A new Medical School at York University focused on primary care doctors

VAUGHAN – It will be the first Faculty of Medicine in Canada focused on training primary care doctors: a very “wanted” profession since that 2.3 million Ontarians do not have a family physician: we are talking about the new Medical School of York University and today the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced an initial investment of 9 million dollars through Budget 2024 – Building a Better Ontario, money needed to begin the design and planning of the structure in the town of Vaughan.

“Today’s announcement – Ford said during the presentation at York University – is part of our plan to allow more families in Ontario to access primary health care”.

The new medical school will include up to 80 undergraduate seats and up to 102 postgraduate seats from September 2028, with up to 240 undergraduate seats and 293 postgraduate seats on an annual basis once operating at full capacity. Focusing primarily on the training of primary care doctors, York University’s training model will dedicate around 70% of new postgraduate training places to primary care.

According to the Ontario government’s intentions, the creation of the medical school, combined with the removal of barriers for highly qualified and internationally trained doctors to move to Ontario, within a few years 98% of Ontarians will be able to access to primary care.

“Our government is taking historic action to grow our health care workforce by launching the largest expansion of Ontario’s medical education system in over a decade” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, referring to all six medical schools currently in Ontario, as well as the new Toronto Metropolitan University medical school that will become operational in 2025, adding 260 undergraduate positions and 449 postgraduate positions over the next five years (positions that add to the new seats planned for the new Faculty of Medicine at the University of York).

“Our investment in York University’s new medical school will make it easier for future doctors to access the exceptional post-secondary education that Ontario is so well known for” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities.

“This new investment to support increased physician education in Ontario comes at a critical time and marks an important milestone in York’s trajectory as an internationally recognized leader in higher education” said the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Rhonda Lenton, thanking Prime Minister Ford and his government “for responding to an urgent need”.

York Medical School in Vaughan will be located next to the Cortellucci Hospital in Vaughan and the soon-to-be-built long-term care home, “which together – said Minister Stephen Lecce, MPP for King-Vaughan – will significantly improve the quality of care for our families and the elderly of Vaughan and King”.

“The School of Medicine is foundational to one of the City’s most ambitious projects, the Vaughan Healthcare Centre Precinct (VHCP)” said Mayor of Vaughan, Steven Del Duca.

Also the doctors of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) – organization representing 43,000 Ontario physicians, medical students and retired doctors – welcome the new Faculty of Medicine at York University “as one part of a long-term strategy to meet the health-care needs of the province and fix the family doctor shortage”, since that “currently, 2.3 million Ontarians do not have a family physician”. But, at the same time, OMA underlines that “this is one piece of the puzzle. We can’t just train and recruit our way out of the crisis in family medicine – we need to make the system better so family doctors want to keep practicing” said OMA President Dr. Andrew Park. “A huge increase in immigration, physicians retiring or changing practice models, and rising inflationary pressures is creating the perfect storm in family medicine” said OMA CEO Kimberly Moran. “We need to work together – doctors, health-care workers, stakeholders and government to build the system Ontario deserves”.

More details on the new Medical School in York are available here: York University welcomes transformative investment in next phase to create a new School of Medicine

In the pic above, Premier Doug Ford at the York University, today (photo from Twitter X – @YorkUniversity)