Going abroad

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Working in Canada

Toronto, Canada

Read our detailed guidance about how to work in Canada, produced in association with the Medical Council of Canada.

  • Healthcare system

    Canada has a well-established and comprehensive publicly funded healthcare service for the entire population - medicare. The service provides universal coverage for medically necessary hospital and physician services based on need rather than ability to pay. The federal government has the ultimate responsibility but the roles and responsibilities are shared with the provincial/territorial governments who are responsible for the management, organisation and delivery of health services for their residents.

    Primary care is the foundation of the healthcare system and patients do not pay for medical consultations or treatment and can have direct access to specialists without needing a GP referral.

     

  • Immigration

    Employment authorisation is required from the Canadian High Commission before leaving the UK, and you will need a medical examination carried out by an approved GP. A list of designated medical practitioners who are able to conduct the medical examination can be found at www.cic.gc.ca.

    You will need to apply to the Canadian High Commission for a work permit, normally only issued on the basis of a temporary offer of employment, confirmed by a Canada Employment Centre certifying that there are no qualified Canadian citizens/permanent residents who are available to undertake the position offered. This would normally be a job offer which has been officially endorsed by the Canadian government. For further details, contact the Canadian High Commission in London.

    Note: Quebec has a similar, but separate immigration procedure

  • International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

    International medical graduates (IMGs) looking to begin the process of obtaining a licence to practise medicine in Canada are always encouraged to contact the medical regulatory authority in the province or territory in which they would like to practise. You should also contact the international medical graduate programme in the province you would like to practise, if such a programme exists. The Medical Council of Canada has included links to these organisations on their website, overview of licensure for IMGs.

    Most healthcare organisations refer to physicians who have received their medical education abroad as IMGs. The Medical Council of Canada defines an IMG as an individual who has graduated from a medical school not accredited in Canada or in the U.S.A (by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the U.S.A). Graduates of a U.S. School of Osteopathic Medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association are considered IMGs.

    The term 'international medical graduate' can refer to physicians who come from a wide range of backgrounds. For example, an IMG may:

    • have several years of independent practice experience in his/her country
    • have just recently completed medical school
    • have completed a residency training program
    • have gone directly into practice with no requirement for a residency
    • be from a country with a medical education system similar to Canada's
    • be from a country whose medical education system is very different from Canada's

    Prior to commencing the licensure process in Canada, all IMGs will need to assess their circumstances and consider the following:

    • there is no guarantee of obtaining a licence to practise in Canada
    • the licensure process has many stages and can seem complex to those not familiar with the Canadian approach
    • there are differences in the registration processes between provinces and territories
    • there is a significant financial and personal commitment required to pursue licensure

    Depending on the province or territory, licensure may involve:

    • a series of examinations (eligibility, program selection, qualifying, certification)
    • language proficiency tests
    • credentialing
    • postgraduate training or assessment
    • return-of-service agreements (practising in a underserviced community for an agreed upon period of time)

    See the Registration to Practise Medicine in Canada chart for a general overview of the licensure steps.

    You can also review the process of obtaining a licence for steps you can take before arriving in Canada, and some steps you can take once in Canada.

     

  • Registration to practise medicine in Canada

    Undergraduate medical school

    In order to practise medicine in Canada, a physician trained in Canada or in another country requires an acceptable undergraduate Medical Doctor (MD) degree.

    An acceptable medical degree granted by an approved university must be source verified.

     

    The Medical Council of Canada's Physician Credentials Repository (PCRC)

    The Medical Council of Canada, many provincial medical regulatory authorities and other health organizations require that physicians send their medical credential documents to the Medical Council of Canada's Physician Credentials Repository (PCRC) for source verification.

    The candidate must check with the organization with whom he or she is applying to find out which documents need to be sent to the repository. Once the documents are source verified, they are stored for life in the repository, and can be shared with many organizations with whom the candidate is applying.

     

    Medical knowledge

    In addition to an acceptable medical degree, international medical graduates are required to demonstrate equivalency of medical knowledge.

    The candidate must pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) to demonstrate equivalent general medical knowledge.

     

    Language

    IMGs must provide proof of language proficiency. This may involve taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE). In Québec, this involves taking the French examination of the Office Québécois de la langue française.

     

    Postgraduate training

    All Canadian medical graduates must complete an accredited postgraduate training program (often referred to as "residency training") in order to be eligible to take the certification examinations.

    The length of postgraduate medical training undertaken through a Canadian-accredited medical school is: - two years for Family Medicine - four to five years for other specialties.

    Postgraduate trainees, called "residents", practise under an educational licence and are not licensed to practise independently.

    IMGs must complete supervised clinical training or assessment to meet licensure educational requirements. The number of places in the assessment programs and postgraduate training system are limited.

    CaRMS and IMG-specific programs are the main points of access to postgraduate training. IMG-specific programs also offer assessments.

    In some cases, specialists are permitted to take the certification examinations without additional postgraduate training through special assessments of equivalency of training by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

    Selection processes for IMG programs may include:

    • written multiple choice or short answer examinations
    • file review of training and experience
    • objective structured clinical examinations
    • interviews.

     

    Provincial or territorial registration and licensure

    Each province or territory is responsible for the regulation of the practice of medicine in their respective jurisdiction. Therefore, each individual medical regulatory authority should be consulted for the most current licensure information and provisions that may be available to physicians as they progress through the requirements outlined above.

    All provinces and territories accept the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and certification in either Family Medicine from the College of Family Physicians of Canada or in another specialty certified through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Provinces and territories also accept other qualifications for licensure on an individual basis.

    Canadian certification in Family Medicine is provided through the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Certification in other specialties is provided by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

    Upon completion of residency training:

    • family physicians must pass the College of Family Physicians of Canada Certification Examination
    • other specialists must pass the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Certification Examination specific to their specialty
    • in Québec, attestation in Family Medicine or certification in another specialty is provided through the Collège des médecins du Québec.

     

    Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)   

    The LMCC is also one of the requirements to obtain an independent licence to practise medicine in most of the provinces or territories of Canada. In addition to a pass standing on the MCCEE, the IMG physician must have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE Part I) and the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II (MCCQE Part II).

    The physician must have completed a minimum of twelve months of acceptable postgraduate training to be eligible for the MCCQE Part II. Source verification of the medical degree or diploma is required for eligibility to take the MCCQE Part II.

  • Obtaining a licence to practise medicine

    The information below is geared to IMGs looking to begin the process of obtaining a licence to practise medicine in Canada.

    Individuals are always encouraged to contact the medical regulatory authority in the province or territory in which they would like to practise. You should also contact the international medical graduate programme in the province you would like to practise, if such a programme exists. The Medical Council of Canada has included links to these organisations on their website.

    There are general steps that IMGs should take before arriving in Canada, and steps you should take after your arrival.

    You can start the licensure process from outside Canada:

     

    1. Confirm that your medical degree is from a recognized medical school

    Visit the International Medical Education Directory (IMED) part of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research's (FAIMER) website. Your medical school, the name of the medical degree and the year of your graduation must be listed on the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory to be accepted in Canada.

     

    2. Are you exam ready?

    IMGs can test their readiness for the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) through the Medical Council of Canada Self Administered Evaluating Examination (SAE - EE). IMGs who take the SAE - EE will receive the number of questions correctly answered as well as a percentile table that compares their performance to the results achieved by other MCCEE candidates. Fees should be checked at time of applying.

     

    3. Submit your credentials

    IMGs can use the MCC's Physician Credentials Repository to establish a confidential professional electronic portfolio of their credentials prior to arriving in Canada. IMGs can request that the Repository share their portfolio with provincial or territorial medical regulatory authorities, certifying and qualifying bodies.

     The MCC requires IMGs who are applying for the first time to the MCCEE to open an application with the Physician Credentials Repository and send a certified copy of their final medical diploma. The diploma must be successfully source verified through the Repository for the candidate to be eligible to the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II.

    Fees should be checked at time of applying.

     

    4. Take the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE)

    IMGs must pass the MCCEE to apply for a residency position through the Canadian Resident Matching Service. The MCCEE is offered in 500 sites in more than 70 countries. For a list of countries where the MCCEE is offered, please see Prometric centres - list of countries. If IMGs have obtained Canadian or American board specialty certification, they may apply to the Medical Council of Canada for an exemption from the MCCEE. Fees should be checked at time of applying.

    Note: The MCC requires all first-time MCCEE candidates to open an application with the MCC's Physician Credentials Repository and send a certified copy of their medical diploma.

  • Useful contacts

    Canadian High Commission, Immigration Division
    38 Grosvenor Square, London, W1K 4AA
    www.canada.org.uk

    Canadian Medical Association
    1867 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1G 5W8, Canada
    www.cma.ca
    www.cma.ca - (Item 9.) for detailed information for international medical graduates

    Canadian Medical Protective Association
    PO Box 8225, Station 'T', Ottawa, ON K1G 3H7, Canada
    Tel: +1 613 725 2000 Fax: +1 613 725 1300
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cmpa-acpm.ca

    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    www.cic.gc.ca

    Competent authorities – Provincial Medical Regulatory Authorities:
    www.iamra.com

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
    2700 Telus Plaza South, 10020 100 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0N3
    Tel: +1 780 423 4764 Fax: +1 780 420 0651
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cpsa.ab.ca

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia
    400- 858 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1C1, Canada
    Tel: +1 604 733 7758 Fax: +1 604 733 3503
    www.cpsbc.ca

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba
    1000-1661 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3J 3T7, Canada
    Tel: +1 204 774 4344 Fax: +1 204 774 0750
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cpsm.mb.ca

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick
    1 Hampton Road, Suite 300, Rothesay, NB E2E 5K8, Canada
    Tel: +1 506 849 5050 Fax: +1 506 849 5069
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cpsnb.org

    Newfoundland Medical Board
    Suite 603, 139 Water St, Saint John's, NF A1C 1B2, Canada
    Tel: +1 709 726 8546 Fax: +1 709 726 4725
    Email: [email protected]
    www.nmb.ca

    Department of Health and Social Services
    Registrar, Professional Licensing, Department of Health and Social Services, 8th Floor Centre Square Tower, PO Box 1320, Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9, Canada
    Tel: +1 867 920 8058 Fax: +1 867 873 0484
    www.hlthss.gov.nt.ca

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia
    Sentry Place, Suite 300, 1559 Brunswick Street, Halifax, NS B3J 2G1, Canada
    Tel: +1 902 422 5823 Fax: +1 902 422 5035
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cpsns.ns.ca

    Department of Health and Social Services
    Government of Nunavut, Registrar, Professional Licensing, 2nd Floor NCC Building, Box 390, Kugluktuk, NU X0B 0E0, Canada
    Tel: +1 867 975 5700 Fax: +1 867 975 5705
    Email: [email protected]
    www.gov.nu.ca

    College of Family Physicians of Canada
    2630 Skymark Avenue, Mississauga, ON L4W 5A4, Canada
    Tel: +1 905 629 0900 Fax: +1 905 629 0893
    www.cfpc.ca
    Click on chapters to see the regional branches contact details

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
    80 College Street, Toronto, ON M5G 2E2, Canada
    Tel: +1 416 967 2603
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cpso.on.ca

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island
    199 Grafton Street, Charlottetown, PE C1A 1L2, Canada
    Tel: +1 902 566 3861 Fax: +1 902 566 3986
    www.cpspei.ca

    Collège des médecins du Québec

    2170, boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montréal, QC H3H 2T8, Canada
    Tel: +1 514 933 4441 Fax: +1 514 933 3112
    Email: [email protected]
    www.cmq.org

    College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan
    500-321A 21st Street East, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0C1
    Tel: +1 306 244 7355 Fax: +1 306 244 0090
    Email: [email protected]
    www.quadrant.net/cpss

    Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada
    2283 St Laurent Boulevard, Suite 103, Ottawa, ON K1G 5A2, Canada
    Tel: +1 613 738 0372 Fax: +1 613 738 9169
    Email: [email protected]
    www.fmrac.ca

    Health Canada online – Department of Health website on working in Canada
    www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    Medical Council of Canada
    P O Box 8234 Stn T, Ottawa, ON K1G 3H7, Canada
    Tel: +1 613 521 6012 Fax: +1 613 521 9417
    www.mcc.ca

    Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
    774 Echo Drive, Ottawa, ON K1S 5N8, Canada
    Tel: +1 613 730 8177 Fax: +1 613 730 8830
    Email: [email protected]
    rcpsc.medical.org

    Society of Rural Physicians of Canada
    www.srpc.ca

    Yukon Medical Council
    Box 2703 C-18, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6, Canada
    Tel: +1 867 667 3774 Fax: +1 867 393 6483
    Email: [email protected]
    www.yukonmedicalcouncil.ca

    The Working in Canada website also includes province and territory-specific information that may be of interest.