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Program directors and administrators

Click on an FAQ below to view the response.

General

What is CaRMS?

The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) is a not-for-profit, fee-for-service organization that works in close cooperation with the medical education community, medical schools and residents/students to provide an electronic application service and match for entry into postgraduate medical training throughout Canada. CaRMS also provides a secure online application portal for admission to the undergraduate medical program at Memorial University of Newfoundland and provides detailed analyses of application patterns and overall success for each service we administer.

Using the Match Algorithm, CaRMS matches over 3,500 applicants each year to postgraduate medical training programs in Canada through four residency matches:

Click on the match names above for specific information on the processes, requirements and timelines for each match.

We are committed to working with you to help make the application and matching processes as simple and straightforward as possible, through our convenient online services and knowledgeable staff.

Which browser should I use to have the best CaRMS Online experience?

We recommend you use a supported browser for the best CaRMS Online experience. We test all system functionality in our supported browsers and fix any issues we find. While we will not block users from using unsupported browsers, we may not be able to fix problems users encounter when accessing CaRMS Online on an unsupported browser.

CaRMS supports the following browsers:

Applicant users Program, file review, undergraduate and referee users
Chrome Chrome
Firefox Firefox
Safari Safari
Internet Explorer 11 Internet Explorer 9, 10, 11

For more information on our browser support model, visit CaRMS.ca/en/browser-support/.

What policies govern the use of CaRMS services?

Several policies govern the use of CaRMS services. For more information, please visit our policies section.

What is CaRMS’ relationship with universities and programs?

CaRMS has strong relationships with the student affairs, undergraduate and postgraduate offices at each Canadian medical school. These relationships are essential for successful matches.

CaRMS receives applicant data from undergraduate offices, including the names of eligible applicants and their graduation dates, as well as supporting documents such as MSPRs and transcripts. The undergraduate office is provided with an online portal to facilitate the sharing of this information, as well as numerous CaRMS-generated reports designed to help the undergraduate office assist applicants throughout the match year.

The relationship between CaRMS and postgraduate offices is no less important. CaRMS receives information on the programs participating in the match, including how much quota is available for each participating program.

What are my responsibilities in the CaRMS process?

As a program director user, you have the responsibility to:

  • Carefully review and follow all CaRMS agreements and policies
  • Define specific eligibility criteria for your residency program(s)
  • Provide all required information related to your program description(s) and selection criteria to CaRMS in a timely manner
  • Recruit or rank the most suitable applicants based on your selection criteria
  • Ensure procedures are in place to destroy, delete, erase or convert applicant information into an anonymous form

 

What are the applicant’s rights in the CaRMS process?

The applicant’s rights are defined by applicable human rights legislation that is intended to ensure all individuals have equal employment opportunities without regard to: race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, family or marital status, sex, a pardoned conviction, disability or sexual orientation.

Human rights legislation is not intended to prevent you from choosing candidates based on skills that are required for the position. A particular skill or qualification can be specified if the preference is based on a bona fide occupational requirement. Occupational requirements should focus on a person’s actual ability – not assumptions based on a group characteristic. We encourage you to obtain additional information on determining bona fide occupational requirements from the human rights office within your institution or from the human rights commission in your province/territory.

What security measures are in place to protect data in CaRMS’ system?

CaRMS places the highest value on ensuring the confidentiality and security of sensitive data and personal information.

Information housed in our system is secure as long as it remains in the system and in order to preserve this security, we have taken care to ensure you can perform all necessary functions directly within the system. However, every time information is printed or removed from the system via a USB drive or other means, it becomes vulnerable to loss or exploitation. We encourage you to contribute to ensuring the security of sensitive data and applicants’ personal information by encouraging your file review committee members to work within the system and avoid printing or transfer of information whenever possible.

What are my responsibilities regarding the security of applicants’ information?

You should treat information about applicants as confidential at all times. Confidential information includes the names of applicants, applicant information and program ranking information. Personal information of applicants disclosed to you by CaRMS should only be used for the purpose of selecting candidates. Applicant information provided to you by CaRMS should be kept only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. You must have procedures in place to destroy, delete, erase or convert applicants’ personal information into an anonymous form after the completion of the match process.

What are my responsibilities regarding the security of information?

You must have appropriate security measures to protect any information provided by CaRMS. This means you must have technical, physical and procedural controls to protect information against destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure to third parties or unauthorized access by employees or contractors employed by the institution, whether by accident or otherwise. For example, the risk of unauthorized disclosure or access increases greatly as soon as information is removed from the CaRMS system. We encourage you to review documents inline and avoid printing or transferring information whenever possible.

As a user of CaRMS services, we recommend that you carefully review the institution contract and CaRMS policies to familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities with regards to CaRMS’ security measures. If you have any questions or concerns about your responsibilities in the security of information, please contact compliance@carms.ca.

A note on printing

While it is possible to print applicant lists and other information from our online system, we do not encourage it. In fact, the system has been built in such a way that printing is not necessary – all functions can be performed directly within the system.

There are obvious environmental benefits to keeping records electronic; but even more importantly, keeping records in the system maintains the maximum level of security. Every time a record is printed or removed from the system via a USB drive or other means, the security of this valuable information is compromised. Despite best intentions, a printed sheet or USB drive could be easily left somewhere it would be vulnerable to exploitation.

By encouraging your file review committee members to work within the system and avoid printing or transfer of information whenever possible, you can contribute to keeping sensitive data and applicants’ personal information confidential.

Application period

How are faculty of medicine match fees calculated?

Canadian applicants and Canadian faculties of medicine equally share the costs associated with participating in any CaRMS matches. For a sample breakdown of faculty of medicine match fees, visit our match fee calculation page.

What information does an application include?

A typical postgraduate residency application includes:

Personal information 

Personal information includes information such as: date of birth, gender and citizenship.

Language skills 

Language proficiency in English, French and/or any other language. Applicants should only include languages that they can read, write and speak fluently.

Licensure 

Information about medical licensure.

Achievements and interests 

Academic achievements (e.g., honours and awards, leadership/administrative positions in medicine, memberships associations and committees, other accomplishments) and areas of interest.

Undergraduate education and CÉGEP 

Undergraduate education (completed or not). Undergraduate education is any schooling an applicant received after completing high school and before beginning medical school (e.g., Bachelor’s degree, CÉGEP, pre-med).

Graduate education

Graduate education (completed or not). Graduate education is any schooling an applicant received after completing their undergraduate education (e.g., Master’s degree, Doctorate).

Medical education

Where an applicant earned, or will earn, their medical degree.

Clinical electives

Any electives that an applicant has, or will have, completed during their undergraduate medical education. An elective is defined as any rotation done during medical education training that was not mandatory.

Residency training 

Accredited postgraduate medical residency training that an applicant has participated in after obtaining their medical degree.

Residency electives

Electives an applicant has, or will have, completed during their residency training.

Professional training 

Any training an applicant has completed that is not directly linked to their medical education.

Work experience

Any work experience that is not considered clinical practice but that the applicant considers important. This also includes work that was done prior to obtaining a medical degree. Applicants are encouraged to record work experience that is not necessarily linked to the medical field.

Volunteer experience

Volunteer experience or relevant unpaid work for which the applicant did not receive school credit. Volunteer experience does not have to be linked to the medical field. Applicants may record volunteer experience that took place prior to obtaining their medical degree.

Scholarly activities and research 

Participation in research, as well as organized clinical discussions, rounds, journal clubs and conferences.

Publications/presentations

Applicants wanting to send publications are asked to send only the abstract. Publications should be confined to peer-reviewed journals.

Observerships

Any observerships an applicant has completed. An observership is a period of time spent observing clinical practice, usually with no patient contact. It is also sometimes referred to as a shadowing opportunity. Normally an observership lasts between one week and one month. It does not involve a service commitment or a salary and is non-accredited.

Fellowships 

Any fellowships an applicant has completed. Fellowships are non-accredited programs that are considered additional specialized training experience involving patient contact.

Clinical practice

Clinical practice experience. This may include paid or unpaid work. For the purposes of the CaRMS application, clinical practice is defined as actively practising medicine with an independent license without supervision.

Examinations (language assessments, MCC exams, USMLEs, assessments) 

Examinations that an applicant has taken, or is scheduled to take. All examination documents submitted to programs must be current. Some examinations expire after a number of years. It is up to the applicant to ensure that their examination results are currently valid.

How does CaRMS collect documents?

CaRMS Online is customized to collect applicant-specific data and supporting documents. We collect and organize applicant documents for programs so that they can quickly and easily find what they need to assess an application.

CaRMS receives and manages a wide variety of documents, the majority of which are received electronically through CaRMS Online. If a document is in a language other than English or French, applicants must provide an official translation of the document.

For more information on the documents that make up a residency application, visit our documents section.

File review

Can applicants send in and assign documents after file review opens?

Yes, applicants are able to assign documents after file review opens. However, it is up to each program to decide if it will consider documents that arrive after file review begins and this information should be included in the program description. If it is your policy to accept late documents, it is the responsibility of the program administrator to inform file reviewers about documents that have arrived and to ensure they are considered.

What should I be aware of when considering applications from international medical graduates (IMGs)?

While most applications from Canadian and US medical graduates have a similar look and feel, applications from international medical graduates can vary greatly in appearance. For example, not all international medical schools provide students with a dean’s letter. If this is the case, we have asked international applicants to include in their personal letter why a MSPR/dean’s letter is not available.

It is also important to note that some documents that are sent directly to CaRMS from the source for Canadian medical graduates (CMGs) are provided by the applicant in the case of IMGs. For example, IMG reference letters are sent directly from the referee to CaRMS whenever possible, but applicants are also able to submit notarized copies themselves.

Interviews

How does the interview process work?

Individual programs make all the decisions about who and when they interview. Program office personnel arrange interviews directly with applicants and it is entirely up to programs to decide who they want to invite for an interview. Invitations to interviews are not tracked or recorded in any way by CaRMS. Interview invitations will most likely be sent by email, so applicants should make sure their inbox is set-up to receive bulk messages.

CaRMS works closely with programs to collect, verify and post interview dates in our centralized interview calendar. All interview dates posted in the match interview calendar have been verified directly with the programs and we make every effort to provide the most up to date information. CaRMS, in conjunction with the Undergraduate/Postgraduate Medical Education (UGME/PGME) standing committees of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), has developed guidelines to assist you in conducting applicant interviews. These guidelines are based upon the terms of the CaRMS contracts, CaRMS privacy policy, as well as applicable privacy and human rights legislation.

Ranking

How does ranking work?

After all applications have been reviewed and evaluated, you must determine the order of preference for applicants to each program by first determining who you are going to rank and then ranking them from most preferred to least preferred. Your program is not obligated to rank applicants who you are not willing to train. Applicants also rank their desired programs in order of preference. These lists are called rank order lists (ROLs) and they are the only true determinants of a match outcome.

CaRMS’ online system makes the ranking process simple for you. Your rank order list page – and the features on it – is a work area to rank, remove ranks and re-order your desired applicants. All features allow you to work on your list development up until you are satisfied with your rankings.

For more information, including ranking tips, visit our ranking page.

Couples ranking

CaRMS’ ranking tool allows two applicants (partners) to prepare and submit their rank order lists as a couple. Using this option, each program desired by one partner can be paired with a program desired by the other partner and each of these pairings can be ranked separately. An option is provided for the couple to create and rank pairs of choices in which only one partner may be matched, with the other partner left unmatched. CaRMS does not identify couples to programs. It is entirely the decision of each applicant if they choose to inform you of their status as a couple in the match.

For more information, please visit our ranking page.

Ranking multiple streams 

A program may have multiple streams of application. A stream may reference a different training location or indicate multiple entry points based on specific eligibility requirements. Applicants must apply to each stream separately if they wish to be considered at each site. As such, when ranking applicants where there are multiple streams, you must submit a separate rank order list for each stream. If an applicant has applied to multiple streams, you can rank them in multiple streams. Ranking an applicant on one list does not automatically rank them in all streams and you cannot rank an applicant in a stream for which the applicant has not applied.

Match results

How does the matching process work?

Our Match Algorithm works to match applicants with their best possible outcome where they have been ranked by the program.

Rank order lists (ROLs) are the sole determinants of match outcomes. CaRMS’ matching algorithm compares ROLs submitted by applicants and programs, matching applicants to programs based on both parties’ stated preferences.

The algorithm is applicant-proposing. This means it tries to match the applicant to his or her first choice. If the applicant cannot be matched to their first choice program, the algorithm attempts to place the applicant into the second choice program, and so on, until the applicant obtains a match, or all of the applicant’s choices have been exhausted.

Each applicant’s ROL is traversed downwards from most preferred program to least preferred, until the first program to which the applicant can be matched is reached, or until the applicant’s list of choices is exhausted. Each program accepts applicants upwards on its ROL, continually removing less preferred matches in favour of more preferred applicants, until the program is matched to the most preferred applicants who wish to be matched to the program.

What do I do if I have a concern about my program’s rank order list or match results?

If you have a concern about your ROL or match results, contact CaRMS immediately, before taking any action on your own. We will work with you to determine the appropriate course of action.

Our system is set up to minimize the risk of error and optimize the preparation of your ROL. For example, you do not need to export to create your ROL – it can be created within the system. Most errors occur when a list is exported or imported.

Once a rank order list is submitted it is considered final. We strongly encourage you to review your selections very carefully prior to submitting.