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Man pointing at skills signIn addition to accreditation, upgrading your skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops is an important part of your journey to become a medical doctor in Canada.

As a physician you must continually update your knowledge and skills on new medical procedures and practices. You can benefit from the various opportunities for ongoing learning and professional growth that are offered through continuing education courses and seminars.

Skills upgrading

You may have strong technical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterwards. As a medical doctor you are expected to know how to handle patients with better listening, interpersonal, and communication skills, and empathize with them to understand their disease or sickness clearly. You must also know how to deal with the relatives of the patients with lot of patience.

You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regards to your soft skills. The medical field requires interpersonal skills, communication, confidence and attitude building, team building and motivation. Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is extremely important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.

You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find other free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through the school boards or settlement agencies. There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as Enhanced Language Training (ELT) and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT). And if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better employment opportunities.

If you intend to be self-employed you may require advanced business skills as well as financial resources to establish and maintain the practice.

Download Nick Noorani’s “9 Soft Skills No Immigrant Should Be Without!”

Education

The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) maintains a list of medical schools in Canada.

For links to other universities and colleges, click here.

IAF - Physician brings her expertise to SaskatchewanSuccess Story: Dr. Olamipo Bamigboje and her husband Kay were both physicians in Nigeria before coming to Canada. They both saw coming to Canada as a chance to explore more diverse opportunities for advancing and developing their careers. Read more.

Bridging programs

Bridging programs are a good way to transition from your international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities and immigrant-serving agencies offer pharmacy related bridging programs or workshops. You may be eligible for one. Do some research to find a program that’s suitable for you.

British Columbia
University of British Columbia
International Medical Graduates Program
This program is designed to assess IMG applicants, and prepare them for application to UBC Faculty of Medicine Residency Training programs, which are available to IMGs in the first iteration of the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS).

Manitoba
University of Manitoba
Medical Licensure Program for International Medical Graduates
This one-year training program helps foreign-trained physicians obtain medical licensure to practice as primary care physicians in Manitoba.

Nova Scotia
Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services
International Medical Graduates (IMG) Bridging Program
This program offers informational, learning, and other types of support, services, and resources to support IMGs entry into the Canadian healthcare system.

Dalhousie University
Med 3 Clerkship Opportunities for International Medical Graduates
The IMG Clerkship Program will prepare IMGs for residency training. Upon completion of the program, participants will be eligible to enter the first round of the CaRMS match as Dalhousie graduates.

Ontario
Catholic Immigration Centre of Ottawa
Career Transitions for International Medical Doctors and Other Healthcare Professionals
This program helps internationally educated medical graduates explore employment options in the non-regulated alternative healthcare sector. The program includes workshops on transferable skills and healthcare sector orientation. It also provides occupation-specific language education, workplace culture and communications training, and employment opportunities.

Catholic Immigration Centre of Ottawa
Medical License Bridging Program
This program provides training in medical communication, healthcare culture, familiarity with Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and exposure to Canadian medical practice through Observership. This focused training broadens knowledge of Canadian medical practice and improves the success rate of International Medical Doctors (IMD) as they pursue the medical exams and residency.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)
Communication and Cultural Competence (CCC) Project
This project is developing a website which illustrates the Considerations of Legal, Ethical and Organization (CLEO) aspects of the practice of medicine, which are a component of the Medical Council of Canada’s (MCC) evaluating examination. The project is designed to provide web-based medical literacy and educational tools to address the communication needs of international medical graduates who wish to apply to one of Ontario’s programs for entry to medical practice.

IAF - Doctor finds welcome at IAFSuccess Story: “I’m very glad IAF exists,” Elena enthuses. “All of the people I met there were so friendly and welcoming to international medical graduates, like me. They helped me with every step of the application — writing it, figuring out income and outputs and presenting it. I really appreciate the welcome I received there.” Read more.