Canada needs doctors. Here are three ways to get internationally-trained doctors licensed and onto health care’s frontlines

Published March 3, 2022.

Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes

In summary:

  • Canada faces a significant shortage of primary care and family doctors in every province and territory.
  • The licensing process in each province and territory has its own set of licensing requirements and fees.
  • The Medical Council of Canada says an alternative pathway to licensure, the Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA) program, allows selected doctors to complete a workplace-based assessment over a period of 12 weeks, leading to the issuance of a provisional license upon successful completion of the program.

Canada is facing a shortage of primary care physicians and family doctors in every province and territory. The problem has become more serious as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and as older doctors retire.

International medical graduates (IMGs) are ready to fill this shortage but the Canadian licensing process is complicated, long and expensive. The process is also different in each province and territory which have their own sets of physician licensing requirements and fees. As a result, there are thousands of internationally trained doctors in Canada not working in their field.

Though Windmill Microlending’s low-interest loans help pay for the costs of licensing up to $15,000, we want to help you navigate the licensing process in order to reach the frontline of the Canadian health care system and fill these vital roles.

MCC LogoWe asked the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) to bring forward their top three suggestions to help skilled immigrants and refugees pursue their dreams of working as licensed doctors in this country. The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) focuses on achieving excellence in the assessment of physicians and annually they assess 11,000 medical students and graduates through examinations offered in both official languages.

If you are an international medical graduate (IMG) looking to learn more about the steps needed to become licensed to work in Canada, visit Windmill’s Educational Pathways.

1: Look into your existing medical degree.

A good first step is to search the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMS) to confirm if the medical school that issued your medical degree is listed in the directory and identified by a “Canada Sponsor Note”. This note indicates that the medical school meets Canadian requirements.

It is strongly encouraged to register for a account to access helpful services, such as a tool for verification of medical credentials.

2: Find resources and learn your options.

Exam prep is a key part of successfully completing the licensing process. The organization’s website offers helpful exam preparation resources to assist candidates. The website also highlights an alternative pathway to licensure, Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA) programs. Not all IMGs are eligible but this process allows doctors to complete a workplace-based assessment over a period of 12 weeks. It leads to a “provisional license”, upon successful completion of the program, that temporarily enables you to work in Canada under certain conditions.

3: Learn cultural competence.

For some the cultural norms and standards of communication between doctors and patients in Canada can take time to learn. Medical Council of Canada offers a free communication and cultural competence program available through the website. The program was created to help learn about communication and cultural competencies required in Canada and presents case studies that give examples of everyday medical practice.

Find the full list of medical regulatory authorities, responsible for licensing of international medical graduates, in each province and territory, across the country, here.

Are you an international medical graduate looking to find out if you are eligible for a low-interest loan from Windmill Microlending? Take our two-minute eligibility quiz to find out.

Categorized in: Career Success and Planning, Accreditation and Licensing, In-demand Jobs, Education and Training,