What's been done and is being done for
     Canadian International Medical Graduates


In 1990 Dr. Rey Pagtakhan MP, Liberal-Winnipeg-St.Paul brought a private members motion  forward to make accreditation for foreign trained professionals easier, this was shot down by both the Reform and Bloc Quebecois. In 1995 there was a discussion in the Manitoba legislature about IMGs and licencing but again the nothing happened. Unfortunately, due to the Canadian federal form of government, Canada has no national licencing standards, including the medical profession, plus the fact that the professional regulatory bodies are more closely intertwined with the professional associations and have more discretionary powers as to whom to licence (moreso than in the U.S.), initiatives to make access to the professions more equitable for foreign trained professionals often bog down amidst the efforts of the provincial governments' efforts to protect their turf as well as the professional groups lobbying to ensure that their members vested interests are protected (protestations about the need to maintain Canadian standards of health care, engineering, accountancy, etc. notwithstanding).

As a result of the blame shifting  that goes on whenever the issue of equal access to the professions arise Canadian foreign trained professionals in A.D. 2000 continue to face the same obstacles faced by their predecessors decades ago.

Of interest is a statistical study by the American College of International Physicians (look at page 8 of their 1999 2nd quarter newsletter) obtained from the California Board of Medicine (a state with more lawyers and a bigger population than Canada's) which showed no difference in the total number of complaints received against International Medical Graduates vis a vis American medical graduates. The statistics from New York did show a substantial difference (in the AMGs favour) though. The ACIP is studying these differences in the statistics from the two states further.

Although the regulatory bodies keep harping on the need for maintaining Canadian standards we have not come across any statistically significant Canadian studies that  DO show that  Canadian International Medical Graduates coming from countries other than those currently favoured are subject to more  complaints by their patients (which one would think would be a satisfactory index of patient satisfaction or outcomes) than International Medical Graduates from the favoured countries or Canadian medical graduates for that matter.

Recent reports on the RCPSC's stance vis a vis International Medical Graduates from certain favoured countries

In 1996 the RCPSC decided that to make the playing field really fair, henceforth only International Medical Graduates trained to North American standards (previously U.S. and Mexican  trained specialists needed to be trained to "Canadian Standards") would be allowed to sit for their exams and thus get Canadian accreditation (IMHO this was a more logical policy decision if the reason for disallowing International Medical Graduates from practicing in Canada is because they are not trained according to Canadian standards, considering the fact that the disease ecology, ethnic make up, diet, lifestyle and so on of  the Canadian patient population is more nearly similar to the U.S., than of those countries that have historically been the source of Canadian International Medical Graduates).  The Saskatchewan CPS protested this rule change (54% of physicians in Saskatchewan are International Medical Graduates, including the  present (2001) Saskatchewan Medical Association president, trained in the UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Eire plus a minuscule percentage in the U.S.) as being unfair to "their" International Medical Graduates (what about International Medical Graduates from other countries?). Subsequently the RCPSC stated that they might  change their previous policy decision and then decided they wouldn't  and then  thought they would, and then decided they would review IMG 's training on a case to case basis. And then  finally did start enforcing their new regulations on January 2001 after 5 years of "reviewing" their 1996 decision (oh well better late than never).

The Ontario CPSO (under present regulations only Canadian trained physicians are allowed to practise in Ontario) as well has also decided to review their standards for certification of International Medical Graduates (hopefully including requirements for US trained physicians).  We hope this review will result in a more equitable process. But don't hold your breath though, they've already said the whole process would be dependent on provincial funding being available.


Links to National and Provincial International Medical Graduate training programs

The Canadian Resident Matching Service which matches all applicants for Canadian medical residencies.
International Medical Graduates are eligible for the 2nd iteration of the match (after all the Canadian Medical Graduates have been matched) provided they have 1) Canadian citizenship or Canadian landed immigrant status, 2) passed the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination, 3) passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination part 1 (in some provinces) and  4) a high enough score in the TOEFL (passing score depends on which province the residency program is in). For the past 5 years there have usually been around 200-300 International Medical Graduates participating in the CARMS match with from 11-40 being matched. Compare that with these statistics on International Medical Graduates in the United States.

Please note that all of  the Provincially funded International Medical Graduate training programs are restricted to the residents of each respective province.

here's the news release about the 8 positions for International Medical Graduate training similar to the OIMGTP, this program will commence on  July 2001.


Read the March 2000 CMAJ article about this program

Here's the address for more information from the CARMS web site
Dr. Rod Andrew
International Medical Graduates (IMG) Program
Rm # 9008- 9A Providence Building
St. Paul's Hospital
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1Y6
Telephone: (604)806-8569; Fax: (604)806-8681
E-mail: shall@stpaulshosp.bc.ca

Here's the address for more information from the CARMS web site

Dr. William Rennie
Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education
Room S204, Medical Services Building
750 Bannatyne Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0W3
(204) 789-3452

An article from The Winnipeg Free Press on IMGI. Net website about a proposed program for IMGs


This an article from the MUN Gazette about the Clinical Skills Assessment Test for which one does not have to redo a residency in Canada. The International Medical Graduate has to meet certain requirements before being allowed to take the test and pay for the test (@C$3500 and another C$1500 for retesting if one flunks it the first time) and for flunkers, the weeks of required training (C$600/week) themselves.
For applications and info about the program the address is:

Clinical Skills Assessment and Training (CSAT) Program
Faculty of Medicine
c/o Western Memorial Regional Hospital
P.O. Box 2005
Cornerbrook, NF A2H 6J7
Tel. No. (709) 639-2728
Fax No. (709) 634-9175
E-mail: csat@beothuk.swgc.mun.ca

These are the CSAT requirements: 1, 2, 3,
Plus there is Clinical Trainees program for those already licenced and practicing in Canada but who still feel the need for or may have been told they need additional training

Plus there is a Physicians Returning to Practice Program. Again the International Medical Graduate has to meet certain requirements
Here's the address for more information from the CARMS web site
Postgraduate Medical Studies Office
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NF
A1B 3V6
Phone: (709) 737-6680/5
Closing Date: April 1, 2001

Here's an article about the Newfoundland Medical Association preceptorship program for International Medical Graduates as well as contact info (this program is for International Medical Graduates practicing in Newfoundland with a temporary licence).


Additional information from the Dean's Office, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (dated 1999).

Here's the address for more information from the CARMS web site
Ontario International Medical Graduate Program
University of Toronto
85 Grenville Ave., Suite 302
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 3A2
Tel: (416) 978-2459; Fax: (416) 978-8712

In addition the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto which says it has one of the largest training program for IMGs in North America has an office to help International Medical Graduates but it is mostly for foreigners who can afford to pay for Canadian medical training.

*Again this is a Medical post article (I don't know the web sites 'cause they are in French, I would appreciate receiving help from a francophone with translating these French web sites as well as making the Ultimate Canadian International Medical Graduate web site bilingual)

Here's the address for more information from the CARMS web site
Collège des médecins du Québec
2170 Rêné-Levèsque Blvd. ouest
Montréal, Québec
H3H 2T8
(514) 933-4441

Links to International Medical Graduate associations in Canada and the U.S.
(unfortunately no national association in Canada)

Alberta International Medical Graduates Association

Association of Foreign Trained Physicians in Alberta

E-mail address of immigrant advocacy group in Alberta interested in IMG issues.

International Medical Graduate Association in Ontario

BCITP Network
B.C. Internationally Trained Professionals Network
Advocacy Group for Internationally Trained Professionals in British Columbia

International Medical Graduate Association in Ontario (one page site and e-mail address only)

International Medical Graduate association in the U.S.
(Canadians can learn from these Americans have done)

Another National International Medical Graduate association in the U.S.


Links to Web sites for foreign trained professionals in Canada

Skills for Change
Advocacy group, plus links, mentorship and other programs to help immigrant professionals in Ontario.

Equal Access to Professions
Ontario government web sites, links and resources to facilitate equal access to jobs and professions (at least that's what it says)

A collection of papers and speeches during the inaugural conference "Shaping the Future: Qualification Recognition in the 21st Century" held in Toronto on October 12-15, 1999.

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