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Referee/reference providers

Click on an FAQ below to view the response.


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

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 referee/reference provider, you have the responsibility to:

  • Provide honest and accurate reference letters

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.

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

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 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.

Application period

How should I expect to receive requests for letters of reference from applicants?

Applicants can send their referees/reference providers a request for a letter of reference in a number of ways. Applicants can send a request by email through CaRMS Online or print and deliver a paper copy of the request.

What should my letter of reference include?

In order to ensure program directors receive the information they need to evaluate applicants, we recommend letters of reference include:

  • A confidentiality statement indicating that the applicant has not seen and will not receive a copy of the letter
  • The date the letter was written
  • The time and duration of your contact with the applicant
  • Assessment of the applicant’s:
    • Cognitive skills and knowledge
    • Problem–solving and patient management skills
    • Behaviour and attitudinal skills
    • Communication skills and working relationships
    • Motivation and punctuality
    • Sense of responsibility
    • Procedural skills specific to the discipline
    • Special qualities and unique contributions

If you are unable to comment on a specific component of an applicant’s performance in any of the above categories, you should indicate that you did not observe or do not have knowledge of that specific component in your letter.

When do I need to submit letters of reference to CaRMS?

The CaRMS applicant timetable provides a set of milestones for applicants to keep their application on track, including when letters of reference should arrive at CaRMS. In order to ensure that letters of reference are processed into an applicant’s application in time for file review, all letters of reference should be received by the CaRMS Document Centre before the letter of reference milestone. Applicants should ensure that referees/reference providers are aware of the document milestones. It is very important to applicants that their letters of reference arrive on time. As a referee/reference provider, it is your responsibility to send in letters of reference on time.