Background: Canadian distributed medical education (DME) increased substantially in the last decade, resulting in positive economic impacts to local communities. A reliable and simple method to estimate economic contributions is essential to provide managers with information on the extent of these impacts. This review paper fills a gap in the literature by answering the question: What are the most applicable quantitative methods to assess the economic impact of Canadian DME programs?Methods: The literature is reviewed to identify economic assessment methods. These are evaluated and compared based on the benefits, challenges, data needs, outputs and potential for use in the DME context.Results: We identified five economic impact methods used in similar contexts. Two of these methods have the potential for Canadian DME programs: the Canadian Input-Output (I-O) model and the Simplified American Council on Education (ACE) method.Conclusion: Choice of a method is contingent on the ability to measure the salient economic impacts, and provide an output that facilitates sustainable decision making. This paper thus fills a gap by identifying methods applicable to DME. These methods will assist stakeholders to calculate economic impacts, resulting in both the advancement and sustainability of these programs over short- and long-term time frames.