Get information that is essential for all newcomers to Canada

Subscribe! Subscribe

Man pointing at skills signIn addition to accreditation, another important 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.

Skills upgrading

You may have strong technical 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 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 patient’s relatives with patience.

You may need more training or skills upgrading, especially with regards to your soft skills. The medical field requires:

  • interpersonal skills
  • communication skills
  • confidence and attitude building
  • team building and motivation.

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 even language courses to teach you professional terminology, 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.

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


New call-to-action


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 suitable program 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).

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.

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 Centre for Immigrants (CCI Ottawa)
Career Transitions 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 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 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.