Qualified International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are a valuable part of the health care system. Ontario leads the country in the number of postgraduate medical training positions it provides for IMGs. The province continues to offer 200 new training and assessment positions annually for IMGs. This is more than all other provinces combined.
Where to Get Information
IMGs living in Ontario are encouraged to contact the HealthForceOntario Access Centre. Advisors are there to help IMGs find the most effective path into practice in the province and explain the steps they need to take.
An IMG's eligibility for practice in Ontario - and the processes he or she must follow - depends on education and practice experience.
Applying Directly to the College of Physicians and Surgeons
Some IMGs don't need to go through a ministry-funded training or assessment program. These IMGs can apply for practice registration directly through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. For example, IMGs who have been certified in another Canadian jurisdiction, U.S. trained physicians who have met all U.S. certification requirements, or physicians who have accredited postgraduate training in the U.S. may be able to apply directly.
Obtaining Postgraduate Training or Assessment
The 200 training positions and assessments offered to IMGs annually are a combination of 1) entry level and advanced residency positions and 2) practice ready assessments. About half of these are in family medicine, a two-year residency. Physicians in other specialities or sub-specialities require four or more years of residency.
The ministry is not involved in placing or selecting candidates for these positions. The medical schools are responsible for selecting candidates.
Entry level positions
IMGs apply directly for entry-level residency positions through the Canadian Resident Matching Services (CaRMS). All IMGs who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and meet the CaRMS application criteria can apply. Medical schools decide who will be accepted.
IMGs interested in entry-level positions can also use the services of the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad (CEHPEA). CEHPEA provides evaluations for IMGs which may help candidates strengthen their portfolios and be more competitive in the CaRMS match. An evaluation through CEHPEA is mandatory for entry into certain residency programs.
Advanced level training refers to the second year or more advanced years of postgraduate training in a specialty area. IMGs entering at this level have been identified as needing between one and four years of training. To be considered for advanced training, applicants require at least one year of postgraduate education in the specialty they're applying for.
A Practice Ready Assessment allows eligible physicians with recent practice experience to go through a six-month assessment in a supervised clinical setting at an Ontario medical school. This determines whether the physician is ready to enter directly into practice or if he or she needs more training.
IMGs interested in advanced level training and practice ready assessment positions must apply through CEHPEA. In any year, CEHPEA will only conduct eligibility assessments for advanced level entry and practice ready positions for specialties where medical schools have identified potential capacity.
It is important to remember that all ministry-funded IMG training and assessment programs in Ontario have return-of-service requirements.
HealthForceOntario is the government's health human resource strategy designed to ensure we have access to the right number and mix of health care providers, now and in the future. A key component of HealthForceOntario is the Access Centre for internationally educated health professionals.
The Access Centre opened in December 2006 and provides intensive case management service to health care professionals, including IMGs, in order to provide support through the licensure and registration process.
Visit the HealthForceOntario website to learn about the Access Centre or contact HealthForceOntario:
By mail or in person :
HealthForceOntario Marketing and Recruitment Agency
163 Queen Street, 2nd Floor
Toronto, ON M5A 1S1
(Hours of Operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm EST)
By telephone :
Toronto : 416-862-2200
North America : 1-800-596-4046
International : 1-800-596-4046 ext. 4
More than 200 new training and assessment opportunities are made available each year for international medical graduates (IMGs) wanting to practise medicine in the province. Physicians who accept these positions must agree to provide five years of full-time service in an eligible community. Physicians confirm their commitment by signing a Return-of-Service (ROS) agreement with the ministry. ROS agreements ensure that IMG participants fill the need for physicians in Ontario communities. ROS requirements are clearly specified in the signed agreements.