An International Medical Graduate (IMG) is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who graduates from a medical school outside of Canada.* There is a separate admission process for IMGs to Family Medicine Residency, which involves CaRMS, assignment to a cohort group, a pre-residency training program and an assessment verification period. See below for more information on each of these steps.
*the IMG group includes graduates from American schools of Osteopathic Medicine.
Resources for IMGs:
- Healthforce Ontario Access Centre – offers services for IMGs who are interested in practicing in Ontario and require counselling
- Ontario IMG School
- Ontario Bridge Training Program
- Bridge to Clinical Skills Communication Canada – offers preparation for multiple exams
- Touchstone Institute
- National Assessment Collaboration Examination
The six Ontario Family Medicine Residency programs jointly run the IMG admissions process via the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS). Please review the CaRMS website for admission requirements and match timelines.
Once matched to the Family Medicine Program at McMaster University through the CaRMS process, IMGs are divided into two cohorts designated Cohort 1 and Cohort 2, who commence their pre-residency training in March/April and July/August respectively. Multiple factors are taken into consideration when assigning cohorts including participant preference and date of graduation from medical school.
All IMGs entering Family Medicine Programs in Ontario are required to complete a pre-residency training program (PRP) as a transition to family medicine in Canada. During the PRP, IMGs are treated as fourth-year clinical clerks and have the expectations and responsibilities appropriate for that level. The Pre-Residency Program is divided into two phases:
Pre-Residency Program Phase 1 (PRP1) is organized centrally by Touchstone Institute for all International Medical Graduates commencing Family Medicine Residency Programs in Ontario.
Pre-Residency Program Phase 2 (PRP2) is organized locally for IMGs commencing family medicine at McMaster University by individual teaching sites, with the goal of addressing identified needs of IMGs prior to residency. During this period, participants attend the Academic Half Day at their teaching site.
*Access to a car and ability to drive may be required for pre-residency training as well as throughout residency. Go to the Ontario website for information on how to exchange your out-of-country driver’s licence.
In addition to helping IMGs transition to family medicine in Canada, the PRP also prepares IMGs for a successful evaluation in the mandatory Assessment Verification Period.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) requires all International Medical Students to complete a 12-week Assessment Verification Process (AVP) following the Pre-Residency Training Program. IMGs must successfully complete the AVP in order to receive a postgraduate educational license to practice medicine in Canada and start residency training.