Contract for programs

Updated July 2014

This document represents excerpts from the institution contract that binds the participating residency programs and CaRMS.

A. Background

Residency positions may be offered to students graduating from Canadian, U.S. and international medical schools as well as physician graduates of Canadian, U.S. and international medical schools (applicants) who are registered with the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) and meet the eligibility requirements established by the provincial medical regulatory authorities.

CaRMS is an application and matching program (matching program) that provides a system for the review and confidential ranking of applicants to one or more postgraduate medical residency programs (participating residency programs) operated by a Canadian medical school (institution). The following matches are included in the matching program:

  1. R-1 Main Residency Match (R-1 match)
  2. Family Medicine/Emergency Medicine Match (FM/EM match)
  3. Medicine Subspecialty Match (MSM)
  4. Pediatric Subspecialty Match (PSM)

This contract represents the rights and obligations of the participating residency programs and CaRMS with respect to the matching program.

B. Rights and obligations of institutions with respect to residency programs

1. Program descriptions and communications

Accurate and timely information communicated between participating residency programs and applicants is an essential component to the residency application and matching process.

The participating residency programs shall:

  1. Clearly state all of the document and eligibility requirements in their program descriptions on;
  2. Submit the program descriptions for review to the postgraduate dean’s office of the institution;
  3. Maintain the accuracy of the program descriptions and provide updates to the program descriptions as required;
  4. If a program has been put on a status of notification to withdraw accreditation by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada that information must be included in the program description on the CaRMS website.

2. Application procedures

Participating residency programs shall solicit and accept all applications, documents and other materials exclusively through the CaRMS electronic application process.

3. Schedules and deadlines

Participating residency programs shall follow scheduling requirements and provide all required information and schedule mandatory out-of-town interviews in accordance with the faculty timetable established by CaRMS.

4. Rank order lists

Participating residency programs shall restrict their rank order lists (ROLs) to only those applicants who are registered and have applied through CaRMS.

The postgraduate dean’s office shall verify the ROLs of participating residency programs prior to the deadline date established by CaRMS in the faculty timetable.

5. Rank order list submission

To participate in the matching program, participating residency programs shall (a) register with and (b) submit ROLs through CaRMS’ online system (match site).

ROLs may only be submitted through the match site.

Participating residency programs agree to follow access procedures established by CaRMS with respect to the match site, in accordance with CaRMS’ terms of use. For greater certainty, a ROL may be entered in more than one session and may be modified prior to the ROL submission deadline. Residency programs are encouraged to complete this process well in advance of the ROL submission deadline and prior to the peak utilization period when the match site may be less accessible.

6. Appointments

Participating residency programs shall:

  1. Not make, offer, or require any residency appointments, commitments or contracts with applicants outside of the matching process, for non-directed training positions, prior to the match date established by CaRMS or the completion of all match cycles;
  2. Offer appointments to all applicants matched with the institution by the CaRMS matching process, the matched applicants being the highest ranked applicants on this participating residency program’s confidential ROL who wished to train at this participating residency program more than at any other participating residency program available to them; and
  3. Offer appointments to matched applicants or provide matched applicants with a letter of intent for appointment not more than 30 days after the receipt of the notification of the matching results.

The listing of an applicant by a participating residency program on its verified ROL or of a participating residency program by an applicant on the applicant’s submitted ROL establishes a binding commitment to offer or to accept an appointment if a match results. Each such appointment is subject to the official policies of the appointing institution in effect on the date the participating residency program submits its ROL, and is contingent upon the matching applicant meeting all eligibility requirements imposed by those policies. Failure to honor this commitment by a participating residency program or applicant shall be a breach of this contract, and may result in penalties to the breaching participating residency program or applicant, as described in section 20.

The participating residency program and institution, in their discretion, may release applicants from their binding commitment if they deem it would cause the applicant serious hardship. If applicable, CaRMS must receive a letter of support from the applicant’s undergraduate medical school or current program director, acknowledging and outlining the hardship. The participating residency program and institution should inform CaRMS of their decision to release or not release the applicant from their binding commitment.

7. Match iteration

In matches where there is more than one iteration, all participating residency programs registered with the matching program that do not fill their quota in the first iteration of the matching process shall participate in the second iteration of the matching process. All quota left unfilled in the first iteration of the matching process shall be entered into the second iteration of the matching process.

The matching process is not complete until all iterations have been run.

8. Withdrawals

An institution may withdraw a participating residency program from the matching program if there are no positions available. All such withdrawals shall be effected through the postgraduate dean’s office.

In order to avoid unnecessary costs to applicants, institutions who wish to withdraw the complete quota of a participating residency program should do so prior to holding interviews for such participating residency program, except for situations beyond the control of the institution or program.

If a participating residency program has reason to close and/or reduce the number of residents after the match has been run, the program must notify CaRMS of the method it will employ to assist each matched applicant in securing another residency position. Failure to adhere to these requirements will be a breach of this contract and subject to the penalties set out in section 20 of this contract.

9. Multiple matchings

Any participating residency program that knowingly offers a position to an applicant who has been matched to a position in another participating residency program in the same year shall be in breach of this contract, and may be subject to the penalties described in section 20. Prior to offering a position to an applicant, a participating residency program shall take reasonable steps to ascertain the applicant’s match status, including contacting CaRMS to obtain that information.

10. Restrictions on persuasion

Participating residency programs shall not exert undue or unwarranted pressure on the selection decisions of applicants. Both applicants and participating residency programs may express a high degree of interest in each other but may not make statements implying a commitment.

The following activities shall be considered as breaches of the contract by the institution, and subject to the penalties as described in section 20:

  1. An applicant or participating residency program making any verbal or written contract for appointment to a residency position prior to completion of the matching program; and
  2. An applicant or participating residency program requesting the ranking preference of the other.

Participating residency programs understand and agree that only the final preferences of the participating residency programs and applicants, as reflected in their final verified rank order lists, will determine the offering of positions and the placement of applicants through the matching program.

11. Confidentiality

Information about applicants is to be treated as confidential at all times. Participating residency programs shall not make publicly available or otherwise disclose to any individual or organization, any information about applicants unless required by law, permitted under this contract or with the consent of the applicant concerned. For greater certainty, confidential information in this context includes the names of applicants, application information and program ranking information. Breaches of confidentiality, including unauthorized use, access, or disclosure of an applicant’s personal information, will be subject to the penalties set out in section 20 of this contract.

12. Use of applicants’ personal information

Participating residency programs shall only use personal information of applicants disclosed to it by CaRMS for the purpose of selecting candidates.

13. Retention of information

Participating residency programs shall keep information provided to it by CaRMS only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. Participating residency programs shall have in place procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert personal information into an anonymous form when it is no longer required for the program’s purposes.

14. Security of information

Participating residency programs shall have appropriate security measures to protect any information provided to it by CaRMS. “Appropriate security measures” means 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. Participating residency programs shall protect the confidentiality of all passwords and promptly notify CaRMS (a) if there is reason to believe that any password has been discovered by a third party and (b) of any unauthorized use of a password or any other breach of security and (c) in the event of unauthorized use, access or disclosure of any applicant’s personal information maintained by the program.

C. Rights and obligations of CaRMS

15. Removal from matching program

CaRMS may remove a participating residency program from the matching program if CaRMS receives credible evidence that the participating residency program has violated the terms of this contract or does not have the required accreditation.

16. Rank order list (ROL)

CaRMS will treat the ROLs as confidential information. CaRMS will not release or disclose such information in any manner that permits individual identification of either a participating residency program or an applicant.

17. Access to the match site (CaRMS’ online system)

CaRMS shall limit access to the match site to participating residency programs, applicants and other authorized users.

18. Faculty timetable

CaRMS shall publish an annual faculty timetable, which is incorporated in this contract by reference.

19. Availability of match site


20. Match violations

CaRMS maintains the highest professional standards in the conduct of the matching program and in its interactions with all participants: applicants, program directors, and institutional officials, undergraduate and postgraduate deans. CaRMS expects all participants in the matching program to conduct their affairs in an ethical and professionally responsible manner and to respect the right of applicants to freely investigate program options prior to submission of a final rank order list.

CaRMS shall investigate alleged breaches of this contract, including but not limited to:

  1. Discrepancies in credentials or other supporting documents;
  2. Attempts to subvert the matching process itself;
  3. Failures to offer or accept an appointment as required by the results of a match; and
  4. Any other irregular behavior or activities that occur in connection with the submission or modification of a rank order list, and/or the participating residency program’s commitment to honor the match outcome.

CaRMS shall maintain and make available to applicants and participating residency programs the policies and procedures for reporting and investigating breaches of CaRMS bontracts (Match breaches policy and false document policy), incorporated by reference in this contract.

The match breaches policy shall govern CaRMS’ handling of match violations and is incorporated by reference in and forms part of this contract.