I am writing this note during March break! Many colleagues take a week in March to be with their families, while those of us without school-age children are happy to avoid travel during this busy time! I had a lovely week last week skiing with my sister in Whistler. Breaks are so important for both body and soul. I hope everyone is able to plan for relaxation from our busy workplaces.
The break allowed me to put into perspective the disappointing results of the first round of the CaRMS match. We are still unclear about what happened, as I believe our program continues to be strong. At the recent COFM-FM meeting where the Ontario chairs meet with government, we considered some of the challenges. Nationally, the same number of students applied and were matched to family medicine as last year but there were considerably more positions available as the Maritime Provinces increased the number of seats. All of Ontario (except University of Toronto) had higher numbers of vacancies after the first round than last year. As leaders, we wonder if the uncertainty in funding and access to Family Health Organizations had an effect on matching in Ontario. We shared this concern with our government colleagues. In addition, it appears that Francophone students were more likely to remain in Quebec than in the past. Thus, the political climate may explain some of the challenges.
However, this does not fully explain why Ottawa stands out in Ontario for a poor match result. We do know that residents are an important source of information for potential trainees. Their experience in our program will impact how they perceive the value of training here. Their experience is connected to our faculty’s perceptions of the value of working in Ontario and at the University of Ottawa. Have the negotiations with government discouraged us as faculty members? Have the challenges we face in our program filtered down to our learners? Is there something we can do differently in our recruitment efforts?
The second round of the match in Ontario is restricted to Canadian Medical Graduates. This policy was put into place to address the unmatched students in last year’s match. Unfortunately, this policy has the unintended consequences that there are currently fewer CMGs than there are open positions for the second round, and may mean that we will still have vacancies following the match. Our goal is to support and train students who wish to be family physicians. We can certainly look forward to the many students who did match to us and perhaps find out what prompted them to put us first! We can build on this to work toward a solution that encourages all students to make Ottawa the first choice for training in the country. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can make this a reality? We invite you to add a comment to our discussion board.
Thank you to all who are helping with the short window for review for the second round of CaRMS applicants and to our team for welcoming and encouraging students to consider training in Ottawa.