Canada is struggling with burgeoning health care access problems. At the same time, this nation may be overlooking an available resource to help address specific physician shortages. The services of more than 130 physician assistants in the Canadian Department of National Defense are used to off-set and amplify physician services. Their extensive education and training, along with their international experience in war-torn areas, dealing with wounded and ill military personnel, refugees, civilians, epidemics, and other health care problems make them particularly valuable assets. Yet, upon discharge from military service and reentry into the civilian sector, they are left without the legislation and formal recognition as a health care provider that would enable them to use these skills to help improve medical care access. This study provides the first description of the training and activity of Canadian physician assistants.