BACKGROUND: The public's increasing use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) poses unique challenges for primary care physicians in knowledge and patient communication. The objective of our study was to assess Alberta family physicians' interest in CAM information and the type of information sources they currently use. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was designed and mailed to a random sample of family physicians registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Main outcomes were physicians' self-reported knowledge of CAM, interest in CAM information and frequency of use of various medical information sources. RESULTS: Response rate was 34% (n = 346). Physicians indicated having limited knowledge of CAM, but were interested in evidence-based CAM information such as randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews on acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, chiropractic treatment and meditation. Most respondents did not make use of reliable information sources that are available on the Internet. CONCLUSION: Education strategies are needed to help physicians access and use Internet sources of evidence-based CAM information more effectively.