See Episode 1 here: https://vimeo.com/458289131/7ae7b9d49d
Episode 1 Transcript
If you are thinking about relocating to Canada to practice medicine, then I have some valuable information for you.
Hello, I am Dr. Frank, of CanadaMedicalCareers.ca with information for physicians, both general practitioners and specialists who wish to immigrate to Canada.
CanadaMedicalCareers.ca is a physician recruiting service serving clients across Canada. First, you should understand that in Canada general practitioners, family doctors and family physicians are titles that are interchangeable and are usually a matter of local custom.
There are many types of opportunities to practice medicine, sometimes in private clinics, sometimes in hospitals, and sometimes in larger public clinics. Compensation is generally fee-for-service or by salary or some combination. Financial incentives may be available, especially in rural areas.
Today, I will cover three areas that should be of interest to an international physician considering relocating to Canada.
Canada’s geography and earning opportunities
Regulatory authorities and licensing
Immigrating as a physician
First, Canada’s geography and earning opportunities. Canada, the world’s second largest country, has ten provinces and three northern territories.
As you can see the province of British Columbia is the furthest west province bordering the Pacific Ocean, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador is the furthest east, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The smaller provinces in the east are usually referred to as the Maritime provinces. The large provinces in the center of Canada are generally called the Prairie provinces. Canada’s population is approximately 38 million people. Canada is planning to welcome a total of one million immigrants from 2019-2021.
Each area of Canada offers great opportunities to practice medicine and to earn a significant income.
Typically, in our experience, the more remote an area is, the better the income opportunities. So, if you are a young doctor with lots of student debt, or simply trying to build up your bank balance, you might choose to work in a remote northern community where you not only get paid for seeing patients, but you will usually receive financial incentives for working in remote locations.
For example, in the prairie province of Saskatchewan, in a mid-size city, with a booming economy a family physician can earn 450,000 Canadian dollars which is approximately 260,000 British Pounds, or 300,000 Euros, or 340,000 US dollars or 500,000 Australian dollars.
However, some doctors, especially those with young families, or those who are nearing retirement, may prefer to work on the west coast in a small town that offers year-round recreational opportunities like sailing, tennis, football, and a better work-life balance. It may mean earning less in a small town, but the cost of living, and stress, will be less than a major city like Vancouver or Toronto.
Weather may also be a factor in a physician’s relocation decision. The west coast generally sees more rainfall, but the areas known as Vancouver Island and Greater Vancouver’s Lower Mainland have very little, if any, snow each year. Most of the rest of Canada will experience snow in the winter months.
But since 95% of Canada’s population does not live on Vancouver Island, or in Greater Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, it is clear that each area of Canada has its own appeal.
John Livingstone, the founder and president of CanadaMedicalCareers.ca has worked with doctors all across Canada. One of Mr. Livingstone’s small pleasures is meeting doctors who have an experience that they never could have imagined while back in their home country. A great example of this is a doctor from India who immigrated to a remote area of Newfoundland.
Newfoundland is an island, and a province, on the Atlantic Ocean, which is a six-hour ferry ride from the nearest coastline on the mainland. So not only did this doctor move to Canada’s most isolated province, but then he moved to one of the smallest towns in the province, the town of St. Anthony, population 2200.
To give you an idea of how isolated St. Anthony is, most visitors go there to see the icebergs, in Iceberg Alley, that float by after breaking off glaciers. John Livingstone has traveled there, went out onto the Atlantic ocean in a zodiac boat and saw this rare site where hundreds of icebergs float past the town.
What Mr. Livingstone remembers most is the doctor telling him that he took his fiancée, who was also from India, by snowmobile, into the mountains and married her surrounded by family and friends at a remote cabin. Most wedding guests had never even seen snow! This event is proof that life can be filled with exciting times if you are ready to take a chance.
The second subject that I want to touch on is the regulatory or licensing authorities in Canada. As mentioned above, Canada has ten provinces and three territories.
The capital city of Canada is Ottawa. Canada’s national organization that sets standards for physicians, including immigrating physicians, is called the Medical Council of Canada and has its headquarters in Ottawa. The Medical Council of Canada, which you will often see referred to as MCC plays the key role in the assessment of physicians in Canada. The MCC does not confer or issue licences to physicians. This responsibility belongs to the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities. For example, the province of British Columbia has the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, and the province of Ontario has the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. For your information, don’t be misled by the name “College.” For those of you from overseas, let me explain that these “colleges” are licensing authorities, not schools. Each organization issues medical licenses for its province. You will need a medical license to get a billing number. This billing number will be used to bill a provincial government so that you can be paid for the medical services you provide to patients.
The MCC grants a qualification in medicine known as the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada, or LMCC, to medical graduates who meet the following criteria:
They have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination, or MCCQE Part I, and Part 2, or an acceptable clinical assessment deemed comparable to the MCCQE Part II.
They have satisfactorily completed at least 12 months of acceptable postgraduate training or an acceptable equivalent
The LMCC is not a license to practice medicine, but rather a designation that shows you have met the Canadian standards to practice medicine. As stated earlier, the authority to issue medical licenses is reserved for the regulatory authorities in each province or territory.
You may find that your credentials will meet the licensure requirements of one province, but not another. It is very wise to determine where you can practice in Canada before deciding on your preferred location.
The LMCC is a part of the Canadian Standard, the set of requirements for awarding a full licence. Upon receiving a LMCC, candidates are also enrolled in the Canadian Medical Register.
The Canadian Standard is the set of academic qualifications that automatically makes an applicant eligible for full licensing in every Canadian province and territory.
Family physicians applying for the first time to become licensed to practise medicine in a Canadian jurisdiction may achieve full licensure only if they meet the following four points:
Have a medical degree from a medical school that, at the time the candidate completed the program, was listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools
Are a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada; and
Have satisfactorily completed a discipline-appropriate postgraduate training program in allopathic medicine and an evaluation by a recognized authority; and
Have achieved certification from the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Collège des médecins du Québec
Please understand the above requirements are for full licensure. As foreign-trained doctors you will almost certainly start practice with a provisional license.
The Medical Council of Canada offers a credential verification service through a website at PhysiciansApply.ca This is a comprehensive website where medical students and graduates can create an account.
Once you have opened an account, PhysiciansApply.ca provides the following wide range of features and services to help medical students and graduates through the process of becoming practicing physicians in Canada.
Some of these features and services include:
Applying for exams including the MCCQE1 and MCCQE2
Sharing credentials with medical regulatory authorities and other organizations
Providing an orientation to the communication and cultural challenges facing physicians new to Canada.
In the most general of terms, and the ugly reality is, that graduates of some medical schools and from some countries will have an easier time becoming licensed to practice medicine in Canada than graduates from some other medical schools and countries.
As an International Medical Graduate, or IMG, the first step is to see if your medical college will be readily acceptable to the College in each province in their role as licensing authorities.
For example, it is your responsibility to check whether your medical school is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. You should visit WDOMS.org to check if your medical school is listed.
Be careful that you are entering the exact name of your medical college. I have seen too many instances where someone has something slightly wrong, even just missing a word like “The” in front of a college name. In some cases, your college may have merged with another college. You will need to enter the new name of your medical school. Recently a doctor had on her resume, which was submitted to us at CanadaMedicalCareers.ca, that she went to the University of Dublin Medical School in Ireland. This could not be found on the World Directory of Medical Schools website. In fact, the proper name of the school is University College Dublin School of Medicine. The doctor’s medical school and education could now be recognized.
You are viewing an example of a medical school’s listing on WDOMS.org. Next, you must see if your college has a “Sponsor Note” for Canada on WDOMS.org. Go to the top of the results for your medical school and look for the tab “Sponsor Notes.” Click on the tab and if it states “Canada Note” this means medical degrees obtained from this medical school are acceptable to the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities in Canada, and therefore acceptable to all medical organizations in Canada.
Every specialty will have its own professional organization. For example, if you are planning to practice as a family physician then you must be a member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the CFPC.
There is some good news, if you are from the UK, Ireland, USA or Australia as you are probably eligible for registration with the CFPC, without further examination. In fact, all steps to becoming licenced in Canada will probably be quicker because of the similarity of training. The key factor is your medical school having a Canada Note.
In most cases with membership in the CFPC you will receive a provisional license as a family doctor from the provincial college. Understand that there will be further steps to full licensure.
There is a great deal to learn about immigrating to Canada and practicing medicine. CanadaMedicalCareers.ca will be creating videos throughout 2020 that will explain many other aspects. Some topics will include finding a residency, the MCCQE1 and MCCQE2 exams, and the immigration process. Don’t miss a single video.
On behalf of myself, Dr. Frank, our president and senior physician recruiter, John Livingstone, and the team at CanadaMedicalCareers.ca, I would like to thank you so much for watching. I hope this information has been helpful. A transcript of the content of this video is available on our website at CanadaMedicalCareers.ca. Click on the tab “Videos” and select Episode #1.
CanadaMedicalCareers.ca is a recruiting agency and you are invited to submit an application on our website for a preliminary evaluation of your qualifications as a potential Canadian physician that we can assist. There is never a recruitment fee to applicants for our services.
If your application meets our clients’ criteria, then our legal team will guide you through licensing and immigration, and again at no cost to you for our services. We want to make it easy for you to become a licensed physician in Canada.