The medical curriculum is divided into two steps. The pre-doctoral step includes the theoretical portion of the curriculum (2-3 years) and clerkship, or practical training (1.5 years to 2 years). Following the latter, the student will be granted his doctorate in Medicine. However, to obtain a license to practice, the student must complete a post-doctoral program (residency), at his university of origin or any other university across Canada, in a given specialty (including family medicine). A new admissions process is necessary.
The CaRMS (Canadian Residency Matching Service) is a non-profit organization that works closely with Canadian postgraduate medical education programs and medical students to provide the best possible match in residence, taking into account both the selection of candidates and preferences of training programs. Although established in English-speaking Faculties of Medicine of Canada for over 40 years, the CaRMS has been used in Quebec for six years. CaRMS allows medical students to present their application in residency throughout Canada.
The CaRMS is a completely computerized system, which allows the medical student to build up almost all of his or her application online. After the file is reviewed by the residency program directors, students whose applications have been accepted will be offered an interview with the admissions committee of the postgraduate program. After the interview period, the student makes a ranked list of programs according to their preferences. The student may also decide not to rank a program, even if this student took part in the interview. The system then performs a matching algorithm by taking into account the ranking list of the candidate, as well as the residency programs list of preferred candidates. Note that the CaRMS match is contractually binding insofar as a student who is offered a position in a program that he has previously ranked has to accept the offer and work as a resident in the program for at least one year.
If at the end of the initial round a candidate is not matched in any residency program, he may participate in a second round. He will have to restart the process, and may only apply to vacant posts.
Building up your CaRMS application
The CaRMS file of a candidate is built according to the requirements of residency programs (refer to the website of the CaRMS – www.carms.ca). It includes:
• Letter from the Dean
◦ This document varies from one university to another, but generally presents details of your academic background.
• Academic record of the student
◦ This is provided directly to CaRMS by the original medical school of the candidate
• Picture of the candidate
◦ We must aim for professionalism
• Cover letter
◦ The criteria differ from one program to another and from one university to another
• Letters of recommendation (usually two or three)
◦ Letters of recommendation may come from a supervisor who has worked with you during your clerkship or another significant person. The question to be asked is “Who can convey my qualities as a clerk in writing? Who is the person that has the most influence to bolster my application in this particular residency program or in this university? “.
◦ A person may make more than one letter of recommendation for various universities and various residency programs.
• Letters of Support
◦ They are required in some study programs
◦ They have a less personal character than letters of recommendation.
◦ A witness must complete a document confirming that the candidate is suitable.
◦ The person writing a letter of support may be the same who wrote the recommendation letter.
It should be noted that the candidate should not see the letters of recommendation and support. Thus, it is recommended that the student provide the people who write his or her letters with a prepaid envelope for the CaRMS. Mail with tracking capabilities is also very useful for students, as it allows students to know precisely if the letter got to the CaRMS.
Translation of documents is at the expense of the candidate. For letters of recommendation, it is suggested the student provides a stamped envelope to the translator, and another stamped envelope to the translator for CaRMS.
• A student must have done an elective in the area in which they apply: FALSE.
o A good CaRMS record, cover letter and interview explaining the student’s interest in the program may be sufficient.
• It is necessary to have done an elective at the university in which a student applies: FALSE
o You do not need to have visited the residency program to which you apply. One need only look around at current residents to confirm.
• There is an interview for family medicine applications to Francophone universities: TRUE.
o The candidate has a single interview with examiners from two out of three universities randomly selected. The notes are independent assessors and interview reports are sent to the Family Medicine Units (UMF) selected by the candidates.
• It is possible to apply as a couple to the CaRMS: TRUE
o A specific matching algorithm that prioritizes the residence site is then used for pairing.
Important dates 2015-2016
• September 5, 2015: Opening of the applications for CaRMS
• November 6, 2015: Translation Requests
• November 19, 2015: Completed Applications
• November 30, 2015: Deadline for letters of recommendation
• January 16 to February 7 2016: Interviews for CaRMS
• February 18, 2016: Deadline for the submission of the ranking list prepared by the candidates
• March 2, 2016: Twinning and announcement of results
Role of the FMEQ
• Office of the CaRMS complaints:
o Check the website of FMEQ (www.fmeq.ca) or write directly to the academic affairs delegated to (firstname.lastname@example.org).
• Headquarters of the CaRMS Board:
o Since 2012, students of French universities are represented on the board of the CaRMS. FMEQ is present in order to present your concerns.
For more information
Translation Service for the CaRMS
In order to facilitate the translation efforts of files to present to the CaRMS, the FMEQ has done some research for you. We have drawn a list of eleven (11) official translators who are very familiar with the process and who are also committed to providing you with a close follow-up your file.
FMEQ offers this list of translators with information, reservations and following reminders:
– Each of these translators has agreed to follow up with the student’s file. This monitoring implies that the student will be notified whenever the translator receives a reference letter and the moment the file (or final document) is sent to the CaRMS.
Unless a special arrangement is made with a translator, these follow ups will happen by an exchange of e-mails;
– Each of these translators has also agreed to forward the file as one piece to the CaRMS, once it is complete or as a document or multiple documents are received and translated. This protocol should be discussed between the student and the translator and of course the student will provide an appropriate number of envelopes. Do not forget that the translator must have personally seen the original document before sending it to CaRMS although it is possible for him to start the translation from a PDF document, a photocopy or fax;
– The capacity of each translator to accept records for the CaRMS is limited, as is the speed with which it is able to translate documents. It is therefore important to transmit the document as soon as possible, even if it means they are transmitted in several pieces;
– The price and terms of payment for the translation of a record must be negotiated between the student and the translator. FMEQ has not negotiated any price and assumes no responsibility in this regard;
– This list is not exhaustive and is proposed by the FMEQ for informative purposes only;
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