Has the residency selection process always been the same?
Up until just over 10 years ago, all residency positions in Canada were open to competition by all qualified Canadians. After the universities of Canada gained full control over residency selection and training in 1993, province by province, they created a system of competition for residency positions that basically guaranteed their graduates medical jobs, at the expense of other qualified Canadians. To secure training jobs for their graduates, the universities changed the rules and got rid of the competition. Canadians who chose to study at international schools and immigrant physicians (IMGs) are no longer allowed to compete against CMGs, until after CMGs have their choice of residency positions. The Canadian universities created a separate stream of competition for IMGs. This is a stream with very few positions and little opportunity. To make things even more uneven, all IMGs who want to compete in the IMG stream must sign a contract, which provides that the IMG has to work where the Ministry of Health tells him to work, after he completes his residency training. If the IMG dares to breach the contract, he has to pay $108,000 for each year of residency which sum is more than the education component and the resident’s salary and benefits for work performed combined. The new rules, developed by the universities puts no obligations on CMGs who are subsidized by the taxpayer. The last university to change its rules from a merit based system to this new protectionist system was the University of Manitoba. It changed to these new rules after 2012 when a significant number of their own graduates lost the competition for jobs to IMGs.