The healthcare field in Canada is experiencing significant job shortages, including medical doctors. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, and many other medical organizations need doctors and healthcare practitioners. This has created a great opportunity for internationally trained doctors. To work as a medical doctor in Canada, you require a bachelor’s degree and a graduate from an approved medical school. This includes completing two to three years of family medicine residency training. You must also complete the Medical Council of Canada qualifying exams.
Healthcare organizations in Canada refer to physicians who have received their medical education outside of Canada and the United States, as international medical graduates (IMGs). Because Canada is facing a labour shortage of medical doctors, continuing your career in Canada may hold great interest to you.
If you’re an IMG, learn about job requirements for doctors in Canada, credentials assessment, job search techniques, and more.
- How to Immigrate to Canada as a Medical Doctor
- What to Expect When Pursuing a Medical Doctor Career in Canada
- Requirements to Become a Medical Doctor in Canada
- Skills Upgrading to Qualify for Medical Doctor Jobs in Canada
- Bridging Programs for Medical Doctor Careers in Canada
- How to Become a Doctor in Canada
- Medical Schools in Canada
- How Much Do Medical Doctors Make in Canada?
- Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Medical doctor Based on Salary & Lifestyle
- Pursuing a Medical Doctor Career in Canada
- How to Find Your First Canadian Medical Doctor Job
How to Immigrate to Canada as a Medical Doctor
It’s vital to research the medical profession and its requirements before you come to Canada. These requirements are different than what you are accustomed to in your home country. It can be time-consuming, and expensive to become a licensed medical doctor, so it’s helpful to know what to expect.
There are steps that you can take before you immigrate to improve your chances of practicing your profession in Canada.
Before You Move to Canada to Pursue a Medical Doctor Career
- Attend the webinar What to Know About the Canadian Job Market.
- Confirm that your medical degree is from a recognized medical school at the FAIMER International Medical Education Directory (IMED). Your medical school and qualification must be listed on the directory to be accepted in Canada.
- Contact the medical regulatory association in the province where you’ll settle in Canada to learn about:
- Procedures you must follow, and the cost and time required to obtain a physician’s permit
- Steps you can take to become licensed before and after you immigrate to Canada
- Programs for International medical graduates.
- Start the licensure process for international medical graduates while still in your home country.
- Assess your language skills by taking an online self-assessment on the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks website.
- Improve your language skills, and enroll in language classes in your home country and continue them after you move to Canada. You’ll need to prove your English or French (depending on your destination province) language competency or be tested.
- Gather and organize your official education, work, and identity documents while still in your home country.
- Check with your provincial or territorial regulatory body to find out what documents you need to bring and verify if they need to be translated. You might need to use a professional translation service in Canada.
- Understand how the medical profession is practiced in Canada and familiarize yourself with provincial laws and legislation where you’ll settle.
- Know the name of your job in Canada (for example family physician, general practice resident, general practitioner, medical doctor).
What to Expect When Pursuing a Medical Doctor Career in Canada
Medical doctors belong to a regulated profession in Canada, so you must be licensed by the provincial or territorial licensing authority in the province where you plan to settle. With a license, a medical doctor can work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals, and clinics.
Employment Outlook for Medical Doctor Jobs in Canada
If you have international medical qualifications, it’s vital to understand what you require to work in Canada as well as the labour market conditions.
According to the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, job prospects for medical doctors are very good in all provinces. There are opportunities for general practitioners and family physicians in all regions of Canada.
By researching the job prospects, you can find labour market conditions for 2019-2028 that show Canada medical doctor shortages. Estimates reveal that Canada will be short about 44,000 doctors by 2028. The country will need to train and hire about 30,000 more by 2028 to have an average number of doctors per capita on par with Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Family doctors are in the highest demand. They account for 72% of the doctor shortage.
This is good news for medical doctors with international qualifications because there will be ample job opportunities in the coming years.
Start Your Research with the NOC Code for Physician Jobs in Canada – NOC: 31102
A good place to start your research is by using the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 31102 (NOC 2021 Version 1.0) for medical doctors. The NOC provides a standard definition of the role of general practitioners and family physicians. Here you can get a sense of the role, job titles, main duties, and job requirements.
Requirements to Become a Medical Doctor in Canada
Internationally trained medical doctors must meet the licensing requirements in Canada to practice. International graduates must enroll in NAPRA’s Medical doctors’ Gateway Canada program. Below we explain the steps you must follow to work as a Medical doctor in Canada.
Credential Recognition to Meet Medical Doctor Job Requirements in Canada
Regardless of your education or experience, you need to have a license to practice as a medical doctor in Canada. One of the first things to do is learn about the specific requirements to work as a doctor in Canada. To do this, you can contact the provincial or territorial regulatory body where you plan to settle. They can advise you about the documents that you require, licensing fees, and more. It’s a good idea to take this step before you arrive in Canada and accordingly decide your departure date to Canada.
Depending on the province you intend to settle in, your licensing process may include completing:
- Exams (eligibility, program selection, qualifying, certification)
- Language proficiency tests
- Credentials assessment
- Postgraduate training/assessment
- Return-of-service agreements (commitment to practice in an underserved community for an agreed period).
The licensing process has many stages and may seem complicated. But, once you know what the regulatory body expects and the licensing procedure, you can carefully complete your application. The process can also be expensive. So, you’ll also require a large financial and personal commitment to pursue the process.
Some immigrant-serving organizations offer study groups for the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) Evaluating Exam (MCC EE), Qualifying Examination Part I, and Qualifying Examination Part II. These study groups aim to facilitate focused learning and provide a learning environment to explore, discuss, and model Canadian medical content with practicing Canadian physician educators and senior residents.
Credential Assessment Services
If you plan to enroll in a college or university program to upgrade your skills, contact the school to find out the steps you should take and the credential assessment agency you should use. Be sure to check if the school requires you to use a specific credential agency before you proceed. This will help you to avoid paying extra fees and save money.
To find more organizations and agencies providing credential evaluation, assessment, and qualification recognition services click here.
Skills Upgrading to Qualify for Medical Doctor Jobs in Canada
In addition to becoming accredited, another activity to become a medical doctor in Canada is to upgrade your skills through a bridging program or other courses and workshops.
As a physician, you must continually update your knowledge and skills on new medical procedures and practices. You can benefit from ongoing learning and professional growth through continuing education courses and seminars.
You may have strong technical and practical skills, but often that is not enough to get a job or maintain it afterward. As a medical doctor, you are expected to know how to handle patients with strong listening, interpersonal, and communication skills, and empathize with them to understand their illness clearly. You must also know how to deal with the patient’s relatives with patience.
If you intend to be self-employed you may require advanced business skills as well as financial resources to establish and maintain the medical practice.
Language Training for Medical doctors in Canada
Having strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages – English or French – is important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to learn or improve your 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 English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes offered through school boards or settlement agencies.
There are language courses to teach you professional terms, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other may be helpful, as it may offer you better employment options.
Bridging Programs for Medical Doctor Careers in Canada
Bridging programs are a good way for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) to transition their international experience and training to the Canadian workplace. Many colleges, universities, and immigrant-serving agencies offer bridging programs or workshops that you may be eligible for. Explore the following medical bridging programs to see if any may be suitable for you.
University of British Columbia
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).
University of Manitoba
This one-year training program helps foreign-trained physicians obtain medical licensure to practice as primary care physicians in Manitoba.
Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services
This program offers informational, learning, and other types of support, services, and resources to support entry into the Canadian healthcare system for IMGs.
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.
Catholic Centre for Immigrants
This program helps internationally educated health professionals connect with employers and community partners. 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 Centre for Immigrants (CCI Ottawa)
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 IMDs as they pursue medical exams and residency.
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO)
This project is developing a website that 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 exam. The project provides web-based medical literacy and educational tools to address the communication needs of IMGs who apply to one of Ontario’s programs for entry to medical practice.
How to Become a Doctor in Canada
If you’re an international student interested in attending medical school in Canada, it requires years of education and training. And, not all medical schools accept international and U.S. students. So, it’s important to do your research. Here are the most common steps to becoming a doctor in Canada:
- Complete a university degree: Get a bachelor’s degree in a science-based subject.
2. Apply to medical school and get accepted: Getting into medical school is extremely competitive. It’s estimated that one-quarter of applicants get accepted. Medical school takes about four years to complete. Two years of in-class learning and two years of practical training.
3. Pass the MCCQE1 Exams: You need to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination to practice medicine in Canada.
4. Apply for and complete your medical residency: Apply for positions through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). The length of your residency depends on your area of specialization. It’s two years for family doctors.
5. You’re a doctor! Once you complete your residency, you have completed all the steps to practice medicine in Canada.
Medical Schools in Canada
There are 17 medical schools in Canada with over 11,500 students. Each year they produce 2,700 new graduates. Ontario has the most schools with six, followed by 4 in Quebec. Here’s a list of medical schools in Canada:
| University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary
|University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
|University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine
|Newfoundland & Labrador
|Memorial University Medical School
|Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (McMaster University)
Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) University of Ottawa Medical School Queen’s University Medical School University of Toronto Medical School Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry (Western University)
| Université de Sherbrooke Medical School
McGill Medical School Université de Montreal Faculty of Medicine Université Laval Medical School
|University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine
Medical Doctor Associations in Canada
The following associations provide information about licensure and certification and offer professional development, education, and networking opportunities.
National Physician Associations
Canadian Medical Association
Provincial/Territorial Regulatory Bodies
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Immigrant Networks for Medical Doctors in Canada
Professional immigrant networks are organized volunteer-run member-based associations or networks. They are created by and for immigrant professionals that seek to
- Create a forum to contribute to and enrich their respective communities
- Provide opportunities for members to find employment and achieve their professional goals.
Activities of these networks include networking events, mentoring, information sessions, professional development opportunities such as workshops, speaker events, and training and connections to employment opportunities.
Here are some immigrant networks to research across Canada:
This non-profit organization consists of doctors trained or educated in countries other than Canada. It also includes individuals and organizations interested in the challenges facing International Medical Graduates (IMGs) in Canada.
Alberta International Medical Graduates Association (AIMGA)
isans: Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia:
isans helps newcomer professionals with their full economic and social integration in the province of Nova Scotia.
Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (AIPSO)
This association is an independent professional non-profit that represents physicians and surgeons trained and licensed in jurisdictions outside Canada.
This network allows IMGs to project a high level of professional support and connect colleagues to the various aspects of Canadian society.
This network is a support group for immigrant Filipino doctors. It provides support to prepare for medical licensure and job search assistance.
How Much Do Medical Doctors Make in Canada?
Medical doctors in Canada can earn between $76,759 and $451,997 per year depending on their level of experience and location. The average salary in Canada is $216,833.
The province with the highest average salary is Manitoba at $252,974. The province with the lowest average salary is British Columbia at $164,939.
Medical Doctor Salary in Canada
Here are the most recent medical doctor salary numbers in Canada (as of November, 2022):
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
Best Provinces to Work in Canada as a Medical doctor Based on Salary & Lifestyle
Medical doctors have different job prospects depending on where they work in Canada. So, it’s helpful to research job prospects across Canada. According to the Canadian Occupation Projections Systems, labour shortage conditions will persist from 2019 – 2028. And as Canada’s population ages, there will be greater demand for health services. In fact, employment growth for medical doctors is projected to be the second highest of all occupation groups.
To research job prospects by province, click here. From here, you can also search for job prospects by region within the province. Once you identify which locations offer job prospects, you can begin to research cities and determine what cities would meet your personal, professional, and practical needs. For example, cities in the province of Alberta that have a good outlook for medical doctors include Calgary, Edmonton, and Lethbridge. Cities across Canada with a good outlook include Fredericton, New Brunswick, Windsor, Ottawa, and Hamilton in Ontario.
Pursuing a Medical Doctor Career in Canada
Becoming a Medical doctor in Canada follows a similar path as many other healthcare careers. You need to have the right academic credentials, relevant work experience, and a plan for where you want to work within the country. Below is valuable information to help you pursue a medical doctor career in Canada:
Major Employers for Doctor Jobs in Canada
Medical doctors usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals, and clinics. Look for opportunities with your local medical community.
You can visit Canada’s Best Diversity Employers website to locate hospitals and healthcare centres that you might be interested in. Employers receive this special designation for their commitment to workplace diversity, inclusion, and equity.
How to Find Your First Canadian Medical Doctor Job
Searching for a medical doctor job in Canada can be different than in your home country. For example, the job market can be quite competitive, and employers may have different job application requirements. So you need to prepare and understand how to gain employment.
Job Search Techniques for Medical Doctors
Once you have completed the licensing process, you can look for jobs in the province or territory where you are licensed. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan to find work.
There are many ways to search for jobs including:
- Broadening your search and including alternative careers.
- Seeking a mentor in the medical field who would give you valuable insight and advice and introduce you to their professional network.
- Joining healthcare job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.Attending medical or healthcare job fairs and regularly checking online job boards.
Immigrant Settlement Agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations can provide help with your job search including:
- Finding job vacancies
- Updating your resume
- Writing cover letters
- Preparing for interviews, and
- Understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
To find immigrant services in your area click here.
Resume Writing for Medical Doctors
A medical resume is a unique document. It’s important you understand what Canadian employers expect and you follow up-to-date medical resume formats. A strong resume familiarizes a prospective employer with your expertise and achievements in the medical field, as well as your language skills.
Like many medical professionals, you may decide to use a professional resume writer to stand out from the crowd. Regardless, it pays to understand what makes a quality resume no matter who writes it.
Here are tips to make your resume cleaner, easier to read, and more likely to get you interviews.
- List your medical degree following your name as in – NAME SURNAME, M.D.
- Give details about your medical license and certification status. Specify the date (month, year) you received your license. List your certifications in your specialty; use bullet points.
- List any academic scholarships, honours bestowed by prestigious medical associations or any academic accomplishments.
- Identify the institutions where you completed your fellowships, residencies, and internship.
- Highlight, don’t elaborate. For example, if you are a physician with an extensive research background in your respective field, naturally you’d like to explain each study. Remember, a resume is designed to highlight professional experience, not to explain it in detail.
- Provide any private practice experience, along with the location and duration of the practice. Include details about any academic positions you held.
- List your memberships or affiliations to any medical boards or societies.
Interview Techniques for Medical Doctors
Working as a doctor requires you to have great intelligence, integrity, competence, social skills, and so much more. Be prepared for a thorough and exhaustive interview that will test you on many levels.
Here are a some common questions that you can prepare to answer in an interview:
- Why did you choose this career? Why did you choose this specialty?
- Your professional experience: Tell us about your background as a doctor: education and experience. What are your specialties/ expertise?
- Why are you interested in this hospital/department?
- How do you handle workload stress and emergency situations?
- Describe your day-to-day activities, priorities and tasks.
- Describe your most successful accomplishments.
- What are the key challenges of this (field of medicine)? What are your personal challenges?
You can prepare for an interview by consulting with colleagues and friends. Rehearse an interview situation with them and consider the feedback that you receive to succeed in interviews. Do not memorize your responses but be very familiar with them. Be succinct in your replies, and emphasize your strengths.
While there’s a shortage of physicians in Canada, landing that next opportunity, especially for newcomers, requires extra effort and outreach. Informational interviews are a great way to demonstrate your empathetic and professional communication abilities, research skills and time management talents.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in an industry to learn more about that industry.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
- Make a list of the hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, and others, as desired, that operate in your area.
- Use your resources including professional organizations, LinkedIn, and other networking tools to identify organization insiders, such as pharmaceutical recruiters, health unit coordinators, etc.
- Create 5-10 open-ended questions that will yield useful information to help your job search.
For more information on informational interviews, click here.
Networking is Important for Medical Doctors
Networking is a vital activity to help you find job leads, gain professional advice and guidance, and meet others to expand your network. In Canada, many job vacancies are not advertised. Also known as the “hidden” job market, you can discover these jobs through networking with other medical professionals. So, it’s helpful to make connections and build relationships with others in your field who can help you discover these jobs. Good places to network include conferences, associations, and other settings.
LinkedIn is another vital tool for networking. Using LinkedIn, you can connect with former colleagues and employers, search for jobs, and get introductions to others in the medical community. You can also join some relevant groups to learn more about the medical profession in Canada.
But remember, that you must allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight, and you need to be patient.
Get more great tips for successful networking: Build Your Professional Network Before You Arrive.
With a positive outlook for medical doctor jobs in Canada, now is the time to check out your options.
Interested in learning more about working in Canada? Check out our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. We can help you achieve your career goals in Canada.