Background: Approximately 30% of patients with epilepsy have medically intractable seizures, and a proportion of them are candidates for surgical treatment. The efficacy and safety of epilepsy surgery have been supported by a large number of studies, yet only a small minority of such patients in Ontario receive surgery. Methods: Family physicians in Ontario were surveyed regarding demographics, referral practices and general knowledge about epilepsy surgery. Four hundred surveys were mailed to randomly selected family physicians using contact information from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario website. Results: The response rate was 50%. The majority of family physicians (81%) always refer patients with epilepsy, most often to neurologists. General knowledge of epilepsy was mixed, with 53.7% feeling that surgery should be considered in selected cases for the treatment of epilepsy, though 53.2% did not know what type of epilepsy could be surgically treated. Conclusions: The results suggest a relatively low level of knowledge among family physicians in terms of when surgery ought to be considered, the types of epilepsy that are amenable to surgical treatment and the risks and benefits of epilepsy surgery. A lack of knowledge in these areas may partly underlie the low referral rates of epilepsy patients, though the results show that the majority of family physicians refer their patients with epilepsy to neurologists. Other factors must be considered, such as access to neurologists, epileptologists and surgical resources. Education campaigns directed at family physicians may improve knowledge and change referral practices. Future studies need to examine these possibilities.