Areas of High Physician Need

Twenty new physicians per month will be eligible to join the Family Health Organization (FHO) and Family Health Network (FHN) compensation models in areas of high physician need only. The Income Stabilization program is also only available for applicants in areas of high physician need. The search tool below can be used to determine if an area is considered to be of high physician need.

Physicians interested in entering family practice in other parts of the province have a variety of practice and compensation models available to them. These include but are not limited to: Comprehensive Care Model (CCM); Family Health Group (FHG), replacement physicians within existing FHOs/FHNs and traditional fee for service. With the approval of the ministry and/or subject to available full-time equivalent (FTE) positions within models, physicians can also join Community Health Centres (CHCs), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs), Rural and Northern Physician Group Agreements (RNPGA), Blended Salary Models (BSMs) and others.

Managed Entry Process

The list of current areas of high physician need is reviewed and updated regularly by the ministry with input from Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). It takes several factors into consideration, including:

Physicians interested in applying to become a FHO or FHN physician within these areas need to contact the ministry at 416 325-3575 or 1 866-766-0266.

The Managed Entry process does not apply to replacement physicians.  A FHN or FHO can replace a departing physician outside of the Managed Entry process on a one physician out/one physician in (1:1) ratio.  Due to unique circumstances where a 1:1 replacement may not be feasible, this policy is currently under review.  In the interim, exceptions will be considered to the 1:1 replacement policy based on the ability of the replacement physician(s) to deliver comprehensive, continuity of care.  For more information, contact the Primary Health Care Branch at
416 325-3575 or 1 866-766-0266.

Areas of High Physician Need Search

To find an area of high physician need, either:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the government making these changes?

On February 1, 2015, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released their Ten Point Plan for Saving and Improving Service. As part of its plan, the ministry took steps to improve access to physicians in communities that have a high need for their services.

Because the distribution of doctors varies widely across the province, the ministry began targeting its resources to encourage doctors to go to areas of the province that have greater needs.

Family Health Organizations (FHOs) and Family Health Networks (FHNs) are two of several types of physician compensation models. Additional options for doctors to practice in Ontario include Family Health Groups (FHGs), Comprehensive Care Model (CCM), locum or replacement doctors within FHNs and FHOs, as well as traditional fee for service.

What do these changes mean for me if I am interested in replacing a retiring doctor?

New family physicians replacing a retiring FHN or FHO physician will be added to a group via a one physician out/one physician in (1:1) ratio, outside of the managed entry process. Groups who have a physician that is retiring can set up a contract or locum arrangement until the physician retires.

If two physicians are replacing a retiring physician's roster, only one would be considered a replacement physician. The ministry is reviewing its 1:1 replacement policy to address unique circumstances where a 1:1 replacement may not be feasible. In the interim, the ministry will consider exceptions to the 1:1 replacement policy based on the ability of the replacement physician(s) to deliver comprehensive, continuity of care. For more information, contact a program analyst at 416 325-3575 or 1 866-766-0266.

How do the changes impact new graduate physicians' choices on establishing primary care practices?

One of the outcomes of primary care reform in Ontario is that newly graduating family physicians have many choices regarding practice options – Comprehensive Care Model (CCM), Family Health Groups (FHGs), Family Health Organizations (FHOs) and Family Health Networks (FHNs) – if they want to practice in an area of high need or traditional fee for service. New graduates can also replace physicians who are leaving a FHN/FHO.

With the approval of the ministry or LHINs and/or subject to available FTE positions within the model, the newly graduated physicians can also join one of the many specialized models that provide comprehensive care to targeted groups, populations or regions. These models include Community Health Centres (CHCs), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs), Rural and Northern Physician Group Agreements (RNPGAs).

In addition, the New Graduate Entry Program (NGEP) that was announced in October 2015 allows for entry of new graduates into any FHN/FHO outside of areas of high physician need. Contact a program analyst for more information.

Can I expect the list of high needs communities to change?

Yes, the list will be updated by the ministry based on a review of the evidence and consultation with LHINss to ensure it meets the needs of Ontario communities. Regular updates to the list will be made as new physicians enter the FHN and FHO models and begin practicing in the high needs communities and as local situations/circumstances change.

For More Information

Call Blended Models Unit:
1-866-766-0266
In Toronto, 416-325-3575