The route to licensure in Canada involves many steps and the fulfillment of important requirements, including the source verification of medical credentials. While the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) source verifies Canadian Medical Graduates’ (CMGs) credentials directly with Canadian faculties of medicine and medical institutions, International Medical Graduates’ (IMGs) credentials are source verified through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), a service provider contracted by the MCC to source verify credentials.
“The source verification process serves to confirm that physicians’ medical credentials obtained outside of Canada are authentic,” explains Rachel Buttle, Manager of Operations in the MCC’s Repository and Registration Centre. To start the process, IMGs must first create an account on physiciansapply.ca, submit a source verification request (SVR) and send the required documents to the MCC, which then reviews all documents to ensure that they meet specific requirements. “The MCC maintains a national, centralized database of physicians’ credentials known as the MCC Physician Credentials Repository, where physicians have access to a confidential, lifetime portfolio of their medical qualifications. We have a team of experts who review medical credentials from around the world and coordinate their translation in partnership with the Translation Bureau of Canada,” adds Mrs. Buttle.
Once a medical credential has undergone an internal review at the MCC, it is sent electronically to the ECFMG which, in turn, sends a verification package to the issuing medical institution. Once the source verification requirement is fulfilled, the credential’s status is updated in the candidate’s physiciansapply.ca account.
The MCC has been collaborating with the ECFMG on source verification of medical credentials since 2004. “Our organizations have an excellent working relationship and the MCC recognizes ECFMG’s extensive experience in the source verification of medical credentials,” confirms Mr. Pierre Lemay, Director of the MCC’s Repository and Registration Centre.
The MCC is continuously improving its source verification process and the repository to provide the best possible service to its candidates and stakeholders. “One of the main improvements is that the ECFMG has been working closely with institutions from around the world to set up an e-verification process,” says Mrs. Buttle. E-verification allows medical schools to log into a secure portal administered by the ECFMG and authenticate medical credentials.
In its 2017 Annual Report to the MCC, the ECFMG confirmed that a total of 1,007 medical schools were verifying credentials electronically.”
Director, Repository and Registration Centre, MCC
Mr. Lemay adds that this service decreases the turnaround times involved in the source verification process as it eliminates the need to mail paper verification packages around the world, and that the ECFMG continues to work to transition additional medical schools to their e-verification process.
Once they have submitted their medical credentials for source verification, physicians may request other MCC services through their physiciansapply.ca account. With a source verified medical degree or medical school transcript, a physician can request an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report if they are applying to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada programs. In addition, a physician can apply for the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination if their medical degree is in progress of source verification, and for the MCCQE Part II if it has successfully completed the source verification process.
Candidates may also share their medical credentials with the Medical Regulatory Authorities (MRAs) and other organizations registered with the MCC through their physiciansapply.ca account. This sharing functionality allows MRAs to review physicians’ qualifications when they submit an Application for Medical Registration (AMR).
From MCC examination eligibility to AMR, IMGs and CMGs rely on the source verification of their medical credentials to practice medicine in Canada. Working with its partners, including the ECFMG, the MCC is committed to continuous improvement of its source verification services and processes.