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Canadian Rheumatology 2020: Workforce and Wellness Survey - EXTERNAL

This survey collects demographic, practice characteristics on Canadian Rheumatologists to update the Canadian Rheumatology Association’s 2015 workforce survey. The survey also collects information about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on rheumatology practices and physician wellness. We recognize the pandemic has had an effect on our typical practice patterns over the last year. When answering questions please try to estimate on average what your work patterns have been over the last year (since September 2019) and whether the pandemic has had an effect on these patterns. We thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out this survey.

The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. You may save survey progress and complete it at a later time.

Please click on "Save and Continue Later" in the tool bar on the top right-hand corner and enter your email address to receive a link. Check your spam folder if you do not receive an email within 1-2 hours.

TITLE: Canadian Rheumatology 2020: Workforce and Wellness Survey

SPONSOR: Canadian Rheumatology Association

INVESTIGATORS:  Dr. Claire Barber, Dr. Stephanie Kulhawy-Wibe, Dr. Jessica Widdifield on     
behalf of the CRA’s Human Resources Committee  

This information sheet is only part of the process of informed consent. It should give you the basic idea of what the research is about and what your participation will involve. If you would like more detail about something mentioned here, or information not included here, please ask. Take the time to read this carefully and to understand any accompanying information.


A 2015 Canadian Rheumatology Association Survey demonstrated a critical shortage of rheumatologists across many regions in Canada.  This shortage was projected to continue over time and to present ongoing challenges to providing high quality rheumatology care to Canadians.  As well, over the last decade, the need to understand the health and wellness of physicians has been gaining increasing attention. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) suggests that the poor state of physicians’ health is a threat to the workforce.  It may lead to poor physician and patient outcomes and is a phenomenon that needs to be assessed and monitored at regular intervals.  Burnout is prevalent among Canadian physicians but relatively little is known about the health and wellness of Canadian Rheumatologists, specifically.  This topic is relevant to the future of the rheumatology workforce because burnout is associated with reduced hours and early retirement.


Since it has been 5 years since the initial Rheumatology Workforce Study, this initiative intends to measure the capacity for Rheumatology care in Canada in 2020.  The main objective is to provide an update on the number of rheumatologists per 100,000 population.  To do this accurately requires ascertaining the number of days that rheumatologists are working, their available time to see patients, and their plans for retirement.  This past year has been particularly challenging and we would like to better understand how the pandemic has impacted rheumatologist practices. The final objective is to understand the current wellness concerns of Rheumatologists.  This will be accomplished by including questions from a previously developed and validated questionnaire on physician burnout.
Participating in this research involves completing an online survey about your current rheumatology practice and wellbeing.   The survey will take approximately 15-20 minutes of your time to complete. 

Some questions in this survey ask about burnout.  It is possible that responding to these questions may cause distress.  Responding to these questions is optional and you may choose to skip them.  If you feel distressed, resources tailored specifically for physicians are available to you. 

Information about how to access the resources for physicians in your province of practice are listed on the Canadian Medical Association’s Provincial Physician Health Program webpage:

All public reports or publications will be reviewed by the researchers and subsequently by the CRA Human Resources Committee to ensure no sensitive information is presented. Only aggregate results will be reviewed.


If you agree to participate in this study there may or may not be a direct benefit to you. Results will be used to understand the size of the Rheumatologist workforce and its distribution across Canada.  This information will be used to inform policies or programs that may result in improvements to the number and/or distribution of Rheumatologists across the country.  Similarly, information obtained about Rheumatologist wellness will be used to inform policies and programs that may be of benefit to you in the future. 

Participants will not be paid to participate in the survey.  As an incentive, we are offering participants the opportunity to enter a draw upon completion of the survey. The draw will be for a complimentary registration to the 2021 Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting.  Following closure of the survey, the winner will be selected at random from all respondents who choose to enter the draw. Odds of winning will be approximately 1/350 (denominator dependent on number of participants completing the survey).


Your participation in this study is voluntary. You may withdraw at any time by selecting the “Exit” button on the survey screen.  Responses already submitted will be retained in the analysis. 


Your participation does not involve anything else.


You will not have to pay for anything nor will you receive any payment for participating in this study. 


Your records will be kept private.  Only the researchers involved in this study will have access to the data that is collected.  Aggregate results will be used in any reports or publications resulting from this study. 

This survey is being conducted using an online platform called SurveyGizmoTM using the account held by the Canadian Rheumatology Association.   This online survey company is hosted by a web-survey company located in the USA and as such is subject to U.S. laws such as the US Patriot Act which allows authorities access to the records of internet service providers.  This survey does not ask for personal identifiers or any information that may be used to identify you. The web-survey company servers record incoming IP addresses of the computer that you use to access the survey but no connection is made between your data and your computer’s IP address. If you choose to participate in the survey, you understand that your responses to the survey questions will be stored and accessed in the USA. The security and privacy policy for the web-survey company can be found at:

Survey responses will be collected during the year 2020.  When the survey closes, all data will be permanently deleted from the Survey Gizmo servers after which time the data will be unrecoverable.  The only copy of the data will be on a password-protected, secure server at the University of Calgary with access restricted to the researchers involved in this study.

It is anticipated that the Rheumatologist Workforce and Wellness Survey will be repeated every 5 years.  If this is the case, the data from the 2020 survey may be compared to data collected in the future.  Data collected from your participation in this research study will be held in a database for future use.  Any future use of this research data is required to undergo review by a Research Ethics Board.


Your decision to complete and return this survey will be interpreted as an indication of your agreement to participate. In no way does this waive your legal rights nor release the investigators, or involved institutions from their legal and professional responsibilities. You are free to withdraw from the study at any time.

If you have further questions concerning matters related to this research, please contact the Nicole Spencer at

If you have any questions concerning your rights as a possible participant in this research, please contact the Chair of the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board, Research Services, University of Calgary, (403) 220-7990.

The University of Calgary Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board has approved this research study: Ethics ID REB19-1287