Career Transitions for International Medical Doctors

Launched in January 2007, the Career Transitions Program for International Medical Doctors (IMDs) is a comprehensive employment preparation program which provides focused training for unemployed or under-employed IMDs in their efforts to gain employment in non-regulated health sector roles. The program’s staff in each location has significant private sector experience in the areas of employment recruitment, job development, and employment coaching. They bring not only a depth of knowledge and skill in areas critical to supporting the transition of IMDs into the health sector but also a strong focus on results. The professionalism of their approach to assisting the IMDs models the kind of behaviour that will ultimately make the IMDs successful in alternative careers.

"I gained so much from the Career Transitions Program. It really opened my eyes to the alternatives available to International Medical Doctors (IMDs) in Canada. Not only did I learn about the structure and organization of the health care system, but I also learned how to use my skills in different areas, how to present myself in my cover letter and resume, and which websites would be most useful in my job search. Most importantly, the program allowed me to connect with other IMDs, to exchange tips and ideas, and to set up study groups for our equivalency exams."

A. A., Cohort 4 – 2008


The Career Transitions Program is designed to assist IMDs throughout Eastern Ontario, in Toronto, and (until the fall of 2010) in the Hamilton region. The program consists of 10 in-class and four online workshops on topics such as health care labour markets, Canadian business and workplace culture, transferable skills, retraining possibilities, and "marketing yourself for employment." It also includes ongoing individualized support that is provided for each and every participant in the program until they are successfully integrated into alternative careers in the health care sector.

This support includes:

  • A one-on-one meeting to develop an individual action plan;
  • Development of a "general" resume and sample cover letter, followed by ongoing writing and editing support for individual and targeted job applications;
  • Interview preparation through "mock" interviews;
  • Job development support (whereby program staff work with health sector organizations, businesses, and different levels of government to break down barriers and to develop opportunities for which IMDs can apply;
  • Ongoing health care job alerts via email; and
  • Individual job counselling and support by email, by telephone, and in person.

Newcomer Involvement

The program was originally developed based on feedback received from newcomers of the Catholic Immigration Centre about the challenges facing IMDs as they tried to integrate into the Canadian health care system. This was particularly true of doctors interested not in pursuing medical licensing but in using their skills and experience to make a contribution to their new community in the area of health care. Partners in the design and delivery of the program were then identified and recruited in order to benefit from their experience in this area. The service-providing organizations then sought feedback from employers and others involved in the settlement of newcomers to elicit their input as to the major challenges for IMD integration into non-regulated health care roles. Based on this totality of knowledge and experience, the program was designed to provide focused training and ongoing support for the IMDs.

As the program is delivered, facilitators adapt the material based on both feedback and more current employment preparation practices.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Career Transitions is delivered to IMDs in partnership with LASI World Skills (Ottawa) and Skills for Change (Toronto and Hamilton). The program is led by the Catholic Immigration Centre, an organization that has been providing settlement and integration services to newcomers in Ottawa since 1952.


Accountability for the success and results of the program is managed through regular reporting to the funders on behalf of the public. The program is also, as a matter of fact, accountable to the clients and its success in this area is measured by the increasing demand by IMDs. The program has a waiting list of IMDs who are eager to take it up wherever it is offered.

Positive Outcome

Since the inception of the program in 2007:

  • 509 clients got employed; and
  • 543 clients got volunteer positions and/or retraining opportunity.


The Career Transitions Program for International Medical Doctors is easily adaptable to any Canadian city (Anglophone or Francophone) where there is a large population of IMDs and employers who specialize in unregulated health care roles.


Service Providers
Catholic Immigration Centre, LASI World Skills, and Skills for Change
Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, Toronto, and Hamilton, ON
Year of Launch
Languages of Delivery
Newcomer Groups Served
International medical doctors
Expected Results
Labour Market Access (Newcomers obtain the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education)

Page details

Date modified: