Should I go to Caribbean as a "High School Graduate"

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supevenacava

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Hello

To introduce myself, I am a student who completed one year of university but I recently came across a program offered by a private institution called CIMT (located in Canada). They offer a 1 year program that matches the "pre-medical" year that these 5-year Caribbean MD schools offer (1 year premed + 2 year basic science + 2 year clinical science). Some of the pros I defined to myself were: I will saved 3 ish years and it could possibly be a shot at an MD (literally thats all I have down).

I understand the current stigma that is surrounded around the Caribbean and I agree with it too. The reason why my parents and I were so convinced with this program was that we have family friends who went to a TOP 4 Caribbean institution and ended up getting competitive residencies.

Another thing I would like to note is that I will be classified as an IMG anywhere I apply. I hold a Canadian citizenship, and as per PracticeinBC.ca, if you hold a Canadian citizenship and apply for residency in Canada, you will still be classified as an IMG. The same goes for the US.

I have attached a table below showing the only institutions CIMT is affiliated with. Anyone is free to use this table.
1694102912585.png


Generally, XAVIER and AUA would be the safest options (AUA is after all American University, but comes with a hefty price)

However, I would like to ask, should I really do this? I have not come across anyone who has done/is doing what I am doing (besides my classmates). The only people I know have only went to the TOP 4. I have watched the Med School Insiders video as well as some of Dr. Gray's podcasts on the Caribbean and I came off pretty anxious as the gist of what he was saying was to a) don't go unless you HAVE to and b) don't go to a school that doesn't look at MCAT.

I have a 2 other options, however:
1. I could continue my degree as a trad applicant in Canada and apply. Maybe attempt US MD/DO schools if I meet the prerequisites. Then ofc attend T4 Carib.
2. I could pursue engineering or some sort of professional degree before attempting Caribbean (if I must). If my GPA comes out good then perhaps try for MD locally.
3. Maybe other schools internationally and then apply for US/Can residencies. Any recommendations?

I appreciate all the help I get in advance. I am just looking for advice here :)

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LizzyM

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What is your goal? To earn an MD degree? To practice medicine in Canada? To practice medicine in the US? Something else? What science courses did you take in your first year of undergrad? How did you do (GPA)? Have you had any work or volunteer experience in a clinical setting?
 
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Gambino.

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Uhh none of the schools on your list are the "competitive" carib schools. AUA is not part of American University like you think it is. Holds no relation to the one you're thinking about.

You're Canadian, schooling is presumably cheaper there. Get your bachelors in something you like that has decent career prospects (Comp sci, IT, nursing, any type of engineering) with a pre-med track added into it and then apply to Canadian and US MD/DO schools. You might maybe save a couple years doing the BS/MD pathways route but you'll be left with no alternative career if it doesn't pan out and a lot more debt.

Also if your goal is to get a Canadian residency, the match rates for carib grads are much lower than the US so definitely something to keep in mind. You can technically do a US residency and move back to Canada but our residencies are sometimes shorter than Canadian ones so most would do a fellowship to have the years to become eligible in Canada.
 
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supevenacava

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What is your goal? To earn an MD degree? To practice medicine in Canada? To practice medicine in the US? Something else? What science courses did you take in your first year of undergrad? How did you do (GPA)? Have you had any work or volunteer experience in a clinical setting?
My goal is to become an MD. I am not too concerned about whether I practice in Canada or in the US.

I am going into my second year and my GPA was not so good (3.3x, could have been 3.7x if I never took relativity physics and a hard elective). The courses I took were general chemistry I & II, general biology I & II, calculus I & II, 2 research writing courses, relativity physics, and applied meteorology. My GPA could be improved by a lot but I blame it on myself and I realized my mistakes.

I have 50 hours of long term care volunteering hours at a remote hospital (it was during summer before I had to move away). I plan to volunteer at the regional hospital soon again for long term care.

I have 500+ hours of unrelated voluntary work, though. It would be classified as personal extracurriculars.
 

supevenacava

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Uhh none of the schools on your list are the "competitive" carib schools. AUA is not part of American University like you think it is. Holds no relation to the one you're thinking about.

You're Canadian, schooling is presumably cheaper there. Get your bachelors in something you like that has decent career prospects (Comp sci, IT, nursing, any type of engineering) with a pre-med track added into it and then apply to Canadian and US MD/DO schools. You might maybe save a couple years doing the BS/MD pathways route but you'll be left with no alternative career if it doesn't pan out and a lot more debt.

Also if your goal is to get a Canadian residency, the match rates for carib grads are much lower than the US so definitely something to keep in mind. You can technically do a US residency and move back to Canada but our residencies are sometimes shorter than Canadian ones so most would do a fellowship to have the years to become eligible in Canada.
Ah I see what you mean. I was thinking that AUA was related to AUC but turns out it is not.

School is cheaper here. In the long run, both the costs of my BSc and my MD here would equate to around almost the same as some of the cheaper medical schools in the Caribbean.

How would you define adding a pre-med track to something like engineering? I read somewhere that sometimes students from Canada who do end up with a BSc usually will not meet the requirements of US MD/DO schools, do you know anything on this?

Thank you again for your advice :)
 

Gambino.

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How would you define adding a pre-med track to something like engineering? I read somewhere that sometimes students from Canada who do end up with a BSc usually will not meet the requirements of US MD/DO schools, do you know anything on this?
I'm from the US but I'm assuming it works the same there. You either officially add a pre-med track by contacting your school's premed dept if the school allows or you just take the pre-reqs as you feel fit. Some will count for reqs on engineering like calculus and physics. Some will count towards elective credits or science credits and the rest will just be extra. Depending on the major you choose you can either finish on time or with an extra semester or two. If you choose for example computer science, it'd likely take 5 years since it is a pretty demanding major but you can take the premed classes in the summer and winter sessions to finish on time. You'd probably get more accurate advice talking to the premed counselor or advisor at your school since they'd know more of the specifics.
 
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LizzyM

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If your goal is to have the MD degree but not to practice medicine, then going to the Caribbean route may get you to your goal and you can do whatever you want with the MD other than getting licensed and treating patients.

If you want to be licensed and care for patients, it is much easier (but not easy) to do so by attending a medical school in the US or Canada. A rough patch in freshman year is no reason to give up on the goal of getting admitted to a Canadian medical school if that would be most desirable given the financial challenges of attending a US school as a Canadian citizen.
 
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supevenacava

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If your goal is to have the MD degree but not to practice medicine, then going to the Caribbean route may get you to your goal and you can do whatever you want with the MD other than getting licensed and treating patients.

If you want to be licensed and care for patients, it is much easier (but not easy) to do so by attending a medical school in the US or Canada. A rough patch in freshman year is no reason to give up on the goal of getting admitted to a Canadian medical school if that would be most desirable given the financial challenges of attending a US school as a Canadian citizen.
Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps me a lot. :)

So essentially getting licensed would definitely be harder than from a US or Canadian school. My goal is to ultimately be practicing on patients so I guess I am in a bit of a pickle right now to decide which one should I rather take.
 

supevenacava

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I'm from the US but I'm assuming it works the same there. You either officially add a pre-med track by contacting your school's premed dept if the school allows or you just take the pre-reqs as you feel fit. Some will count for reqs on engineering like calculus and physics. Some will count towards elective credits or science credits and the rest will just be extra. Depending on the major you choose you can either finish on time or with an extra semester or two. If you choose for example computer science, it'd likely take 5 years since it is a pretty demanding major but you can take the premed classes in the summer and winter sessions to finish on time. You'd probably get more accurate advice talking to the premed counselor or advisor at your school since they'd know more of the specifics.
I see what you mean. I am planning on taking summer courses as well to cover up on some missed courses during this year as I am attending CIMT. I am currently in the talks with my counsellor on obtaining a dual degree over a 5 year span. I know it will be hard so I am also considering a double major in CS/health-science to make me more competitive in the job market after my undergrad in case something does not go right when applying to Canadian/US MD/DO.
 
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gyngyn

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So essentially getting licensed would definitely be harder than from a US or Canadian school. My goal is to ultimately be practicing on patients so I guess I am in a bit of a pickle right now to decide which one should I rather take.
Be sure to consider the fact that the USMLE "pass" percentages (in your chart) do not include a true denominator.
Similarly, the residency "placement" is neither be verified nor defined.
 

supevenacava

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Be sure to consider the fact that the USMLE "pass" percentages (in your chart) do not include a true denominator.
Similarly, the residency "placement" is neither be verified nor defined.
Yeah true. I have done my research on all of that and I know that attrition rates and true USMLE pass rates are exaggerations. Moreover, I am familiar with how little people do get residency from these bottom tier schools (I think that it is around 30%-40%).
 
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NotAProgDirector

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Lots of confusing statements here. First, we have this:
I am a student who completed one year of university but I recently came across a program offered by a private institution called CIMT (located in Canada).
and this
I see what you mean. I am planning on taking summer courses as well to cover up on some missed courses during this year as I am attending CIMT.
I am confused if you're "thinking about" doing this, vs you've already committed.
In any case, this is mostly a terrible idea. The school list is all poor quality / performing schools, and really should be only a last resort (if even that).

Then, there's this:
Another thing I would like to note is that I will be classified as an IMG anywhere I apply. I hold a Canadian citizenship, and as per PracticeinBC.ca, if you hold a Canadian citizenship and apply for residency in Canada, you will still be classified as an IMG. The same goes for the US.
I think I read this incorrectly. If you go to any of these carib schools, then yes you're an IMG because your medical school is international. IMG's have great difficulty matching back in Canada, can only apply in the second iteration of CaRMS, and usual open spots are rural FM so you'd need to be happy with that. Or you can apply to the US, but then you're both an IMG and need a visa, which will make things more difficult (althogh not impossible).

When I first read this, I thought you were suggesting that if you go to a Canadian medical school that you'd be an IMG applying to the US. No matter how the NRMP classifies you, you'll do much better coming from a Canadian school.

A 3.3 GPA is much too low for canadian schools, and not great for US schools. You should stay in university. Study something you enjoy that, should medical school not work out, you can make a good career out of. You still have plenty of time to fix your GPA, but that means addressing that issue now. That's where your focus needs to be. Forget about this crazy program. This is a really bad idea.
 
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Highlander455

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You've got some good advice here. I'll add that for Canadian med schools, you should do some research, tick the boxes for prerequisite courses (different med schools have different prerequisites), and beyond that, choose a) courses and a program that you will enjoy and can work at if medicine doesn't work out, as others have suggested, and b) courses that you will do well in. In my experience Canadian med schools favour applicants with high grades (90s) and are less concerned with formal premed programs or heavy science course loads. You're more likely to be successful.with high grades in an arts program (as long as you have the prerequisites) than average grades with a heavy science course load.

When ready, apply as broadly as you can, be prepared to apply several times. You'll find most provinces except Ontario protect spaces for their own residents leaving only about 10% of spaces for out of province applicants, making them.highly competitive. Most Ontario schools will treat all applicants equally regardless of their province of residence, which means Ontario is also highly competitive because you are competing with applicants from all across Canada.

Caribbean should be your last resort, but make sure you cover the prerequisites for the top Carribean schools.

As a Canadian, you might find US schools as competitive as Canadian schools since many hold 90% of spaces for US citizens so you are competing for just 10% of seats. Also, you may find many US schools want four years of tuition in advance in escrow.

If you end up going Caribbean route, as an IMG in the Canadian match with streaming, you will only be able to apply for about 10% of available positions, mostly FM. You might be better to do residency in US then try and return to Canada.

Many Canadian IMGs find they have a better choice of specialties in the US than in the Canadian Match. And yes, as others have said, some US residencies like peds and IM are shorter than Canadian residencies leaving you a year short of what RCPSC requires. Fellowships are a common way to address this, but it lengthens your training by another 3 yrs or so.

On the upside, it is becoming a bit easier for IMGs with a US residency to return.to Canada. With the current doctor shortage and health crisis, some provinces such as Ontario have moved to create new pathways for US Board Certified physicians. Ontario's Pathway A is one example.

Hope this helps. Good luck on your journey.
 
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gyngyn

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As a Canadian, you might find US schools as competitive as Canadian schools since many hold 90% of spaces for US citizens so you are competing for just 10% of seats.
We can estimate that far fewer than 10% of US seats are available to international applicants, I'm afraid.
In 2019, for example, there were 21,622 US MD matriculants. Of the 1,890 non-US applicants, only 325 were accepted and only 272 matriculated.
Given that only 43 US MD schools now consider internationals (although MSAR indicates that an additional 14 schools consider Canadians!), one would have to conclude that real estimates are closer to 1% than 10%.

 
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supevenacava

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Lots of confusing statements here. First, we have this:

and this

I am confused if you're "thinking about" doing this, vs you've already committed.
In any case, this is mostly a terrible idea. The school list is all poor quality / performing schools, and really should be only a last resort (if even that).

Then, there's this:

I think I read this incorrectly. If you go to any of these carib schools, then yes you're an IMG because your medical school is international. IMG's have great difficulty matching back in Canada, can only apply in the second iteration of CaRMS, and usual open spots are rural FM so you'd need to be happy with that. Or you can apply to the US, but then you're both an IMG and need a visa, which will make things more difficult (althogh not impossible).

When I first read this, I thought you were suggesting that if you go to a Canadian medical school that you'd be an IMG applying to the US. No matter how the NRMP classifies you, you'll do much better coming from a Canadian school.

A 3.3 GPA is much too low for canadian schools, and not great for US schools. You should stay in university. Study something you enjoy that, should medical school not work out, you can make a good career out of. You still have plenty of time to fix your GPA, but that means addressing that issue now. That's where your focus needs to be. Forget about this crazy program. This is a really bad idea.
Thanks for your reply

I am already attending classes for CIMT, however, I can return back to my normal studies should I not decide to continue with CIMT. I agree with your point of all of the schools being poor quality schools (I have read that clinical rotations become a nightmare due to the fact that the school does not care about setting them up for you and helping you throughout).

I understand what you are saying about IMGs in Canada and I 110% agree with what you are saying. I could not agree more. I understand that it is a huge risk and moreover harder than matching in the US.

However, I had a questions related to IMGs who wish to come to Canada. I was wondering if there is some sort of special programs that a Caribbean student could go though in order to become licensed in Canada such as approved jurisdictions, practice eligibility routes, or subspecialty examination affiliate programs (I'm not sure how this one works). I heard that mainly developed countries such as Australia, Ireland, and Switzerland are given priority but my questions is if Caribbean graduates could go through one of those processes.

For your final point, I was thinking of doing engineering and then seeing if my GPA turns out "competitive" for Canadian medicine schools. I have already completed a fair portion of MCAT content this summer and hopefully will be done during these oncoming weeks. My priority is going to be, of course, CARS. If nothing works out in the end then I was considering going to a T4 Caribbean school ~ in that case I am going somewhere more reputable and having a far more decent chance of making it out.

Again, thanks for the advice :)
 

Highlander455

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Thanks for the stats correction Gyngyn. This is part of the reason why many Canadians end up going the Caribbean route (as well as other options like Australia or Ireland). With only about a 20% matriculation rate to med schools in Canada vs around 45% for US, there are many well qualified Canadians unable to train at home. Carib schools are glad to get these Canadians and target them aggressively in advertising. A number of Carib schools have partnered with Canadian universities to establish expedited entry pathways. And like the US, Canada is in a healthcare crisis and desperately needs doctors. The problem is historically there have been many barriers to Canadian IMGs returning to Canada practice. We are gradually seeing changes in this, particularly for IMGs with US residency training. Given the US anticipated doctor shortage, not sure why US politicians aren't working more actively to reduce the immigration barriers IMGs face in staying in the US after residency. There are a lot of hurdles.
 
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supevenacava

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Thanks for the stats correction Gyngyn. This is part of the reason why many Canadians end up going the Caribbean route (as well as other options like Australia or Ireland). With only about a 20% matriculation rate to med schools in Canada vs around 45% for US, there are many well qualified Canadians unable to train at home. Carib schools are glad to get these Canadians and target them aggressively in advertising. A number of Carib schools have partnered with Canadian universities to establish expedited entry pathways. And like the US, Canada is in a healthcare crisis and desperately needs doctors. The problem is historically there have been many barriers to Canadian IMGs returning to Canada practice. We are gradually seeing changes in this, particularly for IMGs with US residency training. Given the US anticipated doctor shortage, not sure why US politicians aren't working more actively to reduce the immigration barriers IMGs face in staying in the US after residency. There are a lot of hurdles.
I really wished that there was a system in Canada where CAN IMGs would be recognized the way US IMGs are recognized by the NRMP. A lot of unfortunate Canadians who are forced outside and desire to return back to Canada are left outside the gates and are forced to practice elsewhere.
 

supevenacava

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although MSAR indicates that an additional 14 schools consider Canadians!
Would this mean that as a Canadian applicant (who completed a bachelors in Canada) I would be "considered" the same way as a US applicant or would I still be competing for those 10% of allocated seats for international applicants?
 

gyngyn

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Thanks for the stats correction Gyngyn. This is part of the reason why many Canadians end up going the Caribbean route (as well as other options like Australia or Ireland). With only about a 20% matriculation rate to med schools in Canada vs around 45% for US, there are many well qualified Canadians unable to train at home. Carib schools are glad to get these Canadians and target them aggressively in advertising. A number of Carib schools have partnered with Canadian universities to establish expedited entry pathways. And like the US, Canada is in a healthcare crisis and desperately needs doctors. The problem is historically there have been many barriers to Canadian IMGs returning to Canada practice. We are gradually seeing changes in this, particularly for IMGs with US residency training. Given the US anticipated doctor shortage, not sure why US politicians aren't working more actively to reduce the immigration barriers IMGs face in staying in the US after residency. There are a lot of hurdles.
I understand.
 

gyngyn

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Would this mean that as a Canadian applicant (who completed a bachelors in Canada) I would be "considered" the same way as a US applicant or would I still be competing for those 10% of allocated seats for international applicants?
We don't actually have any allocated seats for Canadians (or other internationals).
It does appear that 14 US MD schools will consider Canadians, though they do not consider other internationals.
I have read that MI State considers Canadians as OOS, but their stats indicate that they are not on the same footing as other OOS candidates. Last year, for example, they matriculated 4/564 Canadian applicants. The fact that they only interviewed 4 leads me to suspect that these may have been internal candidates.
 

Highlander455

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I was wondering if there is some sort of special programs that a Caribbean student could go though in order to become licensed in Canada such as approved jurisdictions, practice eligibility routes, or subspecialty examination affiliate programs (I'm not sure how this one works). I heard that mainly developed countries such as Australia, Ireland, and Switzerland are given priority but my questions is if Caribbean graduates could go through one of those processes.

:)
The issue with acceptance is not the acceptability of a Caribbean degree for licensing purposes by medical regulatory agencies in Canada. Most provinces will accept any medical degree recognized by WDOMS/FAIMER, which most Caribbean schools meet. The issues and barriers are more with getting into residency, and for RCPSC specialties, having residency training accepted by RCPSC. In Canada, all IMGs are streamed to a limited number of residency spaces in the CaRMS Match, can apply to only about 10% of spaces, and mostly primary care. So your odds of matching are not great based on just that. Further, Caribbean schools are generally not highly regarded which leaves you at a competitive disadvantage. In the US, Caribbean schools are also not generally well regarded, but your odds are better at matching in the US than in Canada. In US between 50% to 60% of IMGs match vs around 20% in Canada. Top Caribbean schools have even higher match rates in the US, IF you are successful. Once you have completed a residency, there are pathways for approved jurisdictions, practice ready assessments, and other options. PRAs tend to be most available for FM. These pathways vary from province to province and between the RCPSC and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Some provinces have other barriers, eg BC has CAP. Most, but not all provinces require certification by RCPSC or CFPC for a full license. Sadly the pathways to practice in Canada are complex and will take a good bit of research for you to fully understand the options. Going into them in detail is beyond this thread. Check out the info on the RCPSC and CFPC websites, look at requirements for IMGs on various provincial medical regulatory websites for Ontario, BC, Manitoba, NS and NFLD. It's complicated, and rapidly changing. Ask questions of these organizations. Also organizations like the Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad are a good resource. TLDR try for a Canadian med school.
 
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supevenacava

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The issue with acceptance is not the acceptability of a Caribbean degree for licensing purposes by medical regulatory agencies in Canada. Most provinces will accept any medical degree recognized by WDOMS/FAIMER, which most Caribbean schools meet. The issues and barriers are more with getting into residency, and for RCPSC specialties, having residency training accepted by RCPSC. In Canada, all IMGs are streamed to a limited number of residency spaces in the CaRMS Match, can apply to only about 10% of spaces, and mostly primary care. So your odds of matching are not great based on just that. Further, Caribbean schools are generally not highly regarded which leaves you at a competitive disadvantage. In the US, Caribbean schools are also not generally well regarded, but your odds are better at matching in the US than in Canada. In US between 50% to 60% of IMGs match vs around 20% in Canada. Top Caribbean schools have even higher match rates in the US, IF you are successful. Once you have completed a residency, there are pathways for approved jurisdictions, practice ready assessments, and other options. PRAs tend to be most available for FM. These pathways vary from province to province and between the RCPSC and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Some provinces have other barriers, eg BC has CAP. Most, but not all provinces require certification by RCPSC or CFPC for a full license. Sadly the pathways to practice in Canada are complex and will take a good bit of research for you to fully understand the options. Going into them in detail is beyond this thread. Check out the info on the RCPSC and CFPC websites, look at requirements for IMGs on various provincial medical regulatory websites for Ontario, BC, Manitoba, NS and NFLD. It's complicated, and rapidly changing. Ask questions of these organizations. Also organizations like the Society for Canadians Studying Medicine Abroad are a good resource. TLDR try for a Canadian med school.
You're a GOAT for this reply.
 
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