Can US doctors practice in Canada?

Canada’s healthcare system is one of the things that makes it an amazing place to live. But the shortage of doctors is a serious issue that also represents opportunities for doctors from other countries to work in Canada. So, can US doctors practice in Canada?

Yes, it’s possible for a doctor trained in the US to practice in Canada. The steps to doing this are selecting a province, applying for a license, finding a job, and finally immigrating. Of course, this means getting a work permit, and you’ll need to get a licence from the provincial medical board.

Regardless of the complicated process of getting a medical license to practice as a physician in Canada, it’s worthwhile. Migrating as a physician is one of the fastest ways to get into Canada, and it’s quite profitable. This article explains how US doctors can get the license to practice in Canada.

How to Practice as A Physician in Canada

The high demand for medical doctors in Canada and limited bureaucracy are factors driving many US doctors to move north. But the attractiveness of the Canadian medical system is somewhat limited by the process in place before a doctor can practice in the country. Here are the steps you have to take to get a medical license in Canada.

1.   Select a Province

The first step to practicing as a medical doctor migrating from the US to Canada is to select which province you’ll be staying in. This is important because the requirements for medical practice in Canada differ from province to province. In addition, the process you’ll have to follow is province-dependent. Thus, choosing a particular province will give you a clear idea of what you need to do.

2.   Apply for License

Once you’ve selected the province you want to practice, the next step would be to apply for a medical license. You need to have a license before you can practice in Canada. Each province has its rules and process for getting a license. As someone migrating from another country, there are several pathways to practicing as a medical doctor in Canada. You only need to find the most suitable pathway for you.

3.   Find a Job

One of the challenges with practicing in Canada work moving from another country is that you’re usually required to have a job before making a move. Most provinces also require that you work under supervision for 12 – 18 months before getting a permanent license. Thus, it’s necessary to find a job as you’re on your quest to move to Canada.

There are several ways to find a job. You can directly approach the hospitals and clinics or use job boards such as Health Force Ontario, MD work, Health Match BC, drcareers, etc. You can also find international recruitment agencies such as CanAm Physician Recruiting Inc.

4.   Immigration

The last step for a US doctor to practice in Canada is to migrate. While US and Canada might be quite close in terms of territorial boundaries, migrating between the two countries isn’t simple at all. There are several options for migration, too, and it largely depends on the province you’re going to as well. Doctors can use the Express Entry Program as a Federal Skilled Worker. The migration process can take months or even years before it can be finalized.

Licensure Process for Province

Getting your medical licence differs from one province to another. Here is the process for Ontario and British Columbia. Other provinces also have a similar process and what might be different is the licensing board.

1.   Ontario

In Ontario, you don’t need to take the medical examinations or training all over again before you can practice here. Medical doctors migrating from the US can get a restricted license if they pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLEs) and complete the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) residency program. The person must also hold US Speciality board certification and have a full license to practice medicine in the United States.

Any doctor who meets these conditions can apply for a certificate of registration and work under supervision for between a year and 18 months. They’ll also have to pass an assessment examination after 12 months of practicing in Ontario. The registration certificate only lasts for 18 months, after which you can get an indefinite renewal.

2.   British Columbia

If you’re planning to move to British Columbia, the process for getting a license here is similar to that of Ontario. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) is in charge of the process. Generally, the requirements are specific to the specialties, and CPSBC usually demands at least five years of post-medical school training, fellowship training, and residency.

However, most ACGME programs don’t last this long. But that doesn’t mean US-trained doctors will have to undergo more training. Most times, you simply have to prove equivalency by presenting US Board certification for your specialty. However, it’s compulsory to take the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons Canada Exams (RCPSC).

Doctors have a choice of either provisional or full registration. The provision registration is for international graduates with medical degrees who have completed their postgraduate training, Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE) Part 1, and are certified for their specialty.

Other licensing exams in the US, such as USMLEs – Steps 1, 2, and 3, Federation Licensing Examination (FLEX), National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), and Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX), can be used instead of the MCCQE.

Provisional license only lasts for two years, after which you’ll have to take the competency assessment. In order to get provisional licensure, applicants will need to get a ruling letter from the RCPSC, which proves eligibility for the Royal College exams. On the other hand, full registration requires certification from the RCPSC and usually comes after confirmation of eligibility for provisional registration.

In Conclusion

It’s possible to move to Canada from the US to practice medicine. You’ll need to be licensed in Canada to practice, but you don’t need to repeat the training. However, some provinces require that you take Canadian Boards exams before you get full licensure.

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