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Comparison of Canadian Medical Graduates and International Medical Graduates in Canada: 1989–2007

Mok, Philip S. MD; Baerlocher, Mark O. MD; Abrahams, Caroline MPA; Tan, Eva Y.; Slade, Steve; Verma, Sarita LLB, MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e318222e314
Workforce Issues

Purpose: To compare Canadian medical graduates (CMGs) and international medical graduates (IMGs) who completed postgraduate medical education in Canada from 1989 to 2007 by age, gender, specialty, and practice characteristics.

Method: Data on all CMGs and IMGs who completed residencies or fellowships in Canada from 1989 to 2007 were extracted from the Canadian Post-M.D. Education Registry. Data from 1989–1993 and 2003–2007 were pooled for analysis.

Results: A total of 8,501 CMGs and 1,828 IMGs completed post-MD training at Canadian institutions between 1989 and 1993 inclusive; 7,734 CMGs and 1,879 IMGs completed such training between 2003 and 2007. From 1989–1993 to 2003–2007, the average age of CMGs increased from 29.8 to 31.1 years, and average age of IMGs increased from 36.1 to 37.0 years. From 1989–1993 to 2003–2007, the percentage of women increased from 41% (3,471/8,501) to 52% (4,016/7,734) and from 28% (509/1,828) to 42% (791/1,879) for CMGs and IMGs, respectively. The proportion of CMGs who trained in family medicine declined from 54% (4,568/8,501) to 38% (2,921/7,734) from 1989–1993 to 2003–2007. The percentage of IMGs who trained in family medicine increased from 19% (344/1,828) to 37% (699/1,879) during the same period.

Conclusions: IMGs tended to be older, more likely to be men, and more likely to pursue family medicine than their CMG counterparts. These differences have implications in designing future health care policy and recruiting physicians from abroad. Other countries could look at their own physician demographics using this study's methods.

Dr. Mok is a diagnostic radiology resident, Department of Medical Imaging, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Baerlocher is clinical fellow, Department of Radiology, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, San Diego, California.

Ms. Abrahams is director of policy and analysis, Postgraduate Medical Education Office, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Ms. Tan is a medical student, Michael G. Degroote School of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Mr. Slade is vice president of research and analysis, Canadian Post-M.D. Registry, Office of Research and Information Services, Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Verma is deputy dean, professor of family medicine, and associate vice provost for health professions education, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Please see the end of this article for information about the authors.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Mok, University of Toronto, Postgraduate Medical Education, 500 University Avenue, Suite 602, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1V7; telephone: (905) 330-3084; e-mail:

First published online June 20, 2011

© 2011 Association of American Medical Colleges