Rural Retention Program

Under the new Physician Services Agreement, Doctors Manitoba negotiated a new Retention Benefit to recognize ongoing service in rural and northern communities. This is an important part of our broader advocacy to retain and recruit more doctors to rural and northern Manitoba.

Under the new program, physicians who provide continued service in rural and northern communities will receive a Retention Benefit every three years. This Rural and Northern Retention Benefit is in addition to our regular Physician Retention Benefit, which means physicians can be eligible for both payments.


To qualify for the Rural and Northern Retention Program, physicians must:

  • Provide medical services at least 108 days per program year (April 1 to March 31),
  • Meet this threshold for three consecutive years, and
  • Physically provide these services in qualifying rural and northern communities (virtual visits alone from excluded areas are not counted). All rural and northern Manitoba communities qualify, except for those immediately surrounding Winnipeg within a radius of 30 kilometers from Portage and Main in Winnipeg. This excludes bedroom” communities such as East and West St. Paul, Oakbank, Dugald, Lorette, Ile Des Chenes, St. Adolphe, La Salle, Headingley, Rosser, Stony Mountain and Lockport. These services can be divided among different communities and even different health regions.

The benefit is funded by the provincial government, and the criteria above were set by Manitoba Health.

There is nothing physicians need to do now to prove their eligibility. Physicians will be asked to verify their eligibility as part of the annual membership renewal process with Doctors Manitoba.

Benefit Payment

Physicians who meet the eligibility criteria above will qualify for a payment every three years. We anticipate the payment will be at least $25,000 for three years of continuous service.

The first year of the three-year cycle is 2023/24. The first payment will occur after the third year (2025÷26), likely in late 2026

Other Details

Like the general retention payments, all payments are made to eligible physicians personally, and are taxable income. A T4A slip will be issued in for the year a payment is received.

A core requirement for this benefit is continued service. This means meeting the 108-day minimum level of service in qualifying rural or northern communities for three consecutive years. If a physician misses qualifying in their second or third year, they must restart at year one the following year. However, Doctors Manitoba may recognize service in a non-qualifying year for valid reasons such as maternity/​parental leave or illness assuming the physician commits to returning to eligible service in rural and northern Manitoba. 

Please note, this new Rural and Northern Retention Benefit will replace the existing smaller Northern Retention Payment for Northern RHA physicians which required 110 days of service each year.


Contact our team at benefits@​doctorsmanitoba.​ca with any questions.

Last updated
March 1, 2024

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