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Question
What is a “return for service” agreement?
Answer

Return of service (ROS) is part of a package of strategies designed to attract physicians to Province’s underserviced communities. you will be sent an agreement describing the terms and conditions associated with the position you have been offered.

Return of Service agreements provide funding to medical trainees in exchange for their commitment to practice in a designated geographic area for a period of time after completion of their training. These agreements provide different types of monetary incentives and may target undergraduate students, postgraduate trainees, or working physicians. The incentives are often given in the form of bursaries, grants, loan forgiveness, and scholarships. Many ROS programs offer a “buy-out option” allowing borrowers to repay their bursary instead of fulfilling their service commitment.

Chart

Table 1. Comparison of current ROS programs and their terms, by province and territory

 

NL

PEI

NS

NB

QC

ON

MB

SK

AB

BC

NT

NU

Year of Current Program Origin

2002

2000

2000

2000

2001

2000

2001

2000

2005

2001

2000

2003

Bursary

 

 

 

 

 

Grant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loan forgiveness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scholarship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuition reimbursement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost all provinces and territories offer – ROS agreements to recruit and retain physicians in underserved areas. ROS agreements may also be put in place if a jurisdiction is supporting or subsidizing an IMG’s assessment process. Although not formally considered an ROS agreement, the Canadian Armed Forces have a similar program. 

Table 2. Canadian ROS values and return requirements according to province and recipient type 2011/12

Province

Recipient Type

Funding Value per Year

Service Required (months)

Service Location Requirements

NL

UG4, FM, SP, P

$25,000

12

Area of need (entire province)

NL

TF

Salary/Tuition

12

Area of need (entire province)

PEI

FM

$15,000

12

Vacancy of greatest need

PEI

SP

$20,000

12

Vacancy of greatest need

NS

P

$15,000

12 + 6*

Area of need

NB

UG3-4

$6,000

12

Rural Health Authority in need

NB

FM

$12,500

18

St. John, Moncton, Fredericton

$25,000

18

Outside St. John, Moncton, Fredericton

NB

SP

$20,000

18

Rural Health Authority in need

QC

UG3-4

$15,000

12

Area of need

QC

FM, SP

$20,000

12

Area of need

ON

UG4, FM, SP

$10,000

12

Underserved area or undersupplied specialty

MBa

UG1-4

$7,000

6

Rural community

MB

UG1-4

$12,000

6

Location directed by province

MB

UG3**

$25,000

12

Rural community

MB

UG4**

$15,000

12

Manitoba community

MB

UG4 (RNI)

$25,000

12

Northern remote community – location directed by province

MB

FM Res

$20,000

12

Within the province

MB

FM Res (NRFMS)

$50,000

24

Northern remote community – location directed by province

MB

SP

$20,000

12

Manitoba community

SK

UG2-4

$15,000

6

Rural relief (locums)

8

Rural community

12

Regional centre

SK

FM, SP

$25,000

6

Rural relief (locums)

8

Rural community

12

Regional centre

AB

UG1-4 (U of A)

$11,540

12

FM: non-metro, non-regional community; SP: non-metro community

AB

UG1-3 (U of C)

$14,384

12

BC

MD

33.3% prov. student loans

12

Publicly funded facility in underserved area

NWT

UG1-4

$10,000

6

Within the territory

NWT5

UG1-3

$13,333

6

Within the territory

NWT

FM, SP

$15,000

6

Within the territory

NWT5

FM, SP

$15,000

6

Within the territory

NU

UG1-4

$25,000

See FM or SP

Within the territory

NU

FM

$25.00

3 years total

Within the territory

NU

SP

$25,000

5 years total

Within the territory

RFS = Return for service; a Refers to an Aboriginal-specific program; 5 Refers to five-year medical school programs.

UG = undergraduate, FM = family medicine resident, SP = specialist resident, P = psychiatry resident, MD = practising physician, RNI = Rural/Northern Initiative, NRFMS = Northern/Remote Family Medicine Residency Stream (NRFMS)

* Physicians return 12 months of service for the first year of funding and 6 months' additional funding.

** Will be phased out after 2011–2012 year.

 

For more information about RFS agreements, please consult the provincial websites listed below: