Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker and Immigration programs make it possible for international physicians to move to Ontario on a temporary or permanent basis. Each year, Ontario welcomes more immigrants than any other province in Canada and the Ontario government is committed to helping newcomers integrate quickly into the workforce and society.
If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, to work as a physician in Ontario you’ll need to have a temporary work permit. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario has immigration/work permit status requirements for registration (in addition to training and examination requirements).
A work permit is a document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that allows a foreign national (someone who is neither a Canadian citizen nor a permanent resident) to work in Canada for a temporary period.
To obtain a work permit, generally your prospective employer must apply to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada for a Labour Market Opinion. Once a positive Labour Market Opinion has been issued, you would typically apply for a work permit through a Canadian visa office outside Canada.
To be approved a work permit you must be in good health, have no criminal record and demonstrate that you will comply with requirements as a temporary resident. If you’re coming to provide patient care, you will also need to complete a medical examination.
Temporary foreign workers in Canada on work permits are allowed to apply for permanent residence provided they meet the eligibility requirements of one of the immigration categories (see below). Further information on work permits is available at the Citizenship and Immigration Canada web site.
Permanent resident status grants a foreign national the right to live, work or study anywhere in Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada sets immigration policy and processes applications for permanent residency.
There are a number of immigration categories that you may be eligible to apply under including Federal Skilled Worker Class, Provincial Nominee Class, Canada Experience Class or Family Class:
In addition to meeting selection criteria, all applicants must also meet medical and background admissibility requirements.
To maintain permanent residency, you must reside in Canada for at least 2 years in a 5-year period.
Further information about these categories and applying for permanent residence is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
After residing in Canada as a permanent resident for at least 3 years in a 4-year period, you may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. Further information is available on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.
The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration offers a Newcomer Settlement Program that supports many initiatives, including bridge training for health care positions for internationally trained individuals.
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration website provides an overview of life in Ontario, along with guides on the practical aspects of living, working, doing business and studying in the province. It includes information on planning for your move and tips on getting settled after you arrive. There are links to information to help you find employment and a place to live, enrol children in school, learn English and apply for health insurance.
Another useful resource for newcomers to Ontario is Settlement.org, a website with numerous articles and guides to help you get settled.
Please note: This information does not constitute advice or complete information on legal requirements. For all inquiries relating to the immigration requirements and processes in Canada, please consult with the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada or your local visa office.