Practising in Canada

Find out more about the process to become a practising physician in Canada,
including how to obtain the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada

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The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) plays an important role in the assessment of physicians in Canada. The MCC does not, however, confer licences to physicians (this responsibility belongs to the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities).

The Route to Licensure

The Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada and the Canadian Medical Register

The MCC grants a qualification in medicine known as the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) to medical graduates who meet the following criteria:

  • They have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Part II (or an acceptable clinical assessment deemed comparable to the MCCQE Part II such as the new Certification Examination in Family Medicine)
  • They have satisfactorily completed at least 12 months of acceptable postgraduate training or an acceptable equivalent

The LMCC is not a licence to practise medicine, the authority to issue such is reserved to the medical regulatory authorities. The LMCC is a part of the Canadian Standard, the set of requirements for awarding a full licence. Upon receiving their LMCC, candidates are also enrolled in the Canadian Medical Register.

  • The set of academic qualifications that automatically makes an applicant eligible for full licensure in every Canadian province and territory.

    Physicians applying for the first time to become licensed to practise medicine in a Canadian jurisdiction may achieve full licensure only if they:

    1. Have a medical degree [from a medical school that, at the time the candidate completed the program, was listed in the FAIMER’s International Medical Education Directory (IMED) or the WHO’s World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMS) Seventh Edition (2000)], or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from a school in the United States accredited by the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation; and
    2. Are a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada; and
    3. Have satisfactorily completed a discipline-appropriate postgraduate training program in allopathic medicine and an evaluation by a recognized authority; and
    4. Have achieved certification from the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Collège des médecins du Québec.

    Source: Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada

International medical graduates and the Canadian medical system

The Medical Council of Canada defines an international medical graduate (IMG) as:

  • an individual who has graduated from a medical school not accredited in Canada or in the US (by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in the US)

or

  • a graduates of a US school of osteopathic medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association

IMGs looking to begin the process of obtaining a licence to practise medicine in Canada are always encouraged to contact the medical regulatory authority in the province or territory in which they would like to practise. They should also contact the international medical graduate program in the province they would like to practise, if such a program exists.

  • Most health-care organizations refer to physicians who have received their medical education abroad as IMGs.

    These physicians can come from a wide range of backgrounds and can: have several years of independent practice experience in his/her country; have just recently completed medical school; have completed a residency training program; have gone directly into practice with no requirement for a residency; be from a country with a medical education system similar to Canada’s; be from a country whose medical education system is very different from Canada’s.

Important considerations before starting the licensure process

Overview of the process of obtaining a licence to practise medicine for IMGs

International medical graduates (IMGs) looking to begin the process of obtaining a licence to practise medicine in Canada are always encouraged to contact the medical regulatory authority in the province or territory in which they would like to practise. They should also contact the international medical graduate program in that province, if such a program exists.

There are general steps that IMGs should take before arriving in Canada, and steps they should take after their arrival

Steps IMGs can take before arriving in Canada

You can start the licensure process from outside Canada by:

Steps IMGs should take after their arrival

All provinces have the right to request additional assessments to qualify for residency positions in their province. These assessments may include the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) examination, which is only administered in Canada. Candidates must take the MCCEE before being eligible to take the NAC examination, and certain jurisdictions may add region-specific eligibility criteria for certain provincially funded training positions.

IMGs may be required to pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Part II (additional fees apply). Candidates may also take a self-assessment exam to help prepare for the multiple-choice component of the MCCQE Part I. This self-assessment is offered over the Internet and can be completed before arriving in Canada. The MCCQE Part I and the MCCQE Part II

are administered in Canada and are also required for graduates from Canadian faculties of medicine. All jurisdictions also require a minimum of two years of postgraduate training for licensure. When IMGs pass the MCCQE Part II, they are awarded the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada. The Licentiate is required for candidates to meet the Canadian Standard for full licensure, as defined through the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada.

IMGs who are seeking a provisional licence to enter independent practice can also consider going through a practice-ready assessment (PRA) program. PRA is a one of several routes available in several provinces to internationally-trained physicians interested in joining Canada’s medical profession. For further information regarding this route to licensure, contact the provincial international medical graduate programs.

IMGs who are considering practising or completing their medical training in Canada should be aware of the requirements for medical liability protection in Canada. For more information, please contact the Canadian Medical Protective Association.