Skip to main content
Please wait...

Learner News

chalk board with words Learner News written on it
AFMC Update for Students

Learner News

Week of January 25, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for all stakeholders involved in the 2021 R1 match. Below you will find updates on key initiatives:

Match 2021

The following clarifies the implementation of the recommendations made by the Application and File Review Subcommittee of the AFMC Resident Match Committee for the 2021 Match process. The ARMC includes broad representation from UG, PG, SA , learner organizations and CaRMS, 


Reference letters


·       A Letter of Reference from the institution to where the applicant is applying must not be a criterion for file review and ultimately, for file ranking.

·       There will be no requirement for a Letter of Reference from the discipline to which the applicant is applying. 

·       Each program may request a maximum of three (3) Letters of Reference from an applicant.

Letter of Support (Lettre d’appui)

·       The Letter of Support is used exclusively by the Quebec French Language Faculties of Medicine and is primarily used in lieu of a letter of reference when applying to these Faculty’s residency programs.

·       Given that the Letter of Support is a standardized form as it exists presently and enjoys support from all stakeholder groups from these Faculties, no change is suggested to the content or structure of the Letter of Support.

·       A Letter of Support from the institution to where the applicant is applying must not be a criterion for file review and ultimately, file ranking.

·       There will be no requirement for a Letter of Support from the discipline to which the applicant is applying.

These recommendations have been implemented, acknowledging there may be a few outlier program descriptions yet to be updated.


Personal letters


Each program should clearly provide on their website:

Direction to applicants regarding content they are looking for in the personal letter, including the questions/topics they would like addressed.

A maximum word count.

Applicants should proceed with the instructions as currently provided on the program descriptions. This recommendation was presented as an opportunity to provide clarity to applicants. Revising criteria at this time may be disruptive to those applicants who have already proceeded in drafting their letters. If a program has not provided guidance on desired content or maximum length, applicants are to submit a personal letter using their own critical lens to determine how to best present themselves to the program.



The opportunity for programs to request an ITER as part of an application package has been removed from program descriptions, and applicants are not required to submit them.


Medical school transcripts and MSPRs

Programs cannot request medical school transcripts or MSPRs be notarized or certified (irrespective of the program description). Applicants may submit an “unofficial” version of an MSPR or medical school transcript. This is due to the policy change allowing applicants to upload their own versions of these documents.

Applicants must understand that revising or altering an MSPR or Medical School transcript (including removing results from prior university training at the school) is a Match Violation and would disqualify an applicant from their Match result.


Provincial proof of language proficiency requirements

Provinces are in the final stages or determining their provincial proof of language proficiency requirements.  Postgraduate offices are being asked to make these updates to the program descriptions as soon as decisions are made. Students are encouraged to check the language testing requirements listed in the CaRMS program descriptions. If students are unable to meet any language testing requirements listed due to lack of availability of testing they are encouraged to contact the PG program and/or their Student Affairs Dean and/or UGME Dean.

Visiting Electives

As of January 14, 2021, the UGME Deans have determined that ongoing restrictions of clinical capacity and inter-provincial/international travel will significantly limit the reliable re-opening of visiting electives for July 2021. The UGME Deans will re-evaluate this on an ongoing basis as the Covid pandemic and the conditions to sustain visiting electives evolve. Visiting electives remain UNAVAILABLE until AT LEAST September 2021. The opening of visiting electives will next be reviewed by April 2021 for the possibility of a September 2021 reopening.

Past issue resources

Recommendations of the AFMC Resident Matching Committee (ARMC) subcommittee on File Review and Applications. Recommendations approved by the AFMC Board of Directors. 



***Clarification: Some of the changes to the MSPR suggested in the ARMC SubCommittee on Applicaton and File Review, approved by the AFMC Board of Directors on October 27, 2020 may not be fully implemented by the medical schools in time for Match 2021. Please refer to the specific recommendations below: 

  1. MEDICAL STUDENT PERFORMANCE RECORD: a. All 17 medical schools adhere to the national MSPR template developed by the MSPR Working Group. This may not yet be implemented for all schools for Match 2021. b. All 17 medical schools use a common standardized approach and the same criteria in documenting professionalism issues on the MSPR. This has not yet been implemented for Match 2021. c. All 17 medical schools include narrative comments on the MSPR. This may not yet be implemented for all schools for Match 2021