Learners News: November 2023 

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Match timelines

The 2021-2024 R1 Match timelines have seen significant changes due to the need to accommodate change in curriculum delivery in medical schools during the peri- pandemic years. This resulted in compressed timelines that stressed the postgraduate offices and residency programs in all aspects of the match. In addition, the AFMC received feedback from FMRAC regarding the difficulties the “pandemic timeline” created for the licensing bodies. The AFMC also received communications from provincial and federal governments requesting better alignment with the NRMP match in the US in order to maximize the ability for Canadians training abroad to return to Canada. The undergraduate offices are requesting a return to the pre-pandemic practice of setting match timelines well ahead of time (instead of a year at a time) to facilitate setting curriculum and having it approved by the respective senates.

At the AFMC Board meeting October 24th, 2023, the AFMC Board approved the following timelines:

The 2025 match timeline will be:

  • MSPR /transcript submission (not requiring translation) deadline: Friday November 15th, 2024 
  • Application deadline: Friday November 29th, 2024 
  • File Review Period: Friday, November 29th, 2024- Tuesday January 14, 2025 
  • Interview Period: Saturday January 18, 2025- Sunday February 9, 2025 
  • Match Day First Iteration: Tuesday March 4, 2025 
  • Match Day Second Iteration: Thursday April 17, 2025 

The 2026 match timeline will be:

  • MSPR /transcript submission (not requiring translation) deadline: Friday November 14th, 2025 
  • Application deadline: Thursday November 27th, 2025 
  • File Review Period: Thursday November 27th, 2025- Tuesday January 13, 2026 
  • Interview Period: Saturday January 17, 2026- Sunday February 8, 2026 
  • Match Day First Iteration: Tuesday March 3, 2026 
  • Match Day Second Iteration: Tuesday April 21, 2026 

The 2027 match timeline will be:  

  • MSPR /transcript submission (not requiring translation) deadline: Friday November 13, 2026 
  • Application deadline: Thursday November 26th, 2026 
  • File Review Period: Thursday November 26th, 2026- Tuesday January 12, 2027 
  • Interview Period: Saturday January 16, 2027- Sunday February 7, 2027     
  • Match Day First Iteration: Tuesday March 2, 2027 
  • Match Day Second Iteration: Tuesday April 20, 2027 

Letters of Reference

At the AFMC Board meeting October 24th, 2023, the AFMC Board approved the recommendation from the AFMC Committee on Undergraduate Medical Education and Standing Committee on Education to continue the current approach to the use of letters of reference in the R1 Match.

As the medical schools across Canada continue to increase the number of electives that are available for students, there remain inequities in accessing visiting electives. Recognizing this fact, the AFMC Committee on UGME has requested that the SCE and the Board support the ongoing use of guidelines for reference letters that was developed during the pandemic.

Regarding the use of reference documents for future R-1 Matches:  

  1. Structured reference letters must be completed by referees for the following three disciplines: Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Orthopedic Surgery. Other disciplines may request either a traditional letter of reference or an applicant support form (created by individual programs). Reference requirements are found within program descriptions on carms.ca.   
  1. Reference documents from the institution to where the applicant is applying must not be a criterion for file review nor ultimately, for ranking.    
  1. There will be no requirement to obtain a discipline-specific reference document for the discipline to which the applicant is applying.   
  1. Each program may request a maximum of three (3) reference documents from an applicant. 

Additional information regarding the Letter of Support (Lettre d’appui)

  1.  The Letter of Support is used exclusively by the Quebec French Language Faculties of Medicine and is often requested in lieu of a letter of reference when applying to these Faculty’s residency programs.  
  1.  Given that the Letter of Support is a standardized form as it exists presently and enjoys support from all stakeholder groups from these Faculties, no change is suggested to the content or structure of the Letter of Support.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Interviews

Experience from the past few years and literature released support that there is currently no strong indication that one method of interviewing is better than the other. As such, each program should decide which to use based on their local needs and best practices; a national policy will not be imposed.

CaRMS Self-Identification Questionnaire (CSIQ) Survey Overview


Development of the CSIQ by CaRMS was driven by client and stakeholder requests to fill a gap in information within the selection process, namely through a diversity lens. As such, the CSIQ’s objectives are to collect diversity data and to support programs to include diversity consideration in their selection process. The AFMC received valuable feedback from learner organizations on the use of the CSIQ that highlighted various concerns about CSIQ’s application, echoing worries shared by the AFMC Standing Committee on Social Accountability. A focal apprehension pertains to potential misuse of CSIQ data. Recommendations proposed the integration of safeguards against misuse and the training of individuals managing the data for proper utilization. In August 2023, the AFMC Standing Committee on Social Accountability conducted a follow-up survey on the CSIQ with Post Graduate Deans, seeking clarity on their CSIQ-related procedures and training initiatives.

Results Overview 

From the feedback received, medical schools are still assessing the benefits of using the CSIQ and thus, have not adopted it. Those who have opted to employ the CSIQ have instilled measures to ensure that personnel within interested programs are properly trained. Medical schools using the CSIQ require programs to partake in bias and/or EDI training before its utilization. Furthermore, university staff and consultants in participating schools have EDI qualifications that inform the policy creation, implementation, and training for the CSIQ’s use. There were some resulting gaps revolving around the outcome of the CSIQ’s use which the AFMC Standing Committee on Social Accountability has provided recommendations for and will work alongside PG offices across medical schools to investigate. Ongoing engagement and consultations with learners have been vital in achieving best practice recommendations that Post Graduate offices are committed to reviewing and integrating. 

The AFMC, in collaboration with medical schools, is dedicated to refining the CSIQ’s application by sharing experiences, ensuring best practices, and fostering dialogues that incorporate the insights of students, faculty, and the broader community.