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Ontario Medical Review
May 17, 2023
Shreya Menon

Ontarians rally around physicians this Doctors’ Day

Sentiments of recognition, appreciation felt across the province

"Thank you for all that you do to improve the lives of patients.” 

 “I know you are under a lot of pressure, but I want you to know that myself and many others are extremely grateful for your excellent service.” 

"Thank you for all your sacrifices in order to keep us healthy.”  

These are just a few of the more than 850 personalized messages of thanksdoctor-day-ceremony.jpg Ontarians submitted while participating in the OMA’s fourth annual Doctors' Day campaign, which included paid and organic social media, billboards, landmarks lit blue and in-person events across Ontario. 

Ontario officially recognized May 1 as Doctors’ Day in 2011 to coincide with the birthday of Dr. Emily Stowe, Canada’s first female doctor. 

“Doctors do this job to serve the public,” said OMA President Dr. Andrew Park. “It’s such a rewarding profession to be able to impact the health of patients in a significant way. But more than that, patients and physicians develop really close bonds. When the public expresses gratitude it’s a reminder of these impacts as well as the relationships we’ve developed.” 

Dr. Rajiv Mohan speaks at a flag-raising ceremony in Brampton on May 1 to commemorate Doctors’ Day.

In the weeks leading up to Doctors’ Day, the OMA engaged Ontarians in a digital campaign asking them to show their appreciation for Ontario’s doctors by picking from a selection of virtual flags of thanks and sharing them on social media. 

The personalized messages were captured alongside the more than 6,000 digital flags of gratitude on with notes such as “thanks for always being there” and “thanks for saving my life.”     

Appreciation for Ontario’s doctors spread across social media with the hashtag #doctorsday trending at the No. 2 spot on Twitter. Ontarians shared Doctors’ Day posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, generating more than 500,000 impressions. (Impressions are the number of times content is displayed or seen). 

A specially designed flag with the words “Thank you Ontario’s Doctors” was seen on 55 different billboards across 29 media markets. A number that nearly doubled from last year, which saw 29 billboards throughout 18 markets. 

Twelve landmarks including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, Welland Bridge and various city halls were lit blue to honour Ontario’s 43,000 physicians. 

Eighteen media outlets provided Doctors’ Day coverage by highlighting events and the issues impacting doctors today. More than 50 million impressions were made across the various media stories.  

Events were held in communities across the province with 19 municipalities raising flags, 12 hosting flag-raising ceremonies and seven proclamations read declaring May 1 to be Doctors’ Day, an official day to honour and appreciate Ontario physicians.

doctors-day-queens-park.jpgOMA immediate past president Dr. Rose Zacharias attended the Toronto City Hall flag raising and said Doctors’ Day is about change – for the physician, the health-care system and the patient.  

“Doctors’ Day means the people of Ontario believe that we care and that we can bring forward solutions to improve our health-care system,” she said. “We are committed to working with the government to see our solutions through.” 

Despite these hardships, she said Ontario’s doctors remain committed to delivering quality care. 

Dr. Rose Zacharias, OMA immediate past president, Toronto councillor Chris Moise, Drs. Lisa Salamon and Eileen de Villa raise a Doctor’s Day flag at Toronto City Hall to mark the annual event on May 1.

“We are extremely grateful for the relationships of trust we have with the people of Ontario. We are committed to doing right by patients and will work with government to bring about a stronger health-care system for everyone.”  

Read more personalized messages to Ontario’s doctors

Highlights from Doctors’ Day 2023

  • #DoctorsDay was trending at the No. 2 position on Twitter in Ontario and Canada
  • Health Minister Sylvia Jones tweeted a video of gratitude for physicians on Doctors’ Day 
  • Eighteen media outlets featured coverage of Doctors’ Day, garnering an estimated 50,616,705 impressions 
  • Doctors’ Day was mentioned in the media 243 times 
  • Local media attended ceremonies in Sudbury, Kitchener, London, Sault Ste. Marie and Orillia 
  • President Dr. Andrew Park gave three media interviews and immediate past president Dr. Rose Zacharias spoke to eight media outlets 
  • Dr. Zacharias appeared on CP24’s noon show speaking about current issues physicians are facing 
  • District Chairs Drs. Rayudu Koka and David Schieck were interviewed by local CTV news outlets 
  • Doctors’ Day tweets and articles were shared by health system stakeholders and hospitals, including CPSO, CMPA, the Ontario Long Term Care Association, CHEO, London Health Sciences and Niagara Health 
  • Paid social-media posts resulted in over 1.8 million impressions  
  • The campaign website had more than 20,000 visits, more than 6,000 virtual flags were selected and over 850 Ontarians submitted personalized messages of thanks 
  • Fifty-five digital billboards displayed the Doctors’ Day flag across 29 media markets generating nearly three million paid media impressions 
  • The OMA issued 350 social media posts, retweets, likes and replies across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram 

Photo credit: City of Brampton