Residency in Canada

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

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 in a Canadian or US 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.

You may apply for clinical elective opportunities in Canada on the AFMC Student Portal.

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 Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I

The MCCQE Part I is a one-day computer-based test which assesses critical medical knowledge and clinical decision-making abilities. The student should prepare to take the exam during the Fall semester of the final year of Irish medical school. This allows new graduates to directly commence a Canadian residency upon completion of medical school. The exam will be delivered in Canada and internationally in over 80 countries (including Ireland), up to five times per year.

  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 submit a ranked list of their desired residencies to CaRMS and residency directors submit 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.

  1. Write the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II

The MCCQE Part II assesses candidates’ abilities to apply medical knowledge, demonstrate clinical skills, develop investigational and therapeutic clinical plans, as well as demonstrate professional behaviors and attitudes. The two-day examination, consisting of a series of clinical stations, should be taken between the second and 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.

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.

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.

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
AFMC –Student Portal “Opening doors to visiting electives”

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.).

Applications are now closed for Fall 2024 Entry.

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