Are you a foreign-trained doctor? Do you want to work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then this article is for you please read on.
Canada has a lot of employment opportunities for International Medical Graduates (IMGs), especially IMGs with post-graduate training and qualification in family medicine.
Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CCFP) is a prerequisite for practising family medicine in Canada. IMGs who trained in the USA, Australia, Ireland and the United Kingdom can apply for CCFP. However, other IMGs are not eligible to directly sit for the College of Family Physicians certification Exam.
Ineligible International Medical Graduates will need an alternative pathway to obtain a licence as a Family Physician in Canada without immediate certification by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The alternative pathway for foreign-trained doctors to obtain a practising licence in Canada is the National Assessment Collaboration’s Practice Ready Assessment program (NAC-PRA).
The Practice Ready Assessment program is offered in seven of the thirteen provinces of Canada as an alternative pathway for internationally trained medical graduates who have completed residency and have practised independently abroad.
Each of the seven provinces has its own Practice Ready Assessment program aimed at ensuring that internationally trained medical graduates have the requisite skills and medical knowledge to provide quality health care to patients in Canada.
The National Assessment Collaboration’s Practice Ready Assessment program is a pan-Canadian model, with a set of common standards, tools and materials for all the seven Canadian provinces which offer the Practice Ready Assessment program.
For questions and clarifications regarding the guide to Work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada, please use the comment section.
The 7 Canadian Provinces that participate in the NAC – PRA P program
- Practice-Ready Assessment – Physicians for British Columbia (PRA-BC)
- Practice Readiness Assessment Alberta (PRA-AB)
- Saskatchewan International Physician Practice Assessment (SIPPA)
- University of Manitoba International Medical Graduate Program (PRA MB – Family Practice & PRA MB – Specialty Practice)
- Collège des médecins du Québec
- Practice Ready Assessment – Newfoundland and Labrador (PRA-NL)
- Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program (NSPRAP)
Note: The following Canadian provinces Ontario, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest do not currently participate in the National Assessment Collaboration’s Practice Ready Assessment program for internationally trained medical graduates.
Steps to Work as a Foreign Trained Doctor in Canada
Guide to Work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada. Foreign-trained Family physicians can practice in Canada via the following steps.
Step 1. Select your preferred province
Canada is made up of 13 provinces, 7 of which offer the Practice Ready Assessment program which allows foreign Trained Family Physicians and other international medical graduates to register, get licenced and practice in Canada.
Each of the Canadian provinces has there own medical regulatory authority, consequently, internationally trained Family Physicians/ General practitioners need to select which province(s) they prefer to work in.
The Canadian province’s choice should depend on the ease of obtaining the visa, job availability, work permit and lifestyle.
Step 2. Open an account with Physiciansapply.ca
The physiciansaspply.ca account supports submission of your credentials, source verification of your credentials with EPIC/ECFMG and registration for the medical council of Canada exams (MCC)
Creating an account with Physiciansapply.ca will require payment of a non-refundable fee with your credit card.
Step 3. Evidence of English Language Proficiency
The official language in most Canadian provinces is English, thus to Work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada, you need to sit for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic or Occupational English Test (OET) medicine for Canada. A minimum score of seven in each component of the IELTS or B in all parts of the OET is required.
Foreign-trained doctors whose native language is English Language or who trained in a country where the native language is English are exempted from providing evidence of English proficiency.
Foreign-trained Family Physicians who intend to practice in Quebec need evidence of French Language Proficiency, with the exception of IMGs whose native language is French or who trained in a country where the native language is French.
Step 4. Primary source verification of your credentials
This is done through your Physicianapply.ca account and is performed via the EPIC/ECFMGs portfolio. Your medical degree(MBBS) and Postgraduate medical qualifications should be verified.
Note: If you have verified your credentials previously for another purpose via EPIC/ECFMGS, you do need to reverify simply apply for a report to be generated.
Step 5. MCCQE1 Examination
The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying examination part 1 (MCCQE1) is one of the requirements to work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada.
You can apply and assess preparatory materials for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying examination part 1 via your PhysicianApply.ca account.
The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying examination part 1 can be taken worldwide at any Prometric test centre or online. For information about the MCCQE1 exam schedule, application and fees click here.
The Medical Council of Canada Qualifying examination part 2 has been cancelled following the covid 19 pandemic, international medical graduates who passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying examination part 1 are entitled to Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC).
Step 6. Assessment for Certification of College of Family Physicians of Canada
Having successfully completed the steps above, The foreign-trained Family physician should apply to the College of Family Physicians of Canada for a provisional licence to practice Family medicine in the selected province.
However, Ineligible foreign trained Family Physicians will go through an alternative pathway; the National Assessment Collaboration’s Practice Ready Assessment program.
Eligibility Requirements for National Assessment Collaboration’s Practice Ready Assessment
- Medical degree.
- Two years of postgraduate training in Family Medicine leading to registration or recognition as a family physician in the country of training.
- Evidence of completion of 7 core rotations: A minimum of 4 weeks of postgraduate training in the following departments: internal/general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics/gynaecology, paediatrics, psychiatry, & emergency medicine; and a minimum of 8 weeks of postgraduate training in family medicine.
- Scope of Practice: Evidence of having practised independently for a minimum of 2 years as a family physician.
- Verification of medical degree, passport, and postgraduate training letters that confirm completion of the 7 core rotations through physiciansapply.ca.
- Currency of practice. Evidence of a minimum of 24 weeks (960 hours) of clinical practice as a Family Practitioner 3 years preceding your application.
- Evidence of English language proficiency.
- A passing score on the MCCQE Part 1 and be a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC).
Note: Alberta Canadian province does not require independent practice experience post-family medicine rotation/training. British Columbia and Nova Scotia require 2 years of independent practice experience as a family physician or General practitioner.
Step 7. Apply for the TDM exam
To work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada, you must pass the Therapeutic Decision Making Exam. The TDM Examination aims to assess the competence of foreign-trained Family Physicians at the level required of a Family Physician practising independently and safely in Canada.
Application for TDM Examination is through your PRA program. Once your application is approved, you will receive a notification via your physiciansapply.ca account with the exam details. The TDM exam can be written at any Prometric Exam Centre or online.
For more information about the TDM exam schedule, application and fee click here
Once you pass the TDM exam, you will receive a result letter via email which is added to your physiciansapply.ca account.
Step 8. Secure Sponsorship
International trained medical graduates, who have met all the above requirements, will need to apply for sponsorship from the health service of the Canadian province they wish to practice.
Step 9. Practice Readiness Assessment
The selection process for Practice Readiness Assessment programs is quite competitive after the screening process that evaluates the applicants’ credentials and work experience. The PRA programs select foreign-trained doctors who meet the minimum eligibility and sponsorship requirements for the practice-ready assessment route.
After your Practice Readiness Assessment program, the PRA committee reviews the results of your 12 weeks of Clinical Field Assessment (CFA)and sends them to the college to be assessed by the registration committee for approval. Successful foreign-trained family doctors are given a defined licence to practice.
During the Clinical Field Assessment candidates will be provided with accommodation allowance and weekly stipends.
Step 10. Return of Service (ROS) Agreement
Upon completing the Clinical Field Assessment (CFA), successful candidates will sign a 3-year ROS agreement and be posted to a rural community to practice. After the expiration of the three years, the Family doctor can relocate to other parts of Canada or may decide to continue practising there.
Foreign-trained Family Physicians/General Practitioners who are interested in practising abroad will find Canada a good destination to migrate to and practice with good remuneration. For information on Family physicians’ salaries in Canada click here.
The journey to practice in Canada as an IMG requires hard work and funds. For more information regarding the general cost, implication click here. This article provided a simplified guide on how to work as a foreign-trained doctor in Canada. Good luck.
For questions and clarifications regarding the guide on how to work as a foreign trained doctor in Canada, please use the comment section.