Growing numbers of Canadian medical school graduates are unable to find any residency positions, as a new study suggests competition for the most sought-after of those training spots drives some students to fudge their research accomplishments.
Even with a medical degree, doctors must complete a two-year family medicine residency or five-year residency in another specialty before being allowed to practise.
Yet in 2014, 55 Canadian graduates were unable to be “matched” with any training program, a fivefold increase from 2009, an advocate for the country’s medical schools said Wednesday.
The problem looks destined to get worse, as some provinces plan to cut the number of residencies they fund, said Dr. Geneviève Moineau, president of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. “That for us is unacceptable,” she said. “If a Canadian medical student is able to demonstrate their competence and receive their MD and that MD was supported by taxpayers’ money … those individuals should be able to find a residency spot. (But) that is becoming less and less the case.”
One source familiar with the process but not authorized to speak on the record said there is not a shortage of residencies; the problem is that more positions are being allotted to “international medical graduates” – immigrants or Canadians who studied medicine abroad.
“There are some that believe that if you’re accepted to a (Canadian) undergraduate program and you graduate from it, you should be entitled to a residency position,” the official said. “And then there are others who believe it should be a pure meritocracy and if there are better-qualified candidates coming from other places, then they should have those spots.”