Engaging the public to build a stronger, more equitable primary care system.

In Progress

Access to Health Care

4.6 million people in Canada don’t have a family doctor. As doctors retire in the coming years, and fewer medical students choose to specialize in family medicine, this situation will probably get worse.

We want to make the system better.

OurCare is a national conversation about the future of primary care in Canada. Primary care is the type of care that is usually delivered by family doctors. This research study is being led by Dr. Tara Kiran, a leading Canadian primary care researcher based at MAP.

As we return to a new normal following COVID-19, we will need to consider how to shape the future of primary care. Clinicians and policy-makers usually drive conversations about reforms. This study will facilitate dialogue among members of the public—particularly newcomers and those living with a low income—to understand how they define good primary care, what care should look like, and what policy changes they recommend to shape the system.


Our project will build on methods developed by Toronto organization, MASS LBP. Over the past decade, MASS has led a multitude of citizen reference panels that have informed policy in wide-ranging areas including the arts, transportation, municipal affairs, and healthcare. Their work has been cited by CIHR and taken up by the OECD as a model for excellence in public engagement.

About the study

Phase 1 (national): We will partner with Vox Pop Labs to issue among the most detailed and largest surveys concerning primary care to more than 5,000 Canadians in all provinces, and in French and English. This survey will provide insights into specific populations and explore how these groups obtain care and interact with primary care providers.

Phase 2 (provincial): MASS will create the Ontario Residents Reference Panel on Primary Care — a 35 member body made up of demographic representative volunteers drawn by civic lottery from across the province.  This group will meet virtually for four Saturdays prior to meeting in person in Toronto for four days in 2022. Following a detailed curriculum, the panel will learn and deliberate on the best practices and strategies for enhancing quality and access to primary care.

Phase 3 (local): We will collaborate with local community groups and service providers to convene a series of dialogues with six Canadian communities that are most impacted by inequitable access to primary care. We will review and expand our proposed strategies with the benefit of their insights and contributions.

Findings from the deliberations will be integrated with findings from peer-reviewed literature into a final report summarizing a vision for primary care in Canada and related policy recommendations. An interactive project website will collate patient-facing summaries related to primary care policy in Canada and findings from our research as they emerge.


The project results will help shape provincial and federal primary care policy, clarifying for decision-makers what patient priorities are and how they weigh trade-offs, for example, between timeliness and continuity of care. National survey data will provide a snapshot that can be used federally while the provincial results will allow for more nuance to support reforms in Ontario. Results will highlight how priorities differ for people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and geographies. Findings will also be used by professional organizations and members of the public to advocate for a better system.


  • Alliance for Healthier Communities
  • Black Physicians of Canada
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • College of Family Physicians of Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Healthcare Excellence Canada
  • Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada
  • Indigenous Primary Health Care Council
  • Ministry of Health, Ontario
  • Nurse Practitioners’ Association of Ontario
  • Ontario College of Family Physicians
  • Ontario Health


  • Monica Aggarwal
  • Michel Amar
  • Nicole Blackman
  • Mylaine Breton
  • Danielle Brown-Shreves
  • Amanda Condon
  • Sarah Cook
  • Dana Cooper
  • Renee Fernandez
  • Emily Gard Marshall
  • Francis Garwe
  • Scott Garrison
  • Rick Glazier
  • Mike Green
  • Leslie Greenberg
  • Lindsay Hedden
  • Noah Ivers
  • Alan Katz
  • Neb Kovacina
  • Maggie Keresteci
  • Mekalai Kumanan
  • Ruth Lavergne
  • Isabelle Leblanc
  • Aisha Lofters
  • Derelie Mangin
  • Danielle Martin
  • Rita McCracken
  • Kim McGrail
  • Andrew McLean
  • Kavita Mehta
  • Goldis Mitra
  • Elizabeth Muggah
  • Sarah Newbery
  • Andrew Pinto
  • Tia Pham
  • Vivian R Ramsden
  • Sabrina Wong
  • Jim Wright
  • Rose Zacharias

Access to Health Care

Dr. Tara Kiran

A family doctor and renowned primary-care researcher, Dr. Tara Kiran investigates how changes in the health-care system impact the most vulnerable in society. In her research and practice, she develops and tests solutions to make health care more inclusive - and more effective.



  • Maryam Danesh, MAP
  • Jasmin Kay, MASS LBP

Philanthropic Supporters

  • Even the Odds (Staples Canada & MAP)
  • Max Bell Foundation
  • St. Michael's Foundation