How to Practice Medicine Abroad in Ontario, Canada

Interested in practicing medicine in Ontario? Here is a province-specific spotlight. We will review medical registration/licensure, finding a job, and immigration. For general information, read Practicing in Canada: A General Fact Sheet.

Registration/Medical Licensure

The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) oversees the certificate of registration – the provincial medical license akin to a state medical license in the US. There are several pathways to registration. The most relevant are:

  • Pathway A for US-trained physicians, including American DOs and American residency training
  • Academic Registration for individuals recruited to medical schools in Ontario.

None of these pathways require examinations or repeating training! Phew!

Pathway A requires successful completion of an ACGME residency program, certification by a US specialty board, passing USMLEs, and a full licensure to practice, without restrictions, in the US. Once a certificate of registration is obtained there are several conditions that apply: the physician must practice with a supervisor for a period of 12-18 months, after one year of practice in Ontario they must pass a clinical practice assessment, and the certificate of registration expires after 18 months but can be renewed indefinitely.

Academic Registration is for physicians recruited by medical schools in Ontario for an academic position at rank of assistant, associate, or full professor. To qualify you must hold a degree in medicine, US board certification, have a full time clinical academic appointment offer, and the medical school must be able to assess the physician’s clinical and academic performance.

Registration with CPSO can take 4-5 months to complete. Ready to apply for registration? Email this form and your CV to inquiries@cpso.on.ca to get started.

Finding a Job

There are several ways to find a job. You can cold emailing or cold calling all the hospitals and or clinics in your desired area to find openings in your specialty and arrange for the institution to provide a supervisor, search province-specific job boards like Health Force Ontario or Canada-wide job boards like MDwork, drcareers, or use a recruiting agency, which will connect you with a position, and help with the registration paperwork and immigration. Typically, the recruiting agency’s fees are paid by the hospital or clinic.

Below you will find our partner recruitment organizations. For complete transparency, some of the organizations are providing a referral award to Hippocratic Adventures which we will use to cover the costs of building and maintaining this website and to eventually provide an honorarium to our member-authors-speakers who have shared their time and insight with the community. If inquiring with the organization, mention that you are with Hippocratic Adventures and send us a message via Contact Us. You will help support our community, website, and blog post authors.

CanAm Physician Recruiting Inc. can help connect US physicians, across specialties, to job opportunities in Canada. They will also guide you through the process of registration and immigration.

Head Medical is a leading specialist in international medical recruitment, having helped 1,000s of physicians find new roles in amazing locations including UK,  Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, the Gulf, Canada and Caribbean.  So, if you think you might be interested in a new challenge and a change of scene, please get in touch for a chat with one of their recruitment specialists. Their expert team will support you with your licensing and immigration paperwork and provide practical advice to ensure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible.

Immigration

To finalize the certificate of registration in Ontario prior to practicing, you must obtain authorization from the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship of Canada (IRCC) to live and work in Canada.

If your spouse or parent is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they can sponsor you for permanent residency without you having a job offer via Permanent Residency – Family Class. The sponsoring individual must be able to financially support their spouse or child and ensure they won’t need social assistance from the government.

Physicians who do not have family to sponsor them and who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents need a job offer in hand to apply for immigration via the Temporary Foreign Worker Program work permits or the Federal Skilled Worker Program for permanent residence.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program Work Permit fills temporary labor and skills shortages. This work permit requires:

  • A job offer from an organization that received a “Labor Market Impact Assessment” – a document from an employer stating that there is no Canadian Citizen or permanent resident available for this job, hence there is a need to hire a foreign worker.
  • A letter confirming approval for a certificate of registration from CPSO
  • A IRCC medical examination
  • Other IRCC general eligibility requirements

Federal Skilled Worker Program – Express Entry is for skilled workers, like physicians, with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently. It is a point-based system that considers English and/or French language skills (requires a language test), education, work experience, age, a job offer, and adaptability. Check your eligibility then apply.

Bottom Line

If you are excited to root for the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Ottawa Senators, enjoy the Great Lakes, and be near a large multicultural city like Toronto, transitioning your practice to Ontario is feasible and does not require extra training!

Dr. Wolofsky is from Toronto, Canada and completed medical school at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Emory University in Atlanta and did a fellowship in palliative care at Harvard University. She is currently a palliative care physician in Toronto and holds an academic position at the University of Toronto. 

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