Citizenship for Residency in Canada

Most Canadian residencies are open to permanent residents of Canada and all residencies are open to Canadian citizens.

Securing Residency in Canada

In order to secure a Canadian residency, it is recommended that Canadian students take the following preliminary steps during their final years of medical studies in Ireland:

  1. Take Electives at a Canadian Medical School

During the clinical years, it is essential that students complete clinical elective rotations at a Canadian teaching hospital or clinic. These electives should facilitate letters of reference from the hospital preceptors, which are an important part of the residency application process. In addition, the clinical elective allows the hospital to assess the student’s medical knowledge, clinical and interpersonal skills and often provides a pathway to a place in the hospital’s residency program.

Some of the Irish medical schools have organized clinical and research electives, which are taken during the summer months at partnering academic teaching hospitals & clinics in the United States and Canada.

  1. Write the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The English as a Foreign Language Test (TOEFL) is a simple one-day test that evaluates the student’s ability to communicate in English. This should be done during the final years of study in Ireland, as it is required for admission to Canadian residencies. There is a TOEFL testing center in Dublin.

  1. Write the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE)

The Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) can be written during the final year of medical school. This allows new graduates to directly commence a Canadian residency upon completion of medical school. Offered twice annually, the student should prepare to take this written exam during fall semester of the final year of Irish medical school.

  1. Take the National Assessment Collaboration – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (NAC OSCE)

Most provinces now require students to pass the National Assessment Collaboration – Objective Structured Clinical Examination (NAC OSCE). The NAC OSCE is a standardized clinical exam designed to test the knowledge and skills of International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in order to assess their readiness to commence residency training in Canada. Students must first pass the MCCEE before taking the NAC OSCE. Check with the appropriate regulatory authority in the province in which you wish to practice for specific requirements.

  1. Enter the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS)

Early in the final medical year students register with the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS) and apply to residency programs.

  1. Interviews and Matching

Having applied via CaRMS to residency programs, students are then invited by the residency programs to interview. After interviews have been completed, students then enter a ranked list of their desired residencies to CaRMS. Residency directors also enter their ranked list of candidates. CaRMS then matches students with residency posts.

Canadian citizens who studied in Ireland are permitted to enter the first round of the match in most provinces. However, the match rules vary by province. Some provinces have a parallel match with reserved slots for Canadians who are international graduates. A few provinces have a unified match whereby graduates of both Canadian medical schools and Irish (or other international) medical schools compete openly for residency spots. Check with CaRMS for specific information.

  1. Graduate Medical School and Begin Residency

The student graduates from medical school in Ireland and starts residency in Canada a few weeks later.

Completing Residency in Canada

  1. Take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examinations

Once the student has graduated from medical school and has commenced residency training, the newly qualified physician must write the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exams. The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination, Part I (MCCQEI) is usually written sometime during first year of residency training and the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part II (MCCQEII) is usually written between the second to final year of the residency program.

  1. Take the Specialty Examination

Toward the end of residency, specialty examinations are taken. For example, a family physician would take the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) examination.

Provincial Variations

Residency policy in Canada varies by province. These provincial variations can be reviewed on the CaRMS website. A residency may have extra requirements, such as proficiency in French for a francophone residency. The provincial policies are updated regularly. For official information on licensing, please contact the licensing authority in the Province or Territory where you wish to practice.

Canadian Residency Posts ‘Outside the Match’

Some provinces have specially funded residency positions available outside the CaRMS match process. Often these are tied with a return-of-service agreement. Details of these specially funded positions can be obtained from the provincial authorities.

Concurrent Applications to USA and Canadian Residencies

It is possible for a Canadian citizen who trained in Ireland to concurrently apply to residencies in both the USA and Canada. This involves writing the exams for each country and entering both the Canadian (CaRMS) and the American (NRMP) residency matching programs. However, there is a reciprocal agreement between the USA and Canada, in which a student who is matched in one country is removed from the other country’s match.

Useful links:
Medical Council of Canada 
IMG Ontario 
Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

The information on this page is not official and should be used only as a guideline. Residency placements are competitive and cannot be guaranteed. Candidates are encouraged to seek more specific and official information from the relevant provincial and national organizations (e.g. CaRMS, etc.).