urologists $432,646
Thoracic Surgeons $409,730
Gastroenterologists $398,378
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons $395,018
Dermatology $359,953
Plastic Surgeons $359,398
Oncologists $341,140
Anesthesiologists $339,569
Pathologists $335,303
Cardiologists $324,360
Rheumatologists $305,906
Endocrinologists $294,366
Orthopedic Surgeons $243,039
Radiation Oncologists $157,043
Hematologists $156,832
Pulmonary Medicine $70,980

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As medical professionals embark on their careers, understanding the variations in doctor salaries across different provinces in Canada becomes a critical consideration. In this section, we will compare and contrast the average doctor salaries across various provinces, shedding light on the regions with the highest and lowest compensation for physicians. 

By exploring potential reasons for these salary variations, we aim to provide aspiring doctors with valuable insights to inform their career choices and financial planning.


Highest-Paying Medical Specialties in Canada

  1. Neurosurgery: Neurosurgeons specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system, including the brain and spine. Due to the complexity and critical nature of their work, neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals in Canada. These specialists often handle intricate surgeries, such as brain tumor removals and spinal cord interventions.


  1. Thoracic Surgery: Thoracic surgeons focus on surgeries related to the chest, including the heart and lungs. Their specialized skills and the critical nature of the procedures they perform contribute to their high earning potential. These surgeons are crucial in treating life-threatening conditions like heart diseases and lung cancers.


  1. Orthopedic Surgery: Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating musculoskeletal conditions, such as bone fractures and joint injuries. Their expertise in surgeries related to bones and joints makes them highly sought-after and well-compensated in the medical field. These specialists play a vital role in helping patients regain mobility and functionality after traumatic injuries.


  1. Plastic Surgery: Plastic surgeons specialize in reconstructive and cosmetic surgeries, enhancing patients’ appearance and restoring form and function. Due to the specialized nature of their work and the demand for cosmetic procedures, plastic surgeons enjoy substantial compensation. They perform surgeries like breast reconstructions and facelifts.


  1. Urology: Urologists diagnose and treat conditions related to the urinary system and male reproductive organs. Their expertise in addressing complex urological issues contributes to their high earning potential. Urologists manage conditions like kidney stones and prostate cancer.


  1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons focus on surgeries involving the mouth, jaws, and facial structures. Their specialized skills in performing complex facial surgeries contribute to their competitive salaries. These surgeons perform procedures like corrective jaw surgeries and facial reconstructions.


  1. Radiation Oncology: Radiation oncologists specialize in treating cancer using radiation therapy. Their vital role in cancer care and treatment contributes to their high earnings in the medical field. They use advanced technology to deliver targeted radiation to cancerous tissues.


  1. Cardiology: Cardiologists specialize in diagnosing and treating heart conditions. Due to the critical nature of their work and the increasing prevalence of heart-related diseases, cardiologists are highly compensated. They manage conditions like heart attacks and heart failures.


Analyzing the Contributing Reasons

The high earnings in these medical specialties can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost, the specialized nature of the work in these fields requires extensive training, education, and expertise. 

Physicians who pursue these specialties invest additional years in residency and fellowship programs to master the complex procedures and treatments unique to their area of specialization.Furthermore, the demand for services in these fields plays a crucial role in determining compensation. 

For example, the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, an aging population, and advancements in medical technology have led to a higher demand for specialized care in cardiology, oncology, and orthopedic surgery, among others.

Additionally, the critical nature of the procedures performed by these specialists contributes to their higher earnings. Surgeons, such as neurosurgeons and thoracic surgeons, deal with delicate and life-threatening conditions, necessitating precision, skill, and expertise, which is reflected in their salaries. Moreover, the limited number of physicians specializing in these fields creates a higher demand for their services, leading to more competitive compensation packages to attract and retain these specialized professionals.


Actionable Advice for Pre-Med Students in Canada

Aspiring medical professionals considering these high-paying specialties should carefully consider their passions, strengths, and career goals when choosing their path. Pursuing a specialty that aligns with their interests and aptitudes will not only lead to financial rewards but also a fulfilling and successful medical career in Canada.


  1. Explore Your Interests: Take time to explore various medical specialties during your medical education. Shadow physicians in different fields, attend specialty-specific conferences, and engage in research to gain insights into the areas that spark your interest.


  1. Assess Your Skills: Reflect on your strengths and talents. Consider the procedures and patient populations that resonate with you the most, and evaluate how your skills align with the demands of different medical specialties.


  1. Talk to Professionals: Seek advice from practicing physicians in the specialties you are considering. Connect with mentors or professionals through networking events or online platforms to gain firsthand insights into the challenges and rewards of each field.


  1. Consider Work-Life Balance: While high-paying specialties can be financially rewarding, they may also demand extensive working hours and on-call responsibilities. Assess your preferences for work-life balance and lifestyle considerations when choosing a specialty.


  1. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of industry trends and advancements in medical research. Stay informed about the demand for various specialties and how medical advancements may impact the future outlook of different fields.


  1. Seek Guidance: Consult with your medical school advisors and mentors. They can provide guidance on matching your interests and strengths with the right specialty and offer valuable advice for long-term career planning.

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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Become a Doctor in Canada

Becoming a doctor in Canada is a noble and rewarding career path that requires dedication, hard work, and a strong commitment to patient care. If you aspire to don the white coat and make a difference in people’s lives, follow this comprehensive step-by-step guide to navigate your journey toward becoming a medical professional in Canada.


Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step on the path to becoming a doctor in Canada is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. While there is no specific undergraduate major required for medical school, most aspiring doctors pursue degrees in science-related fields, such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry. During your undergraduate years, focus on maintaining a high GPA, participating in extracurricular activities, and gaining clinical experience through volunteering or internships.

Read More: Pre-Med Guide for Applying to Med Schools


Step 2: Write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized exam that assesses your knowledge of the sciences, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. Medical schools in Canada use MCAT scores as part of their admissions criteria.  Prepare thoroughly for the MCAT by enrolling in preparatory courses, utilizing study resources, and taking practice exams to familiarize yourself with the test format and content.


Step 3: Apply to Medical School

After completing your bachelor’s degree and obtaining a competitive MCAT score, it’s time to apply to medical schools in Canada. The application process typically involves submitting an online application through the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) portal and providing supporting documents, such as academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.


Step 4: Complete Medical School

Once accepted into medical school, you will embark on a rigorous and challenging four-year program. Medical school curriculum covers a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical medicine. During the first two years, you will focus on classroom-based learning, while the latter two years involve hands-on clinical rotations in various medical specialties.


Step 5: Pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE)

After graduating from medical school, you will need to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Part II. These exams assess your clinical knowledge and skills and are required for licensure as a medical doctor in Canada.


Step 6: Complete Residency Training

Following medical school and successful completion of the MCCQE exams, you will enter a residency program in your chosen medical specialty. Residency training typically lasts two to seven years, depending on the specialty. During residency, you will work under the supervision of experienced physicians, gaining practical experience and specialized training in your chosen field.


Step 7: Obtain Licensure

Upon completing your residency training, you must apply for licensure with the medical regulatory authority in the province where you plan to practice. Each province has its licensing requirements, which typically include passing the MCCQE Part II, meeting specific practice hours, and demonstrating competency in medical skills.


Step 8: Optional: Pursue Fellowship or Subspecialty Training

If you wish to specialize further in a specific area of medicine, you may choose to pursue fellowship or subspecialty training after completing your residency. This advanced training allows you to develop expertise in a particular subspecialty, such as pediatric cardiology or geriatric psychiatry.


Step 9: Begin Your Medical Career

Congratulations! You are now a licensed medical doctor in Canada. You can choose to work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or private practice. Your medical journey has equipped you with the knowledge and skills to provide compassionate care to patients and contribute to the advancement of healthcare in Canada. Throughout your journey to becoming a doctor, remember to stay focused, persevere through challenges, and embrace continuous learning. 

The path to becoming a medical professional in Canada may be demanding, but the rewards of making a positive impact on the lives of patients and the community are immeasurable. Your dedication to the art and science of medicine will pave the way for a fulfilling and meaningful career as a doctor in Canada.

In Canada, the process of obtaining a medical degree, also known as an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery), is a rigorous and rewarding journey that requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to patient care. The path to becoming a medical professional in Canada involves several key steps:

List of Highest Paying Doctor Specialties in Canada 2023

Salary of an MBBS Doctor in Canada

Aspiring medical professionals who complete their MBBS degree often wonder about the earning potential that awaits them in the rewarding field of medicine in Canada. In this section, we will explore the typical salary range for doctors after completing their MBBS degree and shed light on both starting salaries and potential earnings as medical professionals progress in their careers.


Typical Salary Range for Doctors after Completing Their MBBS Degree

Upon completing their MBBS degree, doctors in Canada can expect to earn a competitive salary that reflects their dedication to patient care and their expertise in the medical field. 

The approximate salary drawn by a doctor in Canada (upon completing MBBS) is around CAD 267,826, which roughly translates to CAD 137 per hour. This figure demonstrates that even at the early stages of their medical careers, doctors are well-compensated for their skills and knowledge.

It’s important for aspiring doctors to keep in mind that these figures represent average salaries and that actual salaries can vary based on factors such as the medical specialty chosen, the location of practice, and the demand for medical services in specific regions. Additionally, the compensation package may include benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and malpractice insurance, further enhancing the overall value of the salary.


How Much Do Entry-Level Doctors Make in Canada?

Entry-level positions for doctors with an MBBS degree start at an average of $173,350 per year. While this starting salary is already competitive, the potential for growth in earnings is significant as medical professionals advance in their careers.

As doctors progress in their careers and move beyond entry-level positions, the average salary for a Medical Doctor in Canada rises to $290,793 per year or $149 per hour. Experienced doctors with many years of practice can potentially earn up to $298,875 per year.  These higher earnings are a reflection of their dedication to patient care, continuous professional development, and specialized skills that they have developed over the course of their careers.


How To Maximize Their Earning Potential As A Doctor In Canada?

  1. Choose the Right Medical Specialty: While earning potential is important, it’s equally essential to select a medical specialty that aligns with your interests, passion, and aptitude. Choosing a specialty that resonates with you will not only lead to career satisfaction but may also result in higher earning potential as you excel in your field of choice.


  1. Pursue Subspecialty Training: Consider pursuing subspecialty training or attaining board certifications in your chosen field. Advanced training and certifications demonstrate your commitment to excellence and can lead to increased earning potential.


  1. Negotiate Your Compensation Package: As you progress in your career and gain experience, don’t hesitate to negotiate your compensation package. Highlight your accomplishments, expertise, and contributions to the healthcare organization when discussing salary and benefits.


  1. Stay Up-to-Date with Medical Advancements: Embrace continuous learning and stay updated with the latest medical advancements and best practices in your specialty. Continuous professional development not only enhances your clinical skills but also strengthens your position when negotiating salaries.


  1. Balance Financial Goals with Passion: While earning potential is essential, balance your financial goals with your passion for patient care and the impact you want to make as a medical professional. Finding fulfillment in your career will lead to a more satisfying and rewarding journey as a doctor.


How Much Do Medical Residents Make in Canada?

Medical residents in Canada are post-graduate medical trainees who have completed medical school and are now undergoing further training in a specific medical specialty. As they transition from medical school to becoming independent physicians, medical residents receive practical training and clinical experience in real-life patient care settings.

The average salary for a medical resident in Canada is approximately $61,589 per year. However, it’s important to note that the actual salary can vary depending on several factors, including the province where the residency takes place and the level of training (i.e., the year of residency). The salaries typically increase with each year of training, reflecting the resident’s growing expertise and responsibilities.

For example, according to the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), the gross annual salary for a PGY-1 (Post-Graduate Year 1) resident in Newfoundland and Labrador is $69,175, while the gross annual salary for a PGY-7 (Post-Graduate Year 7) resident is $102,842. Similarly, in Quebec, the gross annual salary for a Resident 1 is $49,258, while the gross annual salary for a Resident 7 is $74,758.

In addition to their salaries, medical residents may receive benefits such as health insurance, malpractice insurance coverage, and vacation days. The specific benefits offered may vary depending on the hospital or healthcare facility where the residency program is conducted.


The Compensation Structure During Residency Training in Canada

The compensation structure during residency training is different from that of fully licensed physicians. Residents typically earn a fixed salary, which is paid on a monthly or yearly basis. The salary is determined based on the resident’s level of training, and it may increase each year as they progress through their residency program.

Medical residents may face demanding work schedules, including long hours and being on-call, as they gain practical experience and clinical skills. Despite the challenges, residency training is a transformative and invaluable phase in a doctor’s career. Residents have the opportunity to work closely with experienced physicians, participate in patient care, and develop a deep understanding of their chosen medical specialty.

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How Much Do Doctors Pay in Taxes in Canada?

Tax Description
Federal Income Tax Canadian doctors must pay federal income tax on their earnings, with rates ranging from 15% to 33%, depending on income.
Provincial Income Tax Doctors in Canada must also pay provincial income tax, with rates varying by province.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Doctors contribute to the CPP, a national pension plan providing retirement benefits. The contribution rate is 9.9% of earnings.
Employment Insurance (EI) Premiums Doctors pay EI premiums, contributing to a program that provides benefits to unemployed workers. The premium rate is 1.45% of earnings.
Malpractice Insurance Canadian doctors must purchase malpractice insurance to protect against financial liability in the event of lawsuits.


As esteemed medical professionals in Canada, doctors not only play a crucial role in providing healthcare but also contribute to the country’s tax system. In this section, we will explore the tax implications for doctors in Canada and discuss the tax deductions and benefits available to medical professionals.


Exploring the Tax Implications for Doctors in Canada

Doctors in Canada are subject to several types of taxes, including federal income tax, provincial income tax, Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, and Employment Insurance (EI) premiums.


  1. Federal Income Tax: Doctors must pay federal income tax on their earnings, with rates ranging from 15% to 33%, depending on their income. The progressive tax system means that higher-earning doctors may be subject to higher tax rates.


  1. Provincial Income Tax: In addition to federal income tax, doctors must also pay provincial income tax, which varies from province to province. For example, the provincial income tax rate for doctors in Ontario is 13.16%. It’s important for doctors to be aware of their province’s specific tax rates to accurately plan and manage their finances.


  1. Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Contributions: Doctors in Canada must contribute to the CPP, a national pension plan that provides retirement benefits. The CPP contribution rate for doctors is 9.9% of their earnings, with a maximum annual contribution limit.


  1. Employment Insurance (EI) Premiums: Doctors are also required to contribute to EI, a program that provides benefits to unemployed workers. The EI premium rate for doctors is 1.45% of their earnings, up to a yearly maximum.


Medical residents and physicians who are self-employed or operate their own medical practices should also be aware of the tax implications specific to their situations. For instance, self-employed doctors are responsible for remitting their own income tax and CPP contributions, while employees may have these amounts withheld from their paychecks.


Tax Deductions and Benefits Available for Medical Professionals in Canada

While doctors must meet their tax obligations, they are also eligible for various tax deductions and benefits that can help reduce their overall tax burden. Some of the tax deductions and benefits available for medical professionals in Canada include:


  1. Business Expenses: Medical professionals who are self-employed or operate their own medical practice can deduct eligible business expenses, such as office rent, medical supplies, and professional fees, from their taxable income. Keeping detailed records of these expenses is crucial for tax purposes.


  1. Medical Expenses: Doctors can claim medical expenses for themselves and their family members as a tax deduction. This includes eligible medical costs that are not covered by health insurance plans, such as prescription medications, medical equipment, and certain medical services.


  1. Retirement Savings: Contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) allows doctors to deduct their contributions from their taxable income, reducing their immediate tax liability while saving for retirement. RRSP contributions also grow tax-deferred until withdrawal, making them a valuable tool for building wealth over time.


  1. Professional Association Dues: Membership fees for medical professional associations may be tax-deductible for doctors, as these dues contribute to their professional development and continuing education. Additionally, dues paid to professional bodies may be eligible for tax credits.


  1. Tax Credits: Doctors may be eligible for various tax credits, such as the Canada Caregiver Credit, which provides tax relief for individuals providing care to dependents, and the Disability Tax Credit for eligible individuals with disabilities. These tax credits can reduce the amount of tax owed and potentially result in a tax refund.


Actionable Advice for Canadian Doctors Managing Taxes

  1. Keep Detailed Records: Maintain organized and accurate records of business expenses, medical expenses, and other tax-related documentation to support your claims during tax filing. Maintaining proper records not only ensures compliance with tax regulations but also maximizes the potential for deductions and benefits.


  1. Work with a Tax Professional: Consult with a qualified tax professional or accountant familiar with medical professionals’ tax implications to ensure you are maximizing deductions and taking advantage of available tax benefits.  Tax professionals can provide personalized advice based on your specific financial situation and help you navigate complex tax regulations.


  1. Plan for Retirement: Utilize retirement savings vehicles like RRSPs to take advantage of tax-deferred growth and reduce current tax liabilities while building wealth for the future. Retirement planning is essential for doctors to secure their financial well-being after their medical careers.


  1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about changes in tax laws and regulations that may impact your tax situation, and adjust your financial plans accordingly. Regularly review and update your tax strategies to align with your changing circumstances.

Doctor Salary in Canada vs. The United States

Doctor Salary in Canada vs. The United States

Aspect Canada United States
Doctor Salaries Average: $274,544 per year1 Average: $177,826 per year2
Opportunities for Growth Varied medical specialties and subspecialties, potential for career advancement and higher earning potential with specialization. Broad range of medical specialties, extensive opportunities for subspecialization and advanced training to enhance career growth and earnings.
Work-Life Balance Generally good work-life balance, access to universal healthcare system may reduce administrative burden. Work-life balance may vary based on specialty and location, private healthcare systems can impact patient volume and reimbursement rates.
Medical Education Debt Graduates may have significant medical education debt, but certain provinces offer loan forgiveness or repayment assistance programs. Graduates may face substantial medical education debt, with various loan repayment and forgiveness options available based on location and practice setting.
Benefits and Healthcare System Universal healthcare system with potential advantages of a wider patient base and reduced administrative tasks. Primarily the private healthcare system may offer greater flexibility and compensation options. Reimbursement rates may vary based on insurance coverage.
Taxes Higher income tax rates, and provincial taxes vary based on the province of practice. Varies based on the state of practice, federal income tax rates apply to all states, and additional state income tax rates differ.
Cost of Living Relatively high cost of living in certain cities, varied based on province and location. Cost of living varies widely depending on city and state. Certain regions may offer more affordable living expenses.


When comparing doctor salaries between Canada and the US, several factors come into play, including average salary figures, cost of living, taxes, benefits, and overall lifestyle considerations. Making an informed decision about where to practice medicine involves a comprehensive assessment of these factors. 

The average salary for a physician in Canada is $274,544 per year, while in the US, the average salary for a physician is $177,826 per year

However, these are just averages, and actual salaries can vary widely based on location, medical specialty, experience, and other factors. Physicians in high-demand specialties or with significant experience may command higher salaries in both countries. It’s crucial to research salary data specific to your medical specialty and chosen location to gain a more accurate understanding of potential earnings.


Difference #1: Cost of Living

City Average Cost of Living (USD)
Toronto 4,785.40
Vancouver 4,675.30
Calgary 4,363.60
Montreal 4,148.20
Ottawa 4,036.30
Winnipeg 3,654.90
Edmonton 3,549.60
Halifax 3,387.60


The cost of living can significantly impact the purchasing power of doctors’ salaries. The relative affordability of housing, transportation, and everyday expenses in a particular city or region will influence how far a doctor’s salary stretches. For example, the cost of living in major cities like Vancouver or Toronto in Canada may be higher than in certain regions of the US. Physicians should carefully assess the local cost of living in their desired practice location to plan their finances effectively.


Difference #2: Taxes

Tax rates can significantly affect the net income of physicians. In Canada, doctors may face higher income tax rates, especially for higher earners. Canadian doctors also pay provincial taxes, which can vary depending on the province in which they practice. On the other hand, US physicians’ income tax rates can vary based on the state in which they work, as state income tax rates differ.


Difference #3: Benefits and Healthcare System

Both Canada and the US have distinct healthcare systems and benefits for physicians. In Canada, doctors benefit from a universal healthcare system, which provides healthcare services to all residents without direct charges. This system can offer certain advantages, such as a broader patient base and reduced administrative burdens. 

However, it may also come with limitations, such as potential wait times for certain procedures. In the US, healthcare is primarily delivered through private insurance, leading to varied experiences for physicians in terms of patient volume and reimbursement rates.


Difference #4: Medical Education Debt

Physicians in both countries may graduate with significant medical education debt. The cost of medical education can impact the financial decisions and lifestyle choices of doctors in their early careers. Considering debt repayment options, budgeting strategies, and long-term financial planning can help alleviate the burden of student loans and set a solid foundation for financial stability.


Difference #5: Opportunities for Growth and Specialization

Both countries offer opportunities for physicians to grow and specialize in their medical careers. Doctors may choose to pursue additional training and certification in their chosen specialty, which can lead to higher earning potential and increased job satisfaction. 


Difference #6: Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance can vary based on individual practice settings and medical specialties. Some areas in both countries may have higher demands for medical services, impacting the work-life balance of physicians. Considerations like work hours, on-call duties, and the availability of support systems can influence a doctor’s overall quality of life.



For pre-med students in Canada, comprehending the salary landscape for doctors is of utmost importance. It allows you to make informed decisions about your medical career, choose the right specialty, and plan for a financially rewarding future. As you embark on this noble journey to become a medical professional, remember that perseverance, continuous learning, and a commitment to patient care are the pillars of success in the healthcare field.

To equip yourself with the best MCAT preparation materials, Jack Westin offers exceptional resources to sharpen your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Their practice questions, passages, and courses are designed to help you think like the MCAT test-makers, preparing you to excel in this critical exam and pave the way for your medical aspirations.

As you navigate your medical journey, remember that becoming a doctor goes beyond financial considerations; it’s about dedicating yourself to the service of others and making a positive impact on people’s lives.

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