An ad enticing doctors to work in Queensland, Australia, is seen across the top of the website for the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The Canadian Medical Association is coming under criticism for running an ad trying to entice Canadian doctors to move to Australia at the same time it's lobbying in Canada to hire more doctors.
On Jan. 15, 2008, the CMA launched a major campaign to lobby governments for more doctors in Canada.
But now, on its medical journal's website, there is an ad trying to entice Canadian doctors to ply their trade in Queensland, Australia.
Ontario's health minister, George Smitherman, is not amused by the apparent contradiction.
"It's not a tactic that seems to make sense," he told CTV News. "They've been running a very substantial campaign saying that Canada needs more doctors.
"So to be aiding and abetting the international effort to lure our doctors does seem somewhat inconsistent."
CMA paints a scary picture of the doctor shortage in Canada. Some of the highlights from their campaign:
Belleville, Ont., for example, has a massive doctor shortage and they are paying major cash to entice doctors by paying for their medical school debts.
- About five million Canadians do not have a family physician and that number could double by 2018
- Canada needs about 26,000 more doctors to match international standards for doctors per population size
- The average age of Canadian doctors is nearly 50
But their mayor says the city can compete with Australia or anywhere else for Canadian doctors and cites Canadian patriotism as a primary reason.
"I think being a Canadian student, hopefully most of them are committed to Canada because we are putting them through medical school," Mayor Neil Ellis told CTV News.
But can patriotism compete with the lush beaches, diving at the Great Barrier Reef and Australia's warm weather?
Canada has attractions of its own, and it's no different than Australia when it comes to international doctor recruiting. In Saskatchewan, half of the doctors are foreign-trained. In Ontario, it's 25 per cent.
But, as Smitherman points out, it seems unusual for the Canadian Medical Association to take an advertisement from a competitor.
The CMA doesn't think so. They say they have no ethical problem with running the ad and lobbying Canadian governments for more doctors. The group says doctor recruiting runs all over the world and the Australia ad is no different than a classified ad. The CMA says it won't pull the ad.