Dalhousie Law Journal


Canada, medical services, health care, inequal geographic access, policy, geographic distribution, New Brunswick


Canada shares with most OECD countries the problems associated with inequitable geographic access to physician services, and improving the geographic distribution of physicians is a policy preoccupation of all ministries of health in Canada today. Recent court challenges by newly-entering physicians to physician supply controls in B. C. and New Brunswick have brought the issue into sharp relief. The authors explore the degree to which the provinces have adopted common approaches to addressing these problems, and whether Canadian policy-makers have learned from international experience. The recent judgment in the Waldman case in B.C. is analyzed in terms of likely implications for future policies on the geographic distribution of physicians in Canada. The authors conclude that the B.C. and New Brunswick cases may lead to broad changes in health care policy direction by severely limiting the range of narrowly targeted policy options available to ministries of health across Canada.