Transfers from One Program to Another Interprovincial (Guidelines for)

Postgraduate Medical Education National Transfer Guidelines

Revised February 22, 2022


The Postgraduate Medical Education Offices across Canada are supportive of transfers from institution to institution. Before engaging in a discussion regarding a transfer, it is the responsibility of the Resident to review the national guidelines and their own home school’s transfer guideline/policy. These guidelines are intended to provide a transparent process that is clear to the residents and schools involved.


These guidelines apply to residents currently enrolled in a postgraduate training program in Canada (subject to the criteria of the receiving provincial licensing jurisdiction(s) and the receiving school). These guidelines apply to all transfers that take place outside of the second iteration of CaRMS.


The following are basic principles to which all PGME Offices adhere regarding resident transfers:

1.    Transfers should not subvert the CaRMS match, and consideration for a transfer will not be given until at least six months of training is complete and adequate exposure to the Resident’s home discipline, as determined by the appropriate PGME Dean the home

2.    Provincial  and University policies on transfers near the end of residency training (e.g., within the last six-months of training) may preclude a candidate from applying or being considered by a receiving School. The PGME Office will review each case to determine eligibility. (See Clause 12).

3.    Transfer discussions will remain confidential until the Resident consents to the disclosure of their intent to transfer.

4.    Provincial government funding is not transferable between institutions.

5.    Foreign Sponsored residents must provide the receiving PGME office with an email confirming that they have discussed the possibility of transfer with their sponsoring agency and the sponsoring agency supports the transfer request. They must indicate that they have received verbal confirmation or include the supporting letter/email confirmation before the receiving School will consider the transfer.

6.    Residents must meet the selection and admission criteria of the program to which they are seeking a transfer.

7.    Capacity, funding, and other constraints may limit the availability of program transfers; it is therefore not possible to accommodate all transfer requests.

8.    Each transfer is unique and will be considered on its merit.

9.    National transfers will be considered post-second iteration of CaRMS and after each school has completed its internal transfer process. Applications will be forwarded by the home PGME Office to the receiving PGME Office annually. PGME Managers or delegates must direct all inquiring learners to their home program for information about their internal process.

10.  The local Faculty of Medicine guideline/policy regarding internal timelines takes precedent over the national guidelines.

11.  Residents can access positions in the second iteration of CaRMS (if they meet requirements, see CaRMS website), except for Quebec and Foreign Sponsored Residents. It is the Resident’s responsibility to clear any return-of-service commitments with the provincial Ministry of Health. Quebec programs will not consider any Residents with return-of-service obligations to other jurisdictions.

12.  Where an exceptional circumstance has been identified at the Home School, the Postgraduate Dean may approve a request to consult with a Receiving School’s Postgraduate Dean, to determine if consideration outside of the normal timeline is possible. This does not guarantee that a transfer will occur.

13.   Foreign Sponsored Residents may be considered for a transfer outside of the normal timeline of the national transfer process.


Initial inquiry:

1.  A resident interested in pursuing a transfer to another Canadian university should contact the Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Office of their home school by following the home school’s application process.

    ●  The Resident must apply for a transfer with their home school no later than March 31 of each year.

    ●  The home PGME Office will forward/add all transfer candidates to the receiving PGME Office’s transfer document between March 31 and the second iteration of CaRMS. (Note: National Transfer template to be provided and all edits/additions agreed upon by all schools annually).

2.  The receiving PGME Office will review the requests and determine clinical training capacity and funding availability. Funding allocation decisions (i.e., determination of capacity to consider applications) will be made after the second iteration of CaRMS.

3.   The receiving PGME Office will inform the home PGME Office if the receiving program can or cannot receive a transfer application. If they can review the request, the receiving PGME Office will request the application package from the home PGME Office.

4.   As a part of the application process to the home school, the Resident must provide their consent (usually within the application) for their home PGME Office to release the following documents/information to the receiving PGME Office:

A transfer application package includes:

      ●    CV

      ●    A brief statement outlining the Resident’s request and reason for transfer

      ●    All in-training assessments/evaluations

      ●    Summary of  the Resident’s training record from the Home School (may include leaves from the program)

      ●    Summary from the PGME Office regarding remediation and outcomes. If ongoing investigations/appeals are in progress, the home PGME Office will notify the receiving school.

      ●     Other documents may also be requested to complete an application (e.g., MCCQE Statement of results, reference letters, etc.)

If transfer consideration is feasible:

1.  The home PGME Office will send the file to the receiving PGME Office.

2.  The receiving PGME Office will forward the file to the receiving program for consideration.

3.   The receiving program may request an interview by communicating directly with the Resident requesting the transfer.

4.   The receiving program may request additional supporting documents directly from the transfer applicant (e.g., reference letters, etc.).

5.       The receiving Program Director may request (with permission of the transfer applicant) a reference from the home Program Director at this stage of the transfer process. The reference may be considered as part of the transfer application. Direct contact with a home Program Director should not occur before this time.

If consideration is not possible:

If the receiving PGME Office or program determines they cannot accommodate a transfer request, they will notify the home PGME office, and it will be the home PGME Office’s responsibility to notify the transfer applicant.

If a transfer request is accepted:

1.  If the Resident is accepted into the receiving program, the receiving PGME Office, in consultation with the receiving program, will issue a conditional offer contingent on the release from their home school. A copy of the letter of offer will be provided to the home school (confidentiality will not be possible after this point).

     ·   Of note, training level may be impacted by the transfer. The anticipated training level will be detailed in the letter of offer.

2.  Should the Resident decide to accept, the Resident must inform their home Program Director and request a release letter from their home Program. A national transfer will typically occur on July 1 of that year.

     ·   If the normal date of July 1 cannot be accommodated, the home program should discuss a mutually acceptable departure date with the home PGME Office.

3.   It is the Resident’s responsibility to forward the release letter to the home PGME Office and the receiving PGME Office to avoid delays in the admission process.

4.   Every effort will be made to complete the transfer for a July 1 start date; however, program and medical regulatory licensing timing may delay the start date.

End of Annual Transfer Process

The annual transfer process will normally end on September 30th of each year. Transfers that were in progress may still occur if a delay was due to a request for an elective or was pending another transfer to create capacity.

Links to the school policy/guideline re transfers:

*Click on the name of each school to view the appropriate policies and procedures

University of British Columbia

University of Calgary

University of Alberta

University of Saskatchewan

University of Manitoba

Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Western University

University of Ottawa

Queen’s University

McMaster University

University of Toronto

McGill University

Université de Montréal

Université de Sherbrooke

Université Laval

Memorial University