The objective of this national, cross-sectional study was to provide insight into the care and treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) in the Canadian primary care setting. Specifically, the study examines glycemic control, management and morbidity load among T2DM patients, and investigates the relationship of glycemic control and morbidity load with duration of diabetes. Participating primary care physicians (PCPs) (N=243) completed a chart audit for the first 10 patients with T2DM attending their clinics (2473 eligible patient records). The mean A1C was 7.3% with 49% of patients not at target (A1C>or=7.0%). Glycemic control eroded significantly with increasing duration of diabetes in spite of increasing therapeutic intervention. T2DM patients experienced a high morbidity load (hypertension 63%; dyslipidemia 59%; macrovascular complications 28%; microvascular complications 38%) each of which increased significantly with duration of diabetes. For 79% of patients not at target, PCPs identified lifestyle intervention as the strategy for achieving glycemic targets while more aggressive treatment plans were identified for only 56%. These results underscore the complexity of primary care management of T2DM and suggest that current treatment approaches are not intensive enough for a large proportion of patients especially those with longer duration of disease.