This report explores the movement of physicians to, from, and within Canada and identifies recurring patterns of migration. The primary position of the report is that physician movement is part of reality both internationally and within Canada, and that movement of Canadian-trained physicians creates a need for international medical graduates (IMGs) in "physician-losing" locations. The report's argument is based on data retrieved from public sources on aggregate physician practice patterns in Canada and analyzed for migration patterns. In addition, literature was reviewed on factors affecting the migration patterns being described.Canadian-educated physicians have tended to move from less prosperous to more prosperous provinces and from rural to urban areas; because of the resulting need, the physician-losing locales generally have the highest proportions of IMGs. Physicians traditionally have tended to emigrate from Canada to the United States, thus increasing Canadian demand for IMGs, but recently this movement has slowed and even reversed. In Canada, liberalized immigration policies for physicians combined with a shortage of postgraduate training positions to create a serious bottleneck early in the current decade. However, this problem is now being resolved. In summary, physician migration within Canada shows specific long-term patterns, and IMGs will be needed in underserved areas for years to come. Well-informed policies for workforce management are essential in Canada to ensure an adequate physician supply consisting mainly of Canadian-educated physicians but also including IMGs. A role for nonadvocacy groups such as the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates may be to help ensure that recruitment of physicians from developing countries follows accepted ethical principles.