Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Unit Group

3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians

General practitioners and family physicians diagnose and treat the diseases, physiological disorders and injuries of patients. They provide primary contact and continuous care toward the management of patients' health. They usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals and clinics. Residents in training to be general practitioners and family physicians are included in this unit group.

Example Titles

  • family physician
  • general practitioner (GP)
  • medical doctor
  • resident, general practice
View all titles

Main duties


General practitioners and family physicians perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Examine patients and take their histories, order laboratory tests, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures and consult with other medical practitioners to evaluate patients' physical and mental health
  • Prescribe and administer medications and treatments
  • Perform and assist in routine surgery
  • Provide emergency care
  • Provide acute care management
  • Inoculate and vaccinate patients
  • Deliver babies and provide pre-natal and post-natal care
  • Advise patients and their families on health care including health promotion, disease, illness and accident prevention
  • Provide counselling and support to patients and their families on a wide range of health and lifestyle issues
  • Perform patient advocacy role
  • Co-ordinate or manage primary patient care
  • Provide continuous care to patients
  • Supervise home care services
  • Report births, deaths, and contagious and other diseases to governmental authorities.

Employment requirements

  • A bachelor's degree
    or
    In Quebec, completion of a college program and one year of pre-medicine university studies is usually required.
  • Graduation from an approved medical school
    and
    Two to three years of family medicine residency training are required.
  • Completion of the qualifying examinations of the Medical Council of Canada
    and
    Licensing by the provincial or territorial licensing authority are required.

Additional information

  • General practitioners and family physicians may become specialist physicians with additional training.

Classified elsewhere

  • Chiropractors (3122)
  • Naturopathic physicians and osteopathic physicians (in 3123 Other Professional Occupations in Health Diagnosing and Treating )
  • Specialist Physicians (3111)