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Enabling physicians to lead: Canada’s LEADS framework

Graham Dickson (Royal Roads University, Victoria, Canada and Canadian Society of Physician Leaders, Ottawa, Canada)
John Van Aerde (Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 25 April 2018

Issue publication date: 17 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to provide a case study demonstrating that LEADS in a Caring Environment Capabilities Framework in Canada can assist physicians to be partners in leading health reform.


A descriptive case-based approach was followed, relying on existing documents, research papers and peer-reviewed articles, to substantiate the effect of LEADS on physician leadership in Canada.


The Canadian LEADS framework enables physicians to lead by providing them with access to best practices of leadership, acting as an antidote to fragmented leadership practice, setting standards for development and accountability and providing opportunities for efficient and effective system-wide leadership development and change.

Research limitations/implications

A formal systematic review of the literature was not conducted. Findings can only be generalized to other cases if the reader sees contextual similarities between the present study context and the other case’s context.

Practical implications

This case demonstrates that national leadership frameworks have a role in facilitating physician leadership. Other national jurisdictions may wish to explore the Canadian case to determine how to use a common leadership language to engage physicians in health reform.

Social implications

Leadership is a key component of health reform. A common language and set of standards (LEADS) that can engage physicians will benefit patients and citizens in Canada.


This national case study shows how a nationally endorsed leadership framework such as LEADS can facilitate better physician leadership for health reform.



Dickson, G. and Van Aerde, J. (2018), "Enabling physicians to lead: Canada’s LEADS framework", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 183-194.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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