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Legislation & Advocacy

Osteopathic Medical Students

Each year more and more Canadian students become aware of, and apply to, US osteopathic medical schools. The Canadian cohort in the DO education landscape is now becoming more and more recognized by the USDO leadership. With recent efforts, The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) and COMSA will begin to work together to help advocate for the US DO path for Canadians and increase the degree’s presence in the Canadian healthcare landscape. Below are some relevant links regarding Canadian DOs


As of February 2019, US Osteopathic Medical Graduates are eligible to apply to the Canadian Residency Match (CaRMS). However, there are certain limitations/requirements of Osteopathic Graduates – namely that for all provinces (with the exception of Quebec) US DO’s are only allowed to apply to International Medical Graduate positions, rather than positions that are open to Canadian and American MD graduates. Also note that to apply into the Ontario or Manitoba stream, one must be a Canadian Citizen or Canadian Permanent Resident.

Additionally, to apply into the CaRMS service, an applicant needs to have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part 1 (MCCQE1) as well as the National Assessment Collaboration Exam (NAC). This is a change from the 2018 and prior cycles, where those who wished to apply into the CaRMS match needed to first pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE).


Now, the applicant needs to take the NAC and the MCCQE1 (in no specific order, you can do either one first, or even both on the same day), without needing the MCCEE. Please see the links below for more detailed information.


Another update regarding training is Statement of Needs for J1-visa requirements – needed as part of the J1 application for training in an ACGME program. Before 2019, Statement of Needs were given out in a limited fashion – with certain specialties being eligible and within that a set number of Statement of Needs that would be handed out.


With 2019 and onward for the foreseeable future, there are no longer any limitations on getting a Statement of Need for specialty or number. This gives much greater freedom for applicants to apply into the ACGME system with much less worry for specialties that were previously limited in available Statements. Please see the link for more detailed information:


US DOs now have unlimited practice rights in all Canadian provinces – provided they have gone through the steps needed to get to licensure (passing Canadian boards, training in an ACGME or Canadian residency). While all provinces require the applicant to have passed the Canadian board exams (MCCQE), Ontario is the one province that provides an alternative pathway for ACGME trained physicians.


Referred to as “Pathway 3”, if one has completed an ACGME residency and become board certified by the relevant American board, a USDO (or USMD) can work under a licensed Ontario physician within their specialty (at a minimum for one year) – after which one is assessed for independent licensure. This step allows the USDO/USMD physician to bypass taking the Canadian boards (provided they have taken all parts of the COMLEX or USMLE series). Please see the link for more detailed information:

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