Where did the doctors go? A study of retention and migration of provisionally licensed international medical graduates practising in Newfoundland and Labrador between 1995 and 2006

Can J Rural Med. 2009 Winter;14(1):21-4.


Introduction: More than any other Canadian province, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) relies on provisionally licensed international medical graduates (PLIMGs) to provide primary health care, particularly in rural communities. However, turnover among PLIMGs is high, and this is expensive and disruptive to the populations they serve.

Methods: We developed and analyzed a database that allowed us to quantify the turnover among PLIMGs and also to determine the Canadian destinations of PLIMGs who cease practising in NL.

Results: We found that about 1 in 5 PLIMGs remain in province for a period of 5 years and that those who emigrate within Canada are most likely to go to Ontario. Many PLIMGs cannot be tracked after they leave the province.

Conclusion: We speculate that many PLIMGs are moving on to the more lucrative US market.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Foreign Medical Graduates / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Physicians / supply & distribution*