What is the best approach for a US citizen to relocate and work as a physician in Canada?

oelizas

2+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2017
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Hello everyone!

So basically what I am asking is, after completing undergrad/pre-med in the United States as a US citizen, what would be the best approach for relocation to Canada with the goal of working as a physician and eventually becoming a citizen?

From what I have read, there are very few slots available for international students in Canadian medical schools, which I assume makes acceptance very competitive, but I've always considered it a general rule to go to med school in the country you plan to practice in and I assume that this would be the best option. However, if I were to not attend a Canadian medical school, would it still be possible to do my residency and fellowship in Canada with some type of working visa? From this point on, would I be permitted to work as an attending physician?

The alternative would be to complete medical school, residency, and my fellowship in the United States, then apply to immigrate as a skilled worker after I gain a few years of experience. Would this method be any more effective/attainable if my intention is to live and work in Canada?

Sorry if what I am asking is unclear, basically I would just like the know which approach would give be the best chances of eventually being granted permanent residence/citizenship while allowing me to work as a doctor.

Thank you very much to anyone who can help, I really appreciate any advice that anyone can offer.
 
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bearded frog

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Feb 24, 2014
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You must be a permanent resident or citizen to do residency in Canada. Medical school in Canada as an international student will be a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult to get into without PR/citizenship. Your realistic options are to become a PR then go to med school/residency in Canada, or do med school residency in US and then immigrate to Canada. Not familiar with the requirements for certified US physicians working in Canada, sorry.
 
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Methodnike

Family Physician
10+ Year Member
Sep 6, 2006
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Attending Physician
Canadian citizen (born from immigrants), and living in USA.
As stated above, you need to be PR of Canada or citizen in order to residency in Canada.
As you cannot "advance" in the immigration process while being under a student visa (should you do med school abroad or Canada), you best bet would be to get into a US med school, and while you are in a US residency, to write for The Canadian licensing exams and be a LMCC.

Applying to Canada as a skilled worker with specialties in high demand (especially Family Medicine) would get you a work permit fairly quickly.
 
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pstrick

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Aug 2, 2015
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Could you (or anyone else) elaborate on the process for doctors who have already completed a US residency? Would you have to take MCCEEs, for example?
Depends on where you want to end up. Ontario has a nice program that lets US physicians who have completed a residency to get certified.

| Pathway 4 – IMG with US Postgraduate Training and Certification | Policy | Policies & Publications | College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

It requires that you have a physician supervise you for at least a year.
You can even find job postings on (I forget the site) that specifically say they're willing to sponsor/supervise you, although that was mostly for FM or IM jobs.
 
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Successor12

2+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2016
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Depends on where you want to end up. Ontario has a nice program that lets US physicians who have completed a residency to get certified.

| Pathway 4 – IMG with US Postgraduate Training and Certification | Policy | Policies & Publications | College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

It requires that you have a physician supervise you for at least a year.
You can even find job postings on (I forget the site) that specifically say they're willing to sponsor/supervise you, although that was mostly for FM or IM jobs.
Any chance you can remember that website?
Any idea if people actually managed to practice through this pathway? And how much of a pay cut you would getting?
 

DiagnasaurusRex

CO Hospitalist
Jun 20, 2017
68
36
Colorado
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Attending Physician
Depends on where you want to end up. Ontario has a nice program that lets US physicians who have completed a residency to get certified.
It requires that you have a physician supervise you for at least a year.
You can even find job postings on (I forget the site) that specifically say they're willing to sponsor/supervise you, although that was mostly for FM or IM jobs.
Umm I don't think I'd be down for the "supervision." I've been practicing independently as a hospitalist for 2 years already and have plenty of experience (critical care, LTAC work, vent management, codes). If I go to canada I would travel and moonlight in Montana and Washington in rural places because the pay is so high. Still though it would be nice to live in the city where you practice. For attending physicians already in practice is the process more streamlined?
 

Successor12

2+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2016
147
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I wish someone would give more details about this. I am a rheumatology fellow with a year of experience after my residency and a permanent resident in Canada so I would prefer to practice there but information regarding license/jobs/pay/application is very difficult to get!

I kept posting for years on this forum with no response that I feel may no US physicians actually moved up there? May be they just talk about it then decide to just stay here in the US LOL
 

pstrick

2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2015
178
291
Umm I don't think I'd be down for the "supervision."
The whole process of moving to Canada is ridiculously complex. Provinces are more autonomous than US states, so each has their own hoops to jump through.
Ontario looks to be the easiest to move into as a physician, but I could be wrong.
Best bet would be to contact the College of Physicians in each province and have them explain the process.


Any chance you can remember that website?
Any idea if people actually managed to practice through this pathway? And how much of a pay cut you would getting?
HFOJobs Search Results
If I did it right, this link should show all jobs where they will supervise: HFOJobs Search Results
I really don't know anything about pay. I'm just a (US) medical student. I have heard stories of people who have used that pathways to get into ON, but I don't know anybody personally.
 

septoplasty

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Nov 10, 2010
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Umm I don't think I'd be down for the "supervision." I've been practicing independently as a hospitalist for 2 years already and have plenty of experience (critical care, LTAC work, vent management, codes). If I go to canada I would travel and moonlight in Montana and Washington in rural places because the pay is so high. Still though it would be nice to live in the city where you practice. For attending physicians already in practice is the process more streamlined?
+1.

I'm a FM/Sports Med trained but working as a locums hospitalist which includes ICU/Vent/The Works, and I've been researching into getting into Ontario as a "outpatient GP", went to the CPSO website (where we apply via Pathway 3/4), they've laid out "supervision" plan samples.. and boy its a pain in the butt.

Ex. "Objective of Monthly Supervision: PROPOSED EDUCATIONAL METHOD, Meet with the clinical supervisor monthly for 1 year.,

Clinical Supervisor will:
• Review 10 – 15 charts per visit
• Review current guidelines on monthly basis with Dr. Doe
• After first meeting 50% of charts will focus on the theme of the month listed in first column with discussion on management according to guidelines and strategies to incorporate learning into practice
• New topics to be added as needed

Clinical supervisor to observe 5 patient encounters once a month for 3 months to directly observe and discuss patient centered questioning"

LOL, basically sounds like becoming an intern for a year.

Not to bash on Canadian primary care docs, but common, i'm pretty sure we were trained better and have this down.

Also, there doesn't seem to be any opportunity as a FM/Non-IM trained doc to work as a hospitalist "under supervision".
 
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