Your family doctor is often your first point of contact with the health care system when you need medical care or advice about your health. Family doctors care for you and your family throughout the different stages of your life.

The doctor-patient relationship is at the centre of family medicine. Your family doctor can provide you with comprehensive, patient-centred health care, focusing on your wellness and quality of life, as well as your physical or mental health concerns.

Family doctors also play an important role in BC’s health care system, acting as the central hub for managing health or illness for patients and families, and providing referrals to specialists when needed.

Research shows that having a good working relationship with your family doctor can result in better health, earlier diagnosis of potentially serious problems, such as cancer, and fewer hospital stays.

 Where family doctors work

Family doctors work in many different practice settings, depending on the needs of the local community. In a growing number of practices, we provide team-based care, contributing medical expertise and leadership to practice teams that include other health care professionals. The shared goal is to provide you with accessible, comprehensive and consistent care. You will also find family doctors practising in walk-in or specialized clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other settings.


Family doctors complete a two-year residency in family medicine. The national College – the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) – sets the national standards for post-graduate (residency) training for the certification and ongoing education of Canada’s family doctors.

Leadership in patient and community health

Family doctors provide leadership in practices, communities, and in the health care system. Family doctors work with partners, including health authorities and other local health care providers, on initiatives that will improve access to health care services and foster better health for patients and communities.

Teaching and research

Family doctors are committed to excellence and evidence-based care, participating in practice-based quality improvement initiatives and research projects that contribute to better care for patients. Family doctors also teach family medicine knowledge and expertise to University of BC medical students.

Find a family doctor

If you need a family doctor, we are not able to link patients with doctors, but we have posted some useful information on our Find a Family Doctor page.