American Doctors Practicing in Canada
July 16, 2004 8:09 AM   Subscribe

Anybody know anything about American doctors practicing in Canada? [more inside]

What does an American doctor have to do to be able to practice in Canada? Is it difficult to get a job? How much do Canadian doctors make?
posted by LittleMissCranky to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
An American doctor would have to meet Canadian standards of medical education. I have known doctors from elsewhere in the world who had to upgrade in order to meet Canadian standards, but I should think that an American doctor from a reputable school would probably not have to do any/much upgrading.

There is a shortage of doctors in Canada, especially in remote/rural areas. I recently dated a doctor. When he graduated, he was offered $175K plus all living expenses paid (a house to live in, a car to use, etc.) to go work in Sudbury. He turned it down, and now makes $180K in Toronto (and incidentally, he was stunned to find out what I make and that I carry a mortgage on it).
posted by orange swan at 8:43 AM on July 16, 2004

Medical licensing procedures vary from province to province. Search for "[province's name] Health" on Google and you should be able to find information pointing you in the right direction. Here, for example, is a web page detailing what you have to do to get established in Manitoba.

You may have to deal with immigration issues as well. There's essentially a "points system" that Immigration Canada uses to decide whether or not to allow you permanent resident status, where you're awarded points for things like knowing English or French, having funds to establish yourself, etc. This site will probably be useful in this regard.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:21 AM on July 16, 2004

(Just to make it clear, "[province's name] Health" is usually the name of the provincial government agency responsible for medical services in a given province. In Québec I suppose it would be "Santé Québec.")
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:29 AM on July 16, 2004

My impression, based on news stories, is that it's just insanely difficult for foreigners to get licensed in Canada...
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2004

My impression, based on news stories, is that it's just insanely difficult for foreigners to get licensed in Canada...

That's usually in regards to nations such as India where it's believed (correctly or incorrectly) that the requirements to become a doctor are much lower. For an American it would probably be, as was mentioned, much easier.

With the shortage of doctors in Canada, one can only hope that election promises are kept and some better programs are instituted to re-train doctors from overseas in order to make their skillset compatible. It seems like a common sense solution.
posted by The God Complex at 9:53 AM on July 16, 2004

The medical system under the previous administration was a train wreck. Specialists are very hard to find. I spent some time with my gf's relatives in Saskatchewan, and for certain complex operations there are literally a handful of doctors and facilities capable of performing the operation. Her relatives informed that most Canadian doctors make comparably less than American ones. Combine that with the difficulty it achieving citizenship - its FAR easier to get in if you're broke, jobless and illiterate. FWIW, I'd strongly suggest doing a great deal of research before making a decision. I don't know the accuracy of my gf's relative’s claims, but they are coming from a Canadian citizen.
posted by cohappy at 10:08 AM on July 16, 2004

I've also heard from Canadian friends that doctors make less in Canada. I live right near the Detroit / Windsor border, and I've frequently heard tales of Canadian doctors maintaining a residence in both the US and Canada, and working here (Michigan). I suppose this would serve to circumstantially reenforce the 'Make less in Canada' argument, however slightly.
posted by adamkempa at 10:55 AM on July 16, 2004

"its FAR easier to get in if you're broke, jobless and illiterate"

Well, that doesn't sound very accurate at all.

My doctor came over from the UK and didn't have any problems, can't imagine a US doctor having any trouble.
posted by Salmonberry at 1:14 PM on July 16, 2004

Doctors in Canada may gross less money, but their net may well be about the same: I doubt we have quite the same onerous insurance policy rates as the USA does.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:49 PM on July 16, 2004

You can make much more money working in the medical profession in the U.S., but it's not like they're making shite pay here either. A nurse I dated told me that he and his graduating class were aggressively courted by the States. People were getting 30K signing bonuses. He told me he'd gritted his teeth and turned it down, because he figured the system that educated him ought to be the system that benefitted from his resulting skills.
posted by orange swan at 10:02 PM on July 16, 2004

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