The level of compliance with clinical practice guidelines for patients with type 2 diabetes was evaluated in 368 patients from two health regions in rural northern Alberta, Canada. Data were collected from patient interviews, drug histories, physical and laboratory assessments, and a self-report questionnaire to assess clinical status, indicators of diabetes management, and health care utilization. Treatment of three clinical indicators of diabetes--hemoglobin A1c (A1C), blood pressure, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL)--has been shown to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with type 2 diabetes. Mean +/- SD values for this cohort of patients were as follows: A1C 7.25% +/- 1.54%, blood pressure 131.7 +/- 18.2/76.2 +/- 12.7 mm Hg, and LDL 105.2 +/- 32 mg/dl. Despite these results, only 10.4% of the patients met all three recommended targets for control of glycemia: A1C below 7%, blood pressure below 130/85 mm Hg, and LDL below 100 mg/dl. Of patients not at target levels, 14.4%, 27.5%, and 86.7% reported receiving no therapy for hyperglycemia, hypertension, and dyslipidemia, respectively. Of those taking oral hypoglycemic agents who were not at target levels, only 35% were receiving combination therapy. Of patients at or above LDL target levels, 87% were not receiving any therapy. Only 22% of patients were taking aspirin, although this therapy would be recommended for the entire cohort according to clinical practice guidelines. Despite the availability of proved effective therapies, treatment gaps were present for this cohort of patients.