Gender pay gap

A report about the gender pay gap among Ontario physicians.

As the medical profession becomes increasingly gender-balanced, pay equity has become an issue of increasing concern. Despite a significant amount of research on pay equity, little is known about the pay gap in medicine, particularly in Canada.

The Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA) governing Council instructed staff in 2019 to “initiate a thorough study of the sources and magnitude of physician-gender pay gaps in Ontario.” The OMA was the first provincial medical association to undertake such work.

A report, Understanding Gender Pay Gap Among Ontario Physicians, is the first report in Canada to estimate a billings gap among a large physician population (nearly all 31,000 practising physicians in Ontario). 

The report found that male physicians, on average, bill 15.6 per cent more on a daily basis than their female counterparts. The cause of such a prominent gap in billings remains perplexing, especially so due to the fee-for-service nature of most physician work. Work is underway to try to determine the causes of the gender pay gap.

Policy recommendations to reduce gender disparities among Ontario physicians

  1. OMA leads Schedule of Benefits reform

    The OMA should take a leadership role to revise the Schedule of Benefits in a way that better reflects the work required to perform each service. Any revisions should be considered through a gender lens to ensure that all physicians are advantaged equally by the changes proposed.

  2. OMA advocates for pay equity

    The OMA should launch an advocacy campaign directed toward health-system partners (Example: hospitals, medical schools) to raise awareness about the gender pay/billing gap in medicine. The campaign could promote fair and equitable career advancement in medicine and institutional policies that promote equal pay for equal work.

  3. OMA advocates for expanding opportunities for female physicians

    The OMA should work to expand opportunities for female physicians (For example, leadership development and networking opportunities) and medical learners (For example, mentorship opportunities and career planning). The OMA should take steps to ensure female learners are not subjected to a hidden curriculum of inherent bias.

  4. OMA advocates for improved benefits for Ontario physicians

    The OMA should advocate for access to benefits and supports similar to those enjoyed by other professionals (For example, improved parental benefits would lessen financial burden associated with family formation and would benefit both male and female physicians).