Update: Situation concerning Canada and Saudi Arabia

Western University continues to monitor the situation concerning Canada and Saudi Arabia. The University's primary focus is how this situation may affect the students and trainees involved and our campus community.

On August 29, the Saudi Cultural Bureau confirmed that trainees can, at their option, remain in their training programs "until such time as they receive final admission into equivalent training programs in other countries." Any trainees currently on a leave of absence may return to their programs and resume training.

On August 30, the Saudi Cultural Bureau issued an update with the following information:

  • The Cultural Bureau has been authorized to issue airline tickets for Saudi trainees who have returned to Saudi Arabia, but now wish to come back to Canada to re-join their residency or fellowship programs.
  • Airline tickets already issued for any Saudi postgraduate medical (PGME) trainee who was originally planning to leave Canada, but now wishes to remain in his/her training program, can be cancelled with no financial liability on the part of the trainee.
  • For all new PGME trainees presently in Canada: all new Saudi trainees currently in Canada are permitted to join the residency or fellowship programs into which they have been accepted.
  • For new PGME trainees presently in Saudi Arabia: all newly-appointed Saudi trainees currently in Saudi Arabia, who hold valid Scholarship Decrees from their sponsoring agencies, are permitted to enter Canadian PGME programs into which they have been accepted.
  • The Cultural Bureau will continue to fund spouses and children of Saudi PGME trainees in Canada who wish to continue their studies in Canada.

At Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, there are a total of 99 Saudi learners:

  • 91 medical trainees, including 35 residents and 56 fellows
  • 5 graduate students pursing a master's degree or PhD
  • 3 BMSc students

There are no Saudi students in Undergraduate Medical Education (MD) or the Doctor of Dental Surgery Program (DDS).

Western International has set up a webpage where students can gain more information, academic and practical, about their required move. It also includes a checklist to help with the transition and contact information where students may direct questions.

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Learner Equity and Wellness Office is also offering one-to-one support to students affected: https://www.schulich.uwo.ca/learner-equity-wellness/

 This article has been updated from the original version on August 31, 2018