Why is there a gender wage gap in Canadian medicine?

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  • Adam smith says:

    If we focus on physicians for argument sake, the OHIP reimbursement and payment systems are completely gender neutral from a physician payment perspective. Any physician gets the same payment regardless of gender. From a patient perspective, female patients can in some cases generate higher incomes for physicians.

    Where there are gendered imbalances, that’s largely due to “relativity” and medical culture. So, physicians, heal thyselves.

  • dawn says:

    this is a pretty skewed article. It seems pretty obvious that women are free to choose whatever line of medicine they want to go into. If it’s all about the money they can choose to go into a field that pays higher. As for quality of care, I have had many female doctors who have provided a far lower quality of care, been mean, or were just stupid. I have had male doctors who were short and seemed they didn’t want to hear everything I wanted to talk about and pushed me out of the office, but I have also had male doctors who really took the time I needed to get the care I required. In general I have had more positive experiences with male doctors and more negative experiences with female doctors. The fact is there is no way to prove that if a pay gap does exist that it exists due to sexism, and considering the bulk of medical students are female we can probably expect any pay gap that may exist to get smaller as we see more and more female doctors entering the field. Of course we can also expect to see lower birth rates across the country and poorer quality of childcare due to both parents working or having no mother in the home.

  • C. Copeland says:

    One important fact left out of this article is the fact family doctors in a capitation model are paid significantly more for female patients than for male patients in all age groups. Visits for reproductive issues for female patients are paid separately so this does not count. This article appears to try to support a position that even though fee for service is equal, female physicians are encouraged to do work of lesser value. The exact opposite is true in Ontario primary care where family doctors on capitation are paid more annually to have female patients on their rosters than male patients. Reproductive visit do not count since these are excluded and paid separately. Female family physicians who tend to have disportionately more female patients on their rosters would earn more per patient. Looking at it another way, a male physician , with a lower proportion of female patients, would have to roster more patients than his female colleague to earn the same in capitation. The earnings gap ( there is no wage gap) is not due to discrimination but due to choices people make in the work they choose and strive for. For example, social science degrees tend to pay less than engineering degrees, talk medicine tends to pay less than the unsocialable hours of hands on medical procedures. Female physicians in emergency departments are , and should be , paid exactly the same as their male colleagues hour for hour. Those who choose to take on less will earn less , male or female. There may be an earnings gap , but there is not a wage gap for the same work, that would be discrimination and illegal.


Dafna Izenberg


Dafna is the Managing editor of special projects at Maclean’s Magazine.

Chika Oriuwa


Chika Stacy Oriuwa is a medical student at the University of Toronto who is completing her MD/MSc with a concentration in System Leadership and Innovation. She has a keen interest in health care reform pertaining to the intersections of race and gender within medicine.

Maureen Taylor


Maureen Taylor is a Physician Assistant who worked as a medical journalist and television reporter for the CBC for two decades.

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