Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario


News Articles

2011 CaRMS Match - 1540 IMD medical doctors unmatched So what do we do with these 1540 Canadian qualified doctors - where is the Canadian sense of fairness? 

Healthcare system in financial crisis  The TRUE reason why IMDs are excluded and public shortchanged?

 That'l be cash and visa Let's use our training resources for Canadians first

Foreign Born Doctors Give Equal Care   The New York Times reports that IMDs have lower mortality rates.

Losing Patients with the Canadian Health Care System  The rich and politically connected go to the US?


People are going to have to die  

Physician shortage is a CRISIS !   Between 663,000 and 879,000 Ontarians without family doctors... 

White coats, red tape 



Foreign Trained Physicians Get Support

Physicians' groups accused of delaying foreign doctors Protecting their turf and income

Speed recognition of foreign doctors: minister

Articles about Foreign Visa Trainees

Foreign visa trainees clog medical schools

The Ottawa Citizen Thursday, May 01, 2008

Re: Opposition pushes Finley to disclose immigration 'losers', April 29.

One of the significant problems facing foreign-trained and landed-immigrant doctors who have written and passed the licensing exams is the fact that there is a shortage of residency positions at Canada's teaching hospitals.

As an immigration lawyer, I am aware that there are 800 to 1,000 resident positions across Canada sold to Saudi and other Middle East-trained doctors who are not Canadians or landed immigrants, but are sponsored by their respective countries. These foreign visa trainees (FVT) are registered with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons without any exams or assessments upon the recommendation of their home governments. They are immediately allowed to practise and do procedures, ostensibly under supervision. The FVTs do not remain in Canada after their five years' training. The sponsoring countries pay the hospital or medical school $24,000 per year per resident and the sponsoring country also pays the foreign residents' salaries.

The general public is not aware of this situation. At the University of Ottawa postgraduate medical website, it states: "We have one of the largest foreign trainee populations in Canada. There are currently 700 residents and 150 fellows registered at the University of Ottawa."

My phone call confirmed that Ottawa University has anywhere between 150 to 200 foreign trainees from the 700 resident positions available.

In 2007, 298 foreign trained Canadian and immigrant doctors were matched for resident positions. Yet 1,486 were qualified (passed the Canadian licensing exams). About 80 per cent went unmatched or 1,188 more doctors who could be working and practising in Canada but could not find positions.

Five University of Manitoba 2007 successful medical graduates were not matched for a residency position. In 2008, 13 were not matched. These are Canadian doctors, who passed the licensing exam and could not find residency positions in Canada. This is one medical school of 15 across Canada.

There is a finite number of attending physicians and resident positions across Canada. These attending physicians must train all the residents and are not paid for training the FVTs. Many are quite frustrated at being compelled to train FVTs and rightly believe that these positions should be allotted to Canadians and landed immigrant doctors before offering them to FVTs.

While the Canadian Medical Association may argue it is a different program for the FVTs , it is different only insofar as the sponsoring countries pay their salaries and an annual $24,000 fee per resident, which is quite a financial boon for the hospitals.

Julie Taub,


Fund resident spots for foreign-trained MDs

The Ottawa Citizen

 Tuesday, May 06, 2008

 Re: Foreign trainees aren't taking up MD resident spots, May 3.

I believe that Dr. Stephen Kravcik's letter actually supports the basis of Julie Taub's call for an immediate moratorium on foreign visa trainees ("Foreign visa trainees clog medical schools," May 1).

First, Dr. Kravcik states that foreign visa trainees (FVTs) are not taking up spaces allocated to international medical graduates (IMG) in Canada. That is not the case -- a resident position is a resident position, whatever label assigned. Be they Canadian medical graduates, IMGs or FVTs, the same resources of medical teachers and hospital facilities are used for the programs. Thus it makes perfect sense to utilize the FVT spots for local Canadians at this time of crisis.

This, of course, means that the ministry of health will have to fund these spots. These additional funds will compensate the universities for the loss of income from foreign governments.

Dr. Kravcik's analogy of the car and bus further proves the point. Whatever vehicles -- facilities and trainers -- that are available should be used to train doctors for the Canadian population. Let both the car and bus carry our IMGs into medical practice.

As to the level of scrutiny afforded to FVTs, it is true that they do not require any of the Canadian qualifications before they are allowed to treat patients. On the other hand, IMGs must pass at least four examinations before they can even start to apply for a residency.

Our organization agrees with Dr. Kravcik that it is truly honourable to train physicians for other countries. However, it does not make sense to do so to the detriment of doctors who have already migrated here. We are the hands that Canada needs at this time.

As for the cultural issue, the IMGs who are Canadians or landed immigrants are not only from the Middle East but also from Europe, South America and Asia. We have doctors of diverse religions and ethnicity represented with a wealth of experience and talent. Exposure to diverse cultures that Dr. Kravcik craves will be more varied, if we only put a moratorium on visa trainees and begin to train our local IMGs.

A moratorium on foreign visa trainees is an urgent priority if we are to place the over 1,000 qualified IMGs who have passed the exams in Canada into Canadian hospitals. The IMDs are ready, willing and qualified to be medical residents and be assessed for medical practice. That will be a true win-win solution for Canada.

Joshua Thambiraj, MD, FRCS,

President, Association of International Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario


Faculties should debate balance for medical post-grads

The Ottawa Citizen

Monday, May 05, 2008

 Re: Foreign visa trainees clog medical schools, May 2.

Letter writer Julie Taub identifies an important issue facing Canada's faculties of medicine that is worthy of debate, namely the appropriate number of foreign visa trainees (FVTs) in residency positions in Canadian faculties of medicine. Unfortunately, some information needed for a fair and realistic discussion of the issue is missing from her letter.

Residency training is a prerequisite for medical practice in Canada. Three groups of medical graduates apply for residency positions: Canadians with undergraduate training from Canadian faculties of medicine, international medical graduates (IMGs), and foreign visa trainees (FVTs).

IMGs are landed immigrants, permanent residents of Canada, and Canadians who have received undergraduate medical training outside of Canada. FVTs are foreign residents who have received undergraduate training outside of Canada, are here for postgraduate training, and are expected to return to their home country upon the completion of their programs. In the 2006 to 2007 academic year there were 933 FVTs in residency positions in Canada, 764 of which were sponsored by their foreign governments.

Ms. Taub asserts that the motivation for having FVTs is that they represent a "financial boon for (the) hospitals." A less cynical view would also appreciate that while FVTs do provide a revenue stream to Canadian faculties of medicine (not hospitals), they also enrich education and training environments by providing diversity and have played an essential role in the provision of medical services in Canadian healthcare facilities and in the education and training of medical students and junior trainees.

Mr. Taub is right to raise the issue. We may not have struck the right balance between Canadian medical graduates, IMGs and FVTs within the current demographic context. AFMC is therefore calling for a dialogue within Canada's 17 faculties of medicine to assess the fair use of our resources in order to train the maximum number of Canadian students and IMGs while respecting our international obligations and the value of FVTs.

This dialogue must begin with, and be shaped by, a number of guiding principles including: the primary obligation of Canadian faculties of medicine to help educate physicians to meet the needs of Canada; the international obligation of Canadian faculties of medicine to contribute to the medical workforces in other countries, and the need for fees received from sponsoring governments to cover the actual costs for training.

Only through such a principles-based dialogue will Canada come to a fair and honest analysis of our capacity to continue to train foreign medical graduates with visas while fully meeting the needs of Canadian students and all Canadians.

Nick Busing, MD,Ottawa

President and CEO

Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

 Doctor shortage doesn't have to be

Glut of physicians who cannot earn accreditation

John Ivison,  National Post  Published: Tuesday, April 29, 2008

 OTTAWA -Nye Bevan, the British politician, once lamented that it took a certain kind of organizational genius to produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time, given the British Isles are made of the former and surrounded by the latter.

 The same thought struck during a cursory examination of Canada's doctor shortage. The Canadian Medical Association launched a publicity campaign pointing out that almost five million Canadians do not have a family physician and that the country would need 26,000 more doctors to meet the OECD average of physicians per family.

 Yet, there is a glut of doctors trained abroad who have moved to Canada but cannot find resident spots in teaching hospitals to give them the accreditation they need. Figures from last year show that only 20% of the 1,486 foreign-trained Canadian and permanent-resident doctors were matched with residency positions at Canada's teaching hospitals. This means 1,188 graduates, who had passed their licensing exams, were unable to find spots required to qualify as family doctors.

The hospitals claim the reason so many potential doctors were turned down was because of a teacher shortage. But here's the real kicker: While university hospitals have been rejecting doctors who might have moved into towns and cities across Canada to provide the health care that Canadians expect and deserve, they have been accepting trainees from foreign countries in record-breaking numbers -- all of whom come here at their governments' expense and then return home once fully trained.

 The numbers of foreign visa trainees rose to 2,082 in 2006-07, from 937 a decade ago, according to the Canadian post-MD Education Registry. The reason they are accepted in such numbers is that foreign governments (mainly from the Middle East) pay fees equivalent to the subsidy the provincial government would stump up for Canadian students. In Ontario, this amounts to $25,000 per year. In addition, the foreign government pays a salary that ranges between $47,000-81,000 and a benefits package of around 12% of salary. In return for the potential outlay of $115,000 a year, the foreign government is guaranteed to have a fully qualified doctor returning home within five years.

The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine was at pains to point out that there is a tiered level of acceptance, starting with Canadian medical graduates, followed by international medical graduates who might stay in Canada and, finally, sponsored foreign-visa trainees.

At least, that's the way the system should work. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise -- a scenario that is perhaps not unrelated to the $200-million cash injection coming from the Saudi Arabian government, among others.

 It is a situation that infuriates Julie Taub, an immigration lawyer in Ottawa. "Canada could have at least 1,000 additional doctors per year, if not for the medical-resident positions that are sold to Middle-East trained, non-Canadian, non-landed immigrant doctors, who leave Canada after their training," she said.

 The granting of immigration visas is an area of federal responsibility and Ottawa should take a serious look at whether Canada's long-term interests are being hawked for short-term profit. If they are, a moratorium on the university intake of foreign trainees should be put in place, pronto.



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