Medical professionals are in high demand globally - including the Great White North. Due to the country's major skills shortages, there are abundant vacancies in the country's health sector. If you're a doctor looking for opportunities, the door is wide open for you to immigrate to Canada.
The medical profession is one of Canada's most respected and highly esteemed professions. Doctors are responsible for the health and well-being of the people, but how much do they make? Salaries are often a topic of discussion, but there is a lot of misinformation and lack of clarity surrounding doctor salaries in Canada.
The following provides some helpful information about the things you need to know about immigrating to Canada as a Doctor.
How to Immigrate to Canada as a Doctor
Applying for a job and your visa can be overwhelming. We've, therefore, highlighted five simple steps that are essential when starting the application process.
Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
Before you apply for any immigration or work permit in Canada, you first have to check whether you are eligible. Doing this first will save you time and possible disappointment, should you not qualify.
Every Canadian immigration program has its application criteria, so take the time to do one of CanadianVisa.org's eligibility assessments before you do anything else. Eligibility criteria are mainly based on factors like your:
- Language ability
- Family members
- Work experience ,etc.
Step 2: Choose Your Destination
Deciding where you would like to live and work in Canada may help narrow down your visa or immigration program choices. You may also find that although there may be job opportunities in a particular province or territory, the cost of living may be too high, or the lifestyle may not meet your preferences or needs.
So before you start applying for a job as a doctor in Canada, research your province of choice and ensure that it is the right fit for you and your family.
Which Canadian Province Has the Most Vacancies for Medical Professionals?
Doctors will always be in demand as long as there are people to treat. Here are Job Bank’s projections for job prospects for medical professionals over the next three years:
- British Columbia: Very good
- Manitoba: Very good
- New Brunswick: Very good
- Newfoundland and Labrador: Very good
- Nova Scotia: Very good
- Ontario: Very good
- Prince Edward Island: Very good
- Quebec: Very good
- Saskatchewan: Very good
- Yukon: Good
- Alberta: Good
- Northwest Territories: No data available
- Nunavut: No data available
Nova Scotia currently has the highest demand for doctors in Canada. The province's Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) has targeted the Physicians Stream and Labour Market Priorities for Physicians Stream.
This allows family and specialist physicians to have access to a higher chance of obtaining a provincial nomination from the province. This adds a measure of guarantee of gaining permanent residence in Canada.
Step 3: Take Care of the Paperwork
To live and work in Canada as a doctor, you must do a little more paperwork than in other professions. If you have a foreign qualification, you must first check whether your stuff is recognized in Canada. You can check this on the World Directory of Medical Schools.
You may need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if it is recognized. An ECA verifies that your degree, diploma, or certificate is valid and equal to Canadian standards. Below is a list of designated organizations that are permitted to do your assessment:
- Comparative Education Service - University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies;
- International Credential Assessment Service of Canada;
- World Education Services
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS); and
- International Credential Evaluation Service
You will also need to take two tests via the Medical Council of Canada known as the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examinations (MCCQEs) - Part I and Part II. Part I assesses your medical knowledge and clinical decision-making ability.
At the same time, Part II tests your ability to apply that knowledge and show your clinical skills, as well as your professional mannerisms. You must pass Part I before you can take Part II.
Once you have completed both tests and show that you have at least 12 months of postgraduate clinical medical training, you will receive a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC), which is required to apply for a medical license to practice in Canada. You will receive a Certificate of Registration with your LMCC and a certificate to display in your new medical offices in Canada.
Once you arrive in Canada, you must complete further medical training under the relative medical regulatory authority in your chosen province or territory. It is important to confirm this with the medical authority in your chosen province or territory to know exactly what will be expected of you when you move to Canada. Below is a list of medical authorities in each province and territory.
|Medical Regulatory Authorities in Canada|
|Province/Territory||Medical Regulatory Authority|
|Alberta||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta|
|British Columbia||College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia|
|Manitoba||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba|
|New Brunswick||College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland & Labrador|
|Northwest Territory||Government of the Northwest Territories|
|Nova Scotia||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia|
|Nunavut||Nunavut Department of Health and Social Services Medical Registration Committee|
|Ontario||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario|
|Prince Edward Island||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island|
|Québec||Collège des médecins du Québec|
|Saskatchewan||College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan|
|Yukon||Yukon Medical Council|
Step 4: Apply for a Job in Canada
It’s a good idea to find employment before you immigrate to Canada. This will improve your chance of getting permanent residency.
It will also give you peace of mind, knowing that when you arrive, you won't have to carry the added stress of finding a job and all of your other arrangements. Here’s how to apply for jobs in Canada to get started.
Step 5: Apply for a Work Permit (If Needed)
Show that the IRCC is committed to prioritizing temporary resident work permit applications for healthcare workers, including doctors. Suppose you are offered a temporary or permanent position in this sector.
In that case, you must obtain a Canadian work permit to live and work in Canada for the duration of your contract. Working in Canada can also make you eligible for permanent residency through programs like the Canadian Experience Class or Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident (TR to PR) pathways. Here’s how to get a work permit.
Step 6: Choose Your Canadian Immigration Program
There are various ways to make Canada your new home. However, here are the two most popular ways to immigrate to Canada as a doctor
- Express Entry System
- Provincial Nominee Program
IRCC reports that more than 22,400 people, including just over 3,600 doctors and 8,600 nurses, obtained Canadian permanent residency via the Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programs.
As a doctor, you can quickly become a permanent resident of Canad via the Express Entry System, using the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). IRCC enters all EE applications into bimonthly Express Entry draws and ranked against other applicants according to the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). You will receive a CRS score when you apply and will be ranked based on the score you receive. If you want to determine where you rank on the system, here is our CRS calculator.
In recognition of Canada's significant demand for doctors, IRCC has implemented changes exempting doctors already working in the country as temporary residents from a few of the permanent residency requirements via Express Entry programs. Doctors with temporary residency status, who are already practicing in Canada, often don't qualify for the Express Entry System as they are often considered self-employed.
If you are self-employed in Canada, you will not qualify for most economic immigration pathways, like those within Express Entry. The only exception to this rule is the Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP). The Self-employed program is almost exclusively for athletes and creatives/artists. However, you could qualify for the Express Entry program if you have at least one year's work experience in another country or Canada.
Provincial Nominee Program
The Provincial Nominee Program allows you to live and work in one of 11 participating Canadian provinces if your Canadian job offer meets the province or territory’s labor demands. Also, if the provincial government you’re applying to feels you can contribute significantly to the economy of that province then they may issue you with a provincial nomination. Each province/territory has its PNP with specific streams for different types of applicants. You can apply via the Express Entry system or directly to the province.
Almost every PNP has a stream linked to the Express Entry system, which will speed up your application process from approximately 18 months if you apply directly to the province to six months when you apply through Express Entry. Below is a list of PNP streams or categories, in each province or territory, for medical professionals who want to immigrate to Canada.
|Canadian Immigration for Doctors|
|Alberta||Alberta Opportunity Stream|
|British Columbia||Healthcare Professional CategoryExpress Entry Skilled Worker Category|
|Manitoba||Skilled Workers Overseas Stream|
|New Brunswick||Express Entry Skilled Worker Stream|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||Skilled Worker Stream|
|Northwest Territories||Skilled Worker Stream|
|Nova Scotia||Physicians Stream|
Labour Market Priorities for Physicians Stream
|Ontario||Express Entry Human Capital Priorities Stream|
Express Entry French-speaking Skilled Worker Stream
|Prince Edward Island||Express Entry Stream|
|Saskatchewan||International Skilled Worker Category|
|Yukon||Skilled Worker Stream|
Immigration pilots are designed to address the labor needs of specific areas and communities in Canada. Pilot programs target unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled foreigners. Pilots create a path to permanent residence for immigrants seeking to live and work in Canada permanently.
If you’re interested in fulfilling the skilled worker job posts in small, rural Canadian communities, we recommend you apply for one of these immigration pilots:
- Agri-Food Immigration Pilot
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilots
- Homecare Provider Pilots
What Working As a Doctor in Canada is Like
Canada is one of the most accommodating countries for doctors. Its subsidized education and healthcare system recognizes the importance of doctors' essential services. Therefore both institutions endeavor to ensure that they have all the necessary education and training to perform their jobs where benefits and incentives are included.
The salaries for doctors in Canada vary depending on their specialty, experience, and location. Generally, doctors specializing in surgery, cardiology, and radiology earn more than those in primary care fields such as family medicine. Additionally, doctors working in urban areas tend to earn more than those in rural areas due to the higher demand for their services among the larger population .
According to IndeedCanada, The average base salary of a physician in Canada as of the 13th of May ranges from 271,950 CAD depending on experience and location. As per information from IndeedCanada, the following provides a list of the top jobs for medical professionals/doctors in Canada in 2023 with their salaries enumerated in Canadian dollars.
|Top 25 jobs for Medical Professionals/Doctors in Canada||Salary (CAD)|
In addition to high salaries, doctors in Canada enjoy several benefits and perks. Most doctors receive comprehensive health insurance, pension plans, and other benefits such as paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, and disability insurance. Doctors who work in academic institutions also receive additional benefits such as research opportunities, travel grants, and tuition waivers for their children.
Another significant benefit of being a doctor in Canada is job security. The demand for doctors in Canada is high, and the job market is stable. Doctors can also work in various settings, including private practice, hospitals, clinics, and academic institutions.
The working conditions for doctors in Canada are generally good. Most doctors work in well-equipped and modern facilities and have access to the latest medical technologies and equipment. However, doctors often work long hours, which can be emotionally and physically demanding.
Doctors in Canada also face challenges such as bureaucracy, paperwork, and regulations. The administrative workload can be overwhelming and take away from patient care. However, efforts are underway to reduce the administrative burden on doctors and to improve their working conditions.
Achieving a work-life balance is essential for every professional, including doctors. However, it can be challenging for doctors to balance their work and personal life. Doctors often work long hours, including weekends and holidays, and are always on call.
Efforts are underway to improve work-life balance for doctors in Canada. For instance, some hospitals are introducing flexible scheduling, job sharing, and telemedicine to allow doctors to work from home. These measures help to reduce the stress and workload for doctors.
Job satisfaction is an essential aspect of any profession, including medicine. One of the main reasons for high job satisfaction among doctors in Canada is the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives. Doctors have the chance to save lives, treat illnesses, and improve the quality of life for their patients.
This sense of purpose and fulfillment is a significant contributor to job satisfaction. Canada’s subsidized healthcare system also allows medical professionals to access and help the members of society who need their services the most: low-income earners/working-class people.
Medicine is a constantly evolving field, and doctors in Canada have numerous growth opportunities. Doctors can choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, pursue research opportunities, or teach at academic institutions. Doctors can also participate in Continuing Medical Education (CME) to stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements and technologies.
Begin Your Life as a Doctor in Canada Today!
Applying for a visa can be time-consuming and confusing. With strict deadlines, procedures, and requirements to adhere to, it can be easy to make a mistake that could cost you your chance to immigrate to Canada. But with the guidance and assistance of one of our knowledgeable Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs), the process will be stress-free.
What is The Fastest Way to Immigrate to Canada as a Doctor?
Express Entry is the fastest immigration program you can use to move to Canada. Should you complete and submit your application within the allotted time, application processing can be as short as six months.
What is The Most Accessible Immigration Program to Canada For Doctors?
The Express Entry system is the most popular immigration program used to apply to move to Canada. This is largely based on how readily accessible and user-friendly it is. This accessibility is the same across professions, including doctors.
Which City/Town in Canada is The Easiest to Immigrate to for Doctors?
Toronto, Canada is the most sought-after city to immigrate to in Canada. This is largely because, as the country’s most populated and economically dynamic city, it has the most opportunities for newcomers.