Emergency Medicine in Canada

Informative Guide on Training, Practice Settings, and Salary Expectations

What is an Emergency Medicine Physician?

Emergency medicine physicians (also known as ER doctors) are concerned with the care of illnesses or injuries requiring immediate medical attention. It often requires immediate decision making and action necessary to prevent death or any further disability to patients. Emergency medicine physicians do not provide long-term care but can diagnose a variety of problems and intervene to stabilize the patient. They are also responsible for the final disposition of the patient: either arranging for their admittance to the hospital for further care, or release after treatment.

Emergency physicians are required to evaluate a wide variety of ailments, sometimes with little to no information, and be prepared to treat patients of all ages and a nearly infinite variety of conditions and degrees of illness.

Emergency medicine comprises almost all fields of medicine and surgery. Due to its high-pressure, fast-paced nature, emergency physicians must have a broad field of knowledge and advanced skills such as surgical procedures, trauma resuscitation, cardiac life support, and airway management.

Delivery of Care Settings

Emergency physicians primarily work in the emergency department within different types of hospital settings including community hospitals and larger tertiary care facilities. ER doctors often work as part of a team with other specialists and emergency department staff to help facilitate stabilisation of the patient, administer tests, and monitor progress.

Two Paths to Emergency Medicine Certified Training in Canada

When it comes to training, there are 2 pathways to becoming an emergency medicine physician.

Emergency Medicine Specialist

Upon completion of medical school, to become certified in Emergency Medicine requires an additional 5 years of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) approved residency training.

This path is geared to those interested in working in a larger tertiary care facility with substantial academic, administrative and research involvement.

Family Medicine with EM Fellowship

Upon completion of medical school, you must first become certified in family medicine with the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), which requires an additional 2 years of postgraduate training.

Physicians wanting to train in Emergency Medicine can either enter a third year to obtain the Certificate of Added Competence (CAC) credential, and CCFP (EM) designation, or they can obtain the designation through practice. Both routes require successful completion of the Examination of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine.

Applying to Canadian Medical Schools

Canada has 17 accredited faculties of medicine, distributed geographically across the country. Canadian medical schools are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

According to The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the number of places available is determined by provincial governments based on educational and financial resources, as well as Canada’s future physician workforce requirements. Medical schools have an increasing number of applicants every year, while the number of positions available for entry does not increase significantly.

Can International Students Apply to Canadian Medical Schools?

Since the universities are under provincial jurisdiction, the majority of places in a faculty of medicine are allocated to permanent residents of the province in which the university is located. So, although 14 out of the 17 medical schools accept international students, the number of actual positions is limited.

What International Medical Schools are Recognized in Canada?

Anyone with a Medical Degree (MD) from outside of the accredited Canadian and American programs who wants to undertake residency training or practice medicine in Canada is considered an International Medical Graduate (IMG). This includes Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has a helpful guide to the acceptable medical schools as defined in the Model Standards for Medical Registration in Canada.

How are Emergency Medicine Physicians Paid?

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) which provides essential information on Canada's health systems and the health of Canadians and has the following data:

  • Most physicians receive compensation through multiple models, including both fee-for-service and alternative payments.
  • Alternative methods of paying physicians include salaries, sessional and hourly rates, capitation models and contract-based payments.
  • The largest payment program as a proportion of total gross clinical payments to physicians in Canada is fee-for-service, at about 73% of total payments in 2018–2019.
  • Fee-for-service services provided by physicians can be split into 2 broad types: consultations/visits and procedures.

What are Emergency Medicine Physicians Paid in Canada?

The gross range of potential annual earnings can vary based on factors including hours, experience, province, rural or urban location, clinic setup, as well as incentives and bonuses offered. A range we see for Emergency Medicine Doctors across Canada is $290,000 - $450,000.

Demand for Emergency Medicine Physicians in Canada

Based on demands in the Canadian marketplace, job prospects for Emergency Medicine are expected to stay steady for the foreseeable future. As with all specialty physicians, Emergency Medicine Physicians will have different job prospects and opportunities depending on where they work in Canada.

The current family doctor shortage in Canada has contributed to strain on emergency rooms and highlighting a need for fuller equipped emergency departments to handle the influx of patients requiring attention.

According to Canadian Occupational Projection System, the specialty physician occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level.

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This page is a general guideline only and is not intended as financial or other professional advice. Remuneration ranges are from both source information and our job board. All content is subject to change.

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