How to improve your chances of matching for a residency in Canada

10 June 2021

As an aspiring doctor, mapping out the future is an important part of the decision-making process for choosing a medical school in Australia.

doctor with stethoscope
Learn more about studying medicine in Australia

There are various pathway options available for becoming a licensed doctor after graduating from an Australian medical school. Returning to Canada to complete a residency is one of them.

We recently chatted with Dr. John P, a University of Sydney Doctor of Medicine graduate and current internal medicine resident in Ottawa, Ontario, about his thoughts on how to improve your chances of successfully matching with a Canadian residency position.

You can tune into the recording of this conversation here!

Canadian Electives
“Electives, electives, electives—I can’t speak highly enough of electives.”

Dr. Paydar is a huge advocate of utilizing opportunities during medical school to complete elective courses in Canada, especially if this is your desired pathway post-graduation. Each of OzTREKK’s partner Australian universities provide the option of completing at least one international elective, usually in the latter half of your medical degree.

“Do electives by any means possible,” Dr. Paydar states. “My skills grew exponentially while completing my electives. You’ll gain really good stories and experiences that you’ll talk about in your interviews and in your personal letters.”

Develop your professional network  
Getting a reference letter is an important part of a practical placement as it is essential for securing a residency position. Dr. Paydar encourages students to be strategic about choosing references.

“Look at the amount of time you will be spending with different staff doctors. If, for example, you’re spending just one week with a staff at the beginning of your placement, this may not be the best person to ask for a reference,” he says.

Use your judgement about to whom you feel you have best showcased your skills, abilities, and personality.

Dr. Paydar suggests asking for feedback right from the get-go. If you know you’ll be spending at least a few weeks with a staff doctor, share with them at the beginning that you are very keen on learning and receiving commentary. Requesting a meeting with the doctor halfway through your time with them to go over their feedback in relation to your skills can be very beneficial.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of options, or a foolproof manual for securing a residency spot in Canada. Neither of these items exist. However, the above is certainly valuable insight to consider when exploring your dreams of becoming a doctor!


Do you need help with your medical school application? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer at