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Historically, the match has had more wiggle room in the first round and a greater likelihood that Canadian medical graduates would match with their top-ranked training program.In 2009, the ratio of Canadian medical graduates versus residency positions was 1:1.12.While bilingual students can rank positions in Anglophone Canada, English-speaking students can’t hope to place with a training position that requires French.This year’s match shows that while Quebec had 58 unfilled positions, it had only eight unmatched graduates, compared to 35 unmatched graduates from Ontario, 20 from Alberta and five from Atlantic Canada.“This represents 68 students who have spent on average eight to 10 years of undergraduate education to become physicians, incurring great debt, and utilizing taxpayer dollars to facilitate their education,” says Mel Lewis, a student affairs associate dean at the University of Alberta.“There’s a lot of anxiety,” says Franco Rizzuti, president of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students.Rizzuti says students apply to an average of 18 programs – nearly double the number of program applications compared to a decade ago.Ca RMS data show there were 128,334 applications to 644 programs, up nearly five percent over last year.
“The tighter the ratio, the more variables of the playing field, the more challenging it becomes to match.” “Understanding why Quebec graduates don’t want these positions is key,” Bourgeault says.“We under-utilize immigrants,” she says, noting that many of the IMGs who find success in the match process are willing to go where others won’t.Migration within the country is also playing a role, with students in Quebec opting for residencies in other parts of the country.The exact process varies by jurisdiction, with population needs beginning to drive the process in some provinces.
The overall number of residency positions available across Canada has remained largely unchanged since 2013, when it rose above 2,900. This year it was 2,967.) But the number of graduates participating in the match has outpaced growth in the quota.From a broader societal perspective, those who track health human resources nationally say there’s no reason to panic: 68 unmatched participants is a small fraction of the nearly 3,000 Canadian medical students who took part in this year’s match, and the 64 positions that remained unmatched typically end up filled.