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FAQ - International

Who is an international trainee?

An international trainee is a medical graduate who does not have Canadian permanent residency status or Canadian citizenship. An international trainee will require a work permit for the duration of residency or fellowship training.

Am I eligible for a Clinical Fellowship?

Clinical Fellows are postgraduate trainees who have completed residency training and obtained specialty or subspecialty certification. You are not eligible for a clinical fellowship unless you will complete residency and hold specialty certification before the fellowship appointment date. Clinical Fellows require a certificate of registration from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario. You must meet the requirements to obtain licensure from the CPSO in order to be able to hold a clinical fellow position.

Am I eligible for a Research Fellowship?

Because Research Fellows have no patient contact, licensure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is not required. However, you must have a medical degree to be eligible.

How do I apply for a Clinical or a Research Fellowship?

If you are a citizen of a country with which the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry has a postgraduate training agreement:

The PGME office must receive your application directly from the appropriate sponsoring agency in your country. Contact information for sponsoring agencies can be requested from our office. Please contact your sponsor to determine if a valid contract is in place.

Your application package must be received directly from the sponsoring agency and include the following items:

Complete application packages are forwarded to the appropriate Program Director at Western University for review and acceptable candidates are offered an interview.

If you are a citizen of a country that does not have a postgraduate training agreement with the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry:

You apply directly to the postgraduate fellowship program that is of interest to you. Your funding arrangements will be subject to the approval of the Fellowship Program Director; there is no guaranteed funding for clinical fellowship positions.

Your application package must include the following items:

Do I need to take the TOEFL and TSE?

As of January 1, 2003, the TOEFL/TSE are no longer requirements of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. However, some departments may require one or both tests as part of their application criteria so please check with the department to which you are applying for specific language requirements.   

What happens after I accept a fellowship appointment?

The program must notify the PGME office of your appointment. You are then emailed a Letter of Appointment (LOA) and welcome instructions. You sign and return the LOA, which is then sent to the CPSO along with a request for a Letter of Eligibility which is a necessary document in your work permit application. You may apply to the CPSO immediately upon accepting a postgraduate training position, but do not submit a work permit or visa application until you receive documentation from the PGME office. Do not submit your work permit application using only your signed LOA, and do not request any documentation from the hospital or your training program.

How long does this process take?

The length of the process depends on how quickly your work permit and visa application are processed at your local Visa Application Centre, and how quickly you submit a complete application to the CPSO. Please allow a 4-6 month window to complete this process.

What is a PEAP and why do I need one?

The PEAP is an assessment period that evaluates candidates trained outside of Canada to determine whether they can function at the appointed level of training. It is a minimum of 4 to 12 weeks in duration. Assessment takes place in a supervised clinical, multidisciplinary environment where there is patient contact on an ongoing basis. Assessors are to ensure that candidates are: mentally competent to practice medicine; able to practice with decency, integrity and honesty and in accordance with the law; have sufficient knowledge, skill and judgment to engage in postgraduate medical training as authorized by the educational license; can communicate effectively and display an appropriate professional attitude. The PEAP will be conducted by your supervisor or Program Director when you start your appointment, it does not occur in isolation from your regular training.

What is the CPSO and how do I apply?

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is the medical licensing authority for the province of Ontario. The CPSO issues certificates of registration to doctors to allow them to practice medicine, monitors and maintains standards of practice. A Postgraduate Education certificate is renewed annually and held during postgraduate medical training at an Ontario medical school. There are terms, conditions and limitations to the certificate. For more information please visit the CPSO website and download the membership application form.

Please note that Research Fellows have no clinical activity or patient contact and do not hold a license with the CPSO.

What is the CMPA and how do I apply?

All trainees who whose work involves patient contact must obtain Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) membership for the duration of their registration at Western University. The CMPA is a non-profit medical mutual defense organization that protects the professional integrity of doctors by providing services including legal defense, indemnification, risk management, educational programs and general advice. Detailed information, including a downloadable form, is available through the CMPA website at Membership cannot begin until the CPSO has issued your Certificate of Registration, but it is still possible to apply ahead of time and thereby accelerate the processing of your membership.

How do I obtain housing?

Clinical Fellows, Residents, and Research Fellows are registered with Western University therefore Western Housing Services are available. Information regarding housing on campus can be viewed at Residence at Western. Please note that housing is not guaranteed. However, there are other options available for finding housing in London and the following website will provide you with information: Middlsex County or the London Economic Development Corporation.