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Summit North and the Northern Physician Resources Advisory

The health and wellbeing of Northern Ontarians depends on having timely access to physicians and other healthcare providers, to meet the diverse needs of the people.  

January 24, 2018, in response to an urgent need for action, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency and the Northeast and Northwest Local Health Integration Networks joined forces to host Summit North: Building a Flourishing Physician Workforce.

Summit North was held in Thunder Bay and brought together over 125 stakeholders from across Northern Ontario including municipalities, Indigenous and Francophone communities, Health Service Providers (hospitals, family health teams), physicians, educators, administrators, policy makers, and others. Participants spent the day identifying and gathering innovative ideas and strategies that could be considered to help solve ongoing challenges with physician recruitment and retention in the North.

Following Summit North, the Northern Physician Resources Task Force (NPRTF) was created to ensure that a summary report would be finalized and that the actions from the Summit would be realized and momentum sustained across Northern Ontario.

The NPRTF oversaw the development of the Northern Physician Resources Action Plan, and has overseen the implementation of several recommendations.

One of the recommendations was to develop a model for rural Northern Ontario, based on the success of rural physician resource development in Queensland Australia.  To that end Dr. Denis Lennox visited several communities in Northern Ontario, and met with several partner organizations like the OMA, to help create a model that could be developed here.

In March of 2020, a new position at NOSM was launched – the Assistant Dean of Physician Workforce Strategy – and work on the implementation of the Rural Generalist Pathway was begun.

Summit North

HHR Executive SummaryBuilding a Flourishing Physician Workforce – Summit North 2018
Download the Executive Summary



HHR report cover

Building a Flourishing Physician Workforce – Summit North 2018 (Full Report)
Download the full report



HHR Summit North Documents and Information

HHR Summit North Resources

1. HQO data/performance metrics for Northern Ontario:

This is an online report that provides background information on the geography and key health statistics across Northern Ontario. Population perspectives of francophone, First Nations and Metis peoples are also highlighted.

2. Rural Road Map for Action

With the goal of supporting a robust family physician rural workforce, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada created this document through broad consultation, literature reviews and background research. It provides 4 broad directions, and 20 specific actions.

The Road Map for Action uses a social accountability framework and outlines roles for the WHO five key Social Accountability partners: health care professionals, policy makers, health and education administrators, universities and communities. Representatives from each partnership group are attending Summit North

3. Summit to Improve Health Care Access and Equity for rural Communities in Canada Final report July 2017

This document outlines the work done on February 22, 2017 to launch the Rural Road Map for Action. Here particular actions (from the 20 in the original report) are prioritized for geographic regions – see pages 9 and 10.

4. Environmental scan of work in other jurisdictions

A powerpoint slide deck is attached that summarizes the joint work of the Northern Periphery and Arctic Program and European Union.

Making it Work: A Framework for Rural and Remote Workforce

Several slides highlight factors that support the opportunities for physician recruitment and retention and may stimulate thinking about individual roles, or the role of one’s sector in improving rural physician recruitment and retention.

On the day of the summit the following presentation was shared by Dr. Denis Lennox and Dr. Roger Strasser:

Since Summit North the following documents have been produced:

1. The Northern Health Equity Strategy has been published by HQO and can be found here with reference to health human resources on Page. 21.

2. Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Transformation Summit documents are linked here:

Building a Flourishing Physician Workforce – Presentation

Past Communiqués

Summit North and the Northern Physician Resources Advisory Quick Links