All IMGs who reside in Alberta and who have obtained their medical degree from a recognized medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (http://www.wdoms.org/) are eligible to apply for a residency position through the Alberta International Medical Graduate Program (AIMGP) (http://www.aimg.ca) when they are ready to meet the program eligibility requirements. Residency is the only pathway to licensure for IMGs who are newly grads and generally, for those who don’t have at least 12 months of Post-Graduate Training acquired outside of Canada, or have a more than 3-year a gap in clinical practice. Fellowships are not a credential considered for licensure.
The steps bellow outline the pathway to the post-graduate residency training in the province of Alberta.
Visit the Alberta International Medical Graduate Program (AIMGP) website and get information about the program and the specifics of the application process. http://www.aimg.ca
The AIMGP is the provincial residency program that offers postgraduate residency training at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta in Edmonton to IMGs who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents residing in Alberta and who meet the program eligibility criteria to apply to a defined number of IMG designated residency positions in Family Medicine and other Specialties funded by Alberta Health and Wellness (AHW) and aligned with recognized provincial physician resource needs. In addition to proving residence in Alberta and passing the MCCEE, an applicant has to pass the MCCQE1, the NAC-OSCE, the provincially specific residency entrance exam – Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI), the currently accepted Language Proficiency Exam and provide all supporting documents required by the program while meeting the specific application deadline for the submission of each of these. Having applied directly to the AIMGP and having been deemed successful in its application process, the eligible applicants compete for the program designated residency positions through the first and the second CaRMS match of the application year. The AIMGP uses a competitive based selection/assessment process which is designed to identify candidates for successful residency training. On successful completion of residency and the LMCC (MCCQE2), certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or from the College of Family Physicians of Canada is awarded.
NOTE: It is extremely important for the successes of any application to follow strictly the program requirements as specified for the AIMGP cycle of the particular application year and once in process, to check regularly for updates posted on the AIMGP website.
- Pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) no later than March in the year of application and be able to provide proof by the AIMGP application exam results deadline.
The MCCEE (http://mcc.ca/examinations/mccee/) is a four-hour, computer-based general assessment of the candidate’s basic medical knowledge in the principle disciplines of medicine offered in English and French at more than 500 centres in 80 countries all over the world. The exam is administered in January, in March, in May, in September and in October/November throughout the year.Scheduling for a particular examination date closes 120 hours before the examination date and time. Results are available approx. 7 weeks after the last day of the examination session. The pass score is 250 of 500. The MCC does not limit the number of times a candidate may attempt the MCCEE. However, candidates with a pass result on the MCCEE cannot retake the examination in an attempt to obtain a higher score. On successful completion of this examination, an applicant can write the MCCQE1 or NAC-OSCE.The fee to write this examination is $1,737.00 (http://mcc.ca/examinations/examination-service-fees/).
- Pass the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination – Part 1 (MCCQE1) no later than May in the year of application and be able to prove proof by the AIMGP application exam results deadline.
The MCCQE1 (http://mcc.ca/examinations/mccqe-part-i/) is actually the first of the two MCC licensing exams and must be taken by both IMGs and Canadian medical graduates seeking for licensure in Alberta. The exam is a prerequisite for AIMGP applicants. It is a full day, computer-based test consisting of two parts. The first part contains 196 multiple-choice questions to be completed for 3.5 hours; the second part allowed to be completed for 4 hours consists of short-menu and short-answer write-in questions based on clinical reasoning skills. The exam is administered twice a year only in examination centres within Canada available in different provinces.In Alberta, there are examination centres in Calgary and in Edmonton with examination sessions in the spring (April /May) and in the fall (October/November) each year.The MCC does not limit the amount of times a candidate attempts the Part 1; however, once a passing mark (427) is awarded the candidate cannot retake the examination. The fee to write this examination is $1,005.00 as applications after the deadline dates include additional fee charges (http://mcc.ca/examinations/examination-service-fees/).
- Pass the National Assessment Collaboration-Objective Structured Clinical Exam (NAC-OSCE) by March, or register with the MCC for the September examination session in the year of application and be able to prove proof by the AIMGP application NAC-OSCE results/ registration confirmation deadline.
The NAC- OSCE (http://mcc.ca/examinations/nac-overview/) is an MCC exam that only IMGs applying for residency need to take. It tests the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for entrance into a Canadian residency program. IMGs are assessed based on the NAC-OSCE, interviews, and a summative review.The exam consists of 12 different 11 minute clinical stations which are based on presentations of clinical scenarios. NAC-OSCE can only be taken once which means that candidates with a passing score (65 of 100) will not be able to retake the examination for a possible higher grade. Achieving a pass or even good standing on the exam does not guarantee a residency position. The mark, however, is used to support the residency application. In the event of fail standing, the NAC-OSCE can be attempted to a maximum of three attempts. The exam is offered twice a year – in September and in March. In Alberta, the exam is administered only in September in Calgary and Edmonton. The cost of the exam is $2,309.00. (http://mcc.ca/examinations/examination-service-fees/)
- Pass the required Language Proficiency Exam no earlier than 12 months before May in the year of application and be able to provide proof no later than the AIMGP application deadline for the submission of language proficiency results.
Currently, all IMGs applying to the AIMGP, who have obtained their medical degree in a country whose official language is other than English, are required to present a proof of their English language proficiency by completing either the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS-Academic), or the Internet Based Test of English as a Foreign Language (iBT-TOEFL) no earlier than 12 months before May in the year of application. The required scores are:
- minimum 7.0 in each of the components on IELTS/Academic
- minimum of 24 in each of the components on iBT-TOEFL
NOTE: Effective 2018/2019 AIMGP cycle, iBT-TOEFL scores will not be accepted and the only valid test for proof of English language proficiency will be IELTS/Academic.
- Meet the specific program eligibility criteria and be able to provide proof of Status in Canada, Residence in Alberta, and Medical Education as required by the AIMGP deadline for the submission of all supporting documents.
Status in Canada – all applicants must provide proof of Citizenship or Permanent Resident Status in Canada as defined by Citizenship and Immigration Canada achieved no later than December 1 in the year preceding the year of application. (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?page=71)
Residence in Alberta – all applicants must be residents in Alberta and provide proof of physical presence in the province for at least 6 months with no interruption for more than 3 weeks (from December in the previous year to June 1 in the year of application). To meet these criteria, the applicant must have Alberta government issued identification (i.e. driver’s license, ID card) and current health care benefits funded by Alberta Health. (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?page=70)
Medical Education – all applicants must provide proof of medical degree obtained from a recognized medical school listed in the listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (http://www.wdoms.org/) – Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) (www.faimer.org). Applicants must do this through their physiciansapply.ca accounts having their medical credentials source verified no later by the accepted by the AIMGP deadline sharing access to them with AIMGP. (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?m=63&page=73)
NOTE: Original documents that are not in English must be translated by a certified translator and copies of both the original document and the certified translation are required. Documents requiring notarization must be notarized only by a Notary Public in the province of Alberta within the time frame specified by the AIMGP for the particular application year. http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?m=98&page=92
- Apply to the program through the online AIMGP application portal by completing an online program application, submitting the required program application document package and paying the application fees in a manner specified by the program before the application deadline.
Usually, the AIMGP online application portal opens on May 1 and closes on June 1 in the application year; however, an applicant needs to check the provided Important Dates and Deadlines concerning the AIMGP cycle he/she is applying for (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?page=112) and following the steps of the application process:
- Complete the AIMGP online registration to obtain a user name and password (new applicant), or use the existing to login (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?page=34)
- Complete and submit the AIMGP online application, read carefully and follow the instructions provided by the AIMGP application receipt confirmation e-mail (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?page=3)
- Ensure that all required documents stored in the applicant’s physiciansapply.ca account have been granted online sharing through Physicians Apply to the AIMG Program
- Assemble the Program Document Application Package containing all required documents that can’t be shared with the AIMGP through physiciansapply.ca account. http://www.aimg.ca/upload-files/2017_Cycle_APPLICATION_CHECKLIST_2016-01-20.pdf
- Deliver the Program Document Application Package to the AIMG Program office (HMRB G06, Health Sciences Centre, Foothills Campus, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1) before the receipt of supporting document package deadline and pay a non-refundable fee ($300.00) in a single payment when their application package is delivered to the AIMGP program office. (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?m=25&page=79)
NOTE: Do not apply to the AIMGP provided that you don’t satisfy all of the program eligibility criteria, or you are not able to provide proof of all supporting documents and exam results/registration confirmations in a manner required by the program before the specified submission deadline.
- Pass the Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) in the fall (October) of the application year having been considered an eligible AIMGP applicant and invited by the program to take the exam.
The MMI is a provincially-specific examination administered by AIMGP as a supplementary exam that all program applicants considered eligible to the AIMGP through the CaRMS –R1 must take each year when they are applying to the program. The MMI is offered once a year in the fall (October) upon AIMGP invitation to applicant. The Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) are designed to assess personal qualities through the seven CanMEDS competencies, developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). The MMI has been modeled on the Objective Structured Clinical Examination that is commonly used by Health Sciences Programs to evaluate student competence. It consists of a series of short carefully timed interview stations (9) in an attempt to draw multiple samples of a candidate’s ability to think on their feet, critically appraise information, effectively communicate their ideas, and demonstrate their insight into unique and complex clinical scenarios. Each scenario or station is 8 minutes in total, with 2 minutes to review the scenario and 6 minutes to discuss the scenario with an assessor.
- Apply through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) for the AIMGP residency positions upon receiving valid NAC-OSCE and MMI results between September and November of the application year (CaRMS cycle)
CaRMS is a national, not-for-profit, fee-for-service organization that provides a central and secure electronic interface for application and matching service for entry into postgraduate medical residency program throughout Canada. All Canadian medical schools participate in the 1st iteration (R-1) and 2nd iteration (R-2) match process administered by CaRMS with the use of a computer-based match algorithm. It also provides access to the US application system for PGME.To be eligible for participation in the 1st CaRMs iteration (R-1), an applicant must:
- be medical student or graduate who has obtained or is in the process of obtaining a medical degree by July 1 of the match year from an International Medical School listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (http://www.wdoms.org/) – Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) (www.faimer.org)
- have passed the MCCEE
- be a Canadian Citizen or a Canadian Permanent Resident
- Meet the provincial application criteria of the program he/she is applying to (AIMGP)
Only applicants whom the AIMG Program have deemed eligible are able to apply for Alberta IMG-designated residency positions in the first and second iteration CaRMS matches.
CaRMS Application Process: CaRMS Online Application Portal becomes available at http://www.carms.ca/en/match-process/your-application/ in early September. To participate in the AIMGP CaRMS Match, eligible AIMGP applicants must also register for the the 1st CaRMs iteration (R-1). The registration process includes the following steps:
- Complete the on-line Request for Registration -the information that will be collected includes: name, address, medical school of graduation, date of graduation and Medical Council of Canada (MCC) candidate number (found on the MCC examination registration or results letter), etc. http://www.carms.ca/en/residency/registration/
- Pay a credentials verification fee at this time, unless you have previously participated in a CaRMS match.
- Get your Electronic Token – once eligibility is confirmed and payment has been processed, CaRMS will e-mail you your electronic token which is the information you need to access CaRMS Online and begin building your application
- Sign on to the Applicant Webstation (AWS) and accept the Electronic CaRMS Contract -when logging into CaRMS Online for the first time, you will be prompted to accept the match contract. http://www.carms.ca/en/match-process/your-application/your-carms-contract/
- Pay the non-refundable match registration fee- when payment is complete you will be able to access the application, add documents and, and once the program selection period is open, apply to programs. Payment must be made online using VISA or MasterCard. http://www.carms.ca/en/match-process/your-application/fees/
Documents: When the applicant has completed these steps, he/she will be fully registered with CaRMS. Only applicants registered in a CaRMS Match have access to the CaRMS Applicant Webstation (AWS). However, registered applicants must still complete, save, and submit all information required in the items under the Application tab, select and submit their program choices and assign documents to those programs in order to have “applied” to residency programs. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to apply to and complete the CaRMS application process and supply all documents required by CaRMS (http://www.carms.ca/en/match-process/your-application/document-submission/instructions-document-submission/document-instructions-international-medical-graduates-imgs/).
The AIMGP office will forward results of the Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMI) to CaRMS, but will not forward any other required documents to CaRMS on the applicant’s behalf. Candidates determine which documents to submit based on the program requirements outlined in Program Descriptions, and these documents are assigned to programs accordingly(https://phx.e-carms.ca/phoenix web/pd/main?mitid=1327#).
The standard set of documents required for the AIMGP residency positions include Curriculum Vitae(CV)/Custom Resume, Personal Statement, Reference Letters and Detailed Outline of Medical Practice which the applicant has to provide to the AIMGP through the CaRMS application portal meeting the CaRMS application deadline.
The AIMGP will provide CaRMS with a list of eligible applicants who meet all AIMGP requirements. This does not affect the applicant’s ability to apply through CaRMS for a residency match outside Alberta.
CaRMS Milestones and Deadlines: CaRMS prepares detailed timelines for each of the the matches. The timelines are designed to provide a schedule of important dates (called milestones) to help an applicant keeps his/her application on track. Milestones are just recommendations, not deadlines. CaRMS milestones exist to help the applicants plan the various steps they need to take to complete their applications. They act as a recommended date by which an objective should be met. A deadline is the latest date and time by which a step can be completed. The only real deadline in the CaRMS schedule is the rank order list (ROL) deadline – the date by which applicants must submit their ranked list of programs and programs must submit their ranked list of applicants. If an applicant misses this deadline, he/she will be automatically withdrawn from the match. http://www.carms.ca/en/match-process/your-application/match-tips/milestones-deadlines/
The Residency Interviews – by AIMGP invitation only
Individual programs make all the decisions about who and when they interview. Candidate applications are reviewed by the various postgraduate medical education programs and if selected for a residency interview, the applicant will be contacted directly from the program and invited for an interview. Applicants are solely responsible to arrange their own transportation to interviews requested by the residency program(s).Applicants interested in determining the timeline of interviews are encouraged to confirm the interview schedule provided on the CaRMS website as CaRMS works closely with programs to collect, verify and post interview dates in our centralized interview calendar.
The Ranking Process
Following the residency program interviews, only candidates who have secured such must determine the order of preference for the programs they have applied to by ranking them from most preferred to least preferred and submit their rank-order-list (ROL) to CaRMS meeting the deadline.
Programs also rank their desired applicants in order of preference and submit their ROLs to CaRMS. By the beginning of February in the CaRMS match cycle, the AIMGP submits to its program ROL to CaRMS (http://www.aimg.ca/index.php?m=99&page=112). Once rankings are submitted, the match process takes place and candidates and programs are notified of results (http://www.carms.ca/en/residency/match-algorithm/).
The Residency Match
There are two iterations of the match process; however, only unmatched eligible AIMGP candidates from the first iteration may participate, if they wish, in the second iteration.
CaRMS 1st iteration includes two parallel streams; Canadian Medical Graduate (CMG) Stream and International Medical Graduate (IMG) Stream, each having designated positions. There will be no cross-over or transfer between the two streams. All matched applicants must meet the licensing criteria for registration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) for postgraduate education. The results of theCaRMS R-1 are available by the middle of March of the cycle year.
CaRMS 2nd Iteration – Alberta IMGs who successfully complete the AIMG Program assessment but are not matched to a residency program in the CaRMS 1st iteration match are the only candidates eligible to apply to the CaRMS 2nd iteration match for residency training in Alberta in the same cycle year. The CaRMs R-2 results are available by the end of April of the cycle year.
AIMGP applicants who are matched through the first iteration of CaRMS must also successfully complete the AIMG Program Externship prior to the start of Residency. Only those candidates who successfully complete the Externship will be eligible to begin the residency program to which they matched. An Externship includes a series of orientation sessions (2 weeks) and a clinical assessment (8 weeks)
Not Matched – Clinical Assessment Placement (CAP)
CAP is an AIMG Program-facilitated opportunity offered to a limited number of Program applicants upon a program invitation who do not match to residency positions. The CAP provides randomly selected participants with two 2-week unpaid placements in clinical settings in Calgary or Edmonton. During the placements, practicing physicians assess the CAP participants’ clinical skills, knowledge and attributes. Participants gain recent, relevant clinical experience in a Canadian context and receive a final report summarizing their clinical performance and capabilities as demonstrated during their placement. Participants are encouraged to attach their CAP performance report to future CaRMS applications to highlight recent Canadian experience. The CAP is well known to program directors who see it as an applicant asset.