NOSM University - Family Medicine - Northern Ontario

2021 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration

Last approved on December 11, 2020

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Jason Sutherland
c/o Program Coordinator 
NOSM Postgraduate Education -Family Medicine 
935 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 2C6
Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Program Contacts

Dawn Grover
Program Coordinator

Important Information

Please visit our website for more information on the program.

NOSM-Family Medicine (


Additional Requirement: Situational Judgement Test (CASPer) is a required test for all applicants to NOSM Family Medicine Programs.

(Please refer to the Supporting Documentation Section)


You will find:

  • Interactive and multimedia information on our Program
  • Curated information to help you in your program selection, given the virtual nature of the CaRMS selection process and lack of in-person visit to our program
  • Schedule of our promotion and information sessions
  • Information on how to get your questions answered


Given the COVID-19 Pandemic, all Promotion, Recruitment and Selection activities will be conducted virtually, using a variety of web-based tools to help you get to know us, and us you!

General Instructions

Program application language: English

NOSM offers Family Medicine training in seven Northern Ontario Family Medicine streams: 

  • Larger urban sites (pop. greater than 100,000)
    • Sudbury
    • Thunder Bay
  • Smaller urban sites (pop. 50,000-80,000)
    • North Bay
    • Sault Ste. Marie
    • Timmins
  • Rural/Remote/Distributed (pop. <20,000, often much smaller)
    • Remote First Nation
    • Rural - distributed across several smaller communities in northern Ontario.

Please note: If applying to more than one NOSM Family Medicine stream, the same supporting documents may be used for each application, with the exception of the Rural Stream and the Remote First Nation Streamwhich require additional documentation.

Rural Stream: an additional document (the NOSM FM Rural Addendum/Questionnaire) with specific questions pertaining to suitability for rural training.

Remote First Nation Stream: a customized personal letter and additional reference requirements.

Applications to additional streams must be completed by 11:59 p.m. E.T. on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Applications to the Remote First Nations Northern Ontario will not be considered once file review has opened as of 12:05 p.m. E.T. February 8, 2021.

Supporting Documentation / Information

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Document must be notarized/certified
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As per the Ontario Provincial Eligibility Criteria, if you are submitting a Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth, or Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada document, you MUST submit a government issued photo I.D. to accompany your citizenship documentation.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

The Letters of Reference must be written by clinical teachers and/or clinical faculty who have reasonable knowledge of you, either through close association in clinical training situations or as your faculty advisor. References should provide an assessment of your medical knowledge, clinical skills, interpersonal skills, ability to communicate effectively, your attitudes toward learning, and commitment to Family Medicine.

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Order from your registrar.

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's office.

CASPer exam 

The CASPer Test

All applicants to the NOSM Family Medicine Program are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility.

CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. 

In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements. No exceptions will be provided for applicants unable to take CASPer online due to being located at sites where internet is not dependable due to technical or political factors.

Please go to to sign up for the Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education test (CSP20201) and reserve a test using a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule. The tests for the 2021 admission cycle will be open for registration in September 2020.

Please direct any inquiries on the test to Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the website. 

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The personal letter (maximum 500 words) should focus on the following:

  1. Experiences contributing to your interest in Family Medicine;
  2. Aspects of the NOSM Family Medicine program that interest you and will assist you in becoming an excellent Family Physician;
  3. Connections or personal qualities that make you an ideal candidate for practice in Northern settings, including experience or interest in our diverse populations;
  4. Your greatest challenge if you are accepted into this program; and,
  5. Additional information about yourself, not found elsewhere, that should be considered by the Selection Panel.

We encourage you to outline your letter with bullets/numbers.

If your transcript/MSPR indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history, please attach a supplementary statement to the END of your Personal Letter entitled "Transcript/CV Addendum" explaining the above.

Custom Résumé / CV 

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Optional - will be reviewed

Optional: you may submit abstracts of recent publications.

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on February 8, 2021

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  February 8, 2021

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on February 8, 2021


For 2021, the NOSM Family Medicine interview process is conveniently offered virtually, with no need to travel. The interviews will take place during the national interview period, from March 8th to March 28th, 2021. There will be several date and time options, which will be communicated with you once the application has been received, reviewed and an invitation for interview is sent to you. We will do out best to accomodate you.  We recognize that you may live in a different time zone, and will work with you to ensure an appropriate time is set for you.

SINGLE interview will be conducted for the following streams: Sudbury, Thunder Bay, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Rural.

The Remote First Nation stream will hold additional and seperate interviews.

Your interview score will be used for all the above mentioned streams. You may also choose to add additional FM Streams (except RFN) to your application by 11:59pm (E.S.T.) on Thursday, March 25th, 2021. Please ensure you include all the requested documents. (If adding Rural, you need to include the Rural Addendum Questionnaire)

In-person visits with program staff, faculty or residents will not be entertained. This practice is in alignment with the National Best Practices in Admissions and Selection. Please do not contact program staff or faculty for this. We invite you to take part in our promotional and information sessions throughout the CaRMS period (See:

Interview Dates: 
Various dates March 8th, 2021 to March 28th, 2021.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.

Interviews will be conducted virtually by a Family Medicine Resident and Faculty member.

Format: The interview will be traditional/question-based, including 8-10 questions, providing topics for discussion for the interviewers and you to share information.

Duration: Thirty (30) minutes.

The interview team will have only seen your Personal Letter (no other elements of your file will be provided).

Time permitting, you will have the opportunity to ask questions, but please keep in mind that your interview team may not have the answers. We invite you to save your questions for our information sessions and our Q&As. Please visit our website for more information on those event.

French, Ojibway, Cree, Oji-Cree (or other Indigenous language) interviews may be requested by candidates, and every effort will be made by the program to accommodate these requests.

Selection Criteria

In keeping with the CanMEDs roles, please note that throughout the entire application and selection process, your interactions with NOSM personnel may be taken into consideration by the program in their selection process and ranking decisions.

The NOSM Family Medicine Residency Program will review candidate’s applications based on:

  • demonstrated interest in Family Medicine
  • ability to fulfill all CanMEDS-FM roles
  • demonstrated interest in clinical practice in northern Ontario and/or rural medicine
  • strong academic record
  • strength of references
  • excellent interpersonal and collaboration skills
  • evidence of self-directed learning and reflective practice
  • desire to train in variety of clinical practices and community settings
  • connection to northern Ontario educationally, professionally, or personally

Elective Requirement:

We recognize that the COVID-19 Pandemic has made access to electives (by discipline and location) very difficult. This year, we hope to find applicants who have evidence of a broad interest in Family Medicine and other varied experiences.

Specifically, this year, electives in Family Medicine are not required, but remain encouraged in your preparation for training in our discipline.

Program goals

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.

The NOSM Family Medicine Program's vision is to educate doctors based on the CanMEDS-FM roles to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to deliver excellent, culturally respectful health care to the communities of northern Ontario, including rural and remote areas.

Selection process goals

Through our selection process, our program aims to identify candidates who have a strong academic history with demonstrated competence and interest in family medicine (e.g. FM rotations, electives, scholarly activities, conference involvement and/or other related work or life experiences). We are seeking candidates who possess superior clinical and communication skills, and have the ability to relate to patients, their families, and caregivers with compassion, empathy, sensitivity and humility.

We are looking for candidates who possess the ability and willingness to work collaboratively (within and across professional domains) in a team dynamic to secure optimal patient outcomes, while exemplifying the highest standards of professional behavior -- inclusive of responsibility, respect, and self-awareness.

We are also looking to identify candidates who would be a good fit for our program. As a socially accountable medical school, accountable to the needs and the diversity of the populations of Northern Ontario, candidates best suited to the NOSM Family Medicine Program are those with a vested interest in rural medicine, who can adapt and thrive in a hands-on, distributed rural residency program that requires flexibility and some travel away from their primary location of residence. At times, you will train in environments with very few learners, which affords excellent first-in-line, hands-on experience.

We also believe that candidates who are resilient, can prioritize their personal well-being and work-life balance, and are also committed to self-reflective learning, continuing professional development, and quality improvement, are well-suited to our program. Through our selection process we aim to identify and successfully match candidates who possess these attributes as well.

File review process

Review team composition : Each application is reviewed and scored independently by two program faculty members. Members of our file review team are the Program Director, Site Directors, Assistant Site Directors and/or Family Medicine Faculty Members.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 201 - 400
We average approximately a combined total of 250 applications across all of our program streams.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %
We typically interview approximately 175-200 candidates.

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Academic & work background/experiences, personal/professional accomplishments, communication skills
Electives Diverse range relevant to the discipline, rural and/or northern an asset
Examinations Not Applicable
Extra-curricular An asset to demonstrate work-life balance and wellness, personal interests. Include in CV.
Leadership skills Any leadership roles held throughout training should be outlined in the CV
MSPRs Patient interactions, FM rotation competencies, any academic, personal or professionalism concerns
Personal letters Practice goals, interest/knowledge in FM and our program, personal and northern/rural suitability
Reference documents Commitment to FM, performance, knowledge/clinical skills, character, attitude towards learning, professionalism, engagement in learning.
Research/Publications Past achievements/successes and interest in participating in future scholarly activity
Transcripts Strength of academic record, any red flags/concerns
Other file component(s) Transcript/CV Addendum:

If any part of your application indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history, a supplementary statement at the END of your Personal Letter is required. Please entitle your statement as "Transcript/CV Addendum", explaining the above.

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted candidates’ opportunities to arrange and complete electives and would like to reassure you that a lack of elective activity this year will not negatively impact your application to our program.

Interview process

Interview format :

We routinely accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Demonstrated ability to work well in a team setting/multidisciplinary environment
Collegiality Personable, respectful towards others, values the importance of a supportive/collegial atmosphere
Communication skills Able to reflect and communicate responses clearly and concisely, can communicate well with others
Health advocacy Advocacy for patients, including geographically isolated or marginalized populations
Interest in the discipline Genuine passion for Family Medicine and future practice goals
Interest in the program Knowledgeable about our program, training sites, northern Ontario patient populations and challenges
Leadership skills Qualities such as: proactive/takes initiative, accountable, innovative, motivated and goal-oriented
Professionalism Conducts themselves in a professional manner, self-aware, unbiased, morally/ethically responsible
Scholarly activities We do not formally evaluate this component during the interview
Other interview component(s) Problem-Solving Skills: Conflict resolution, ability to assess, plan, and take appropriate action.

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

  • Practice opportunities are extensive, and diverse allowing residents to immerse themselves in the unique lifestyle of northern Ontario

  • Residents have flexibility and are encouraged to undertake clinical experiences in a wide variety of communities across the entire NOSM geographic area

  • Opportunities exist to undertake either Family medicine or other learning experiences in the French language and experience the Francophone culture of northern Ontario

  • Community rotations are available which will allow residents to immerse and familiarize themselves in the rural culture, and experience the challenges and rewards of delivery of care in rural and remote communities

  • Many diverse opportunities exist to encounter, immerse and deliver care to Indigenous Peoples including travel to northern First Nations.

  • Rotations in over 40 Northern urban, rural and remote clinical settings

  • Opportunity for a wide variety of PGY3 enhanced skills options in northern Ontario

  • A unique opportunity for blended hospital­-based and community-based training with first call coverage in most disciplines

  • Early integration as a key member of an interdisciplinary health care team dedicated to professionalism, high quality patient care and excellent medical education

  • A diverse variety of in-patient and outpatient experiences emphasized from the beginning of residency

  • Unparalleled preceptor support from physician faculty and preceptors whose primary focus is patient care and teaching

  • Commitment to resident learning

  • Financial support for resident travel to and from core clinical placements away from the home base and all mandatory educational activities at non home base locations

  • Housing support for core rotations away from home base and primary residence for up to 6 months per academic year

  • Opportunities to participate in a scholarly activity, including research and quality imporvement, under expert guidance

  • Funding available for research, professional development and conference participation

  • Access to advanced technology and informatics that allows 24/7 access to electronic search engines, and electronic indexes, as well as an extensive collection of electronic medical/health journals and textbooks

  • Exceptional lifestyle balance with a wide variety of outstanding northern Ontario recreational opportunities

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 2 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

Program Overview

The NOSM Family Medicine program is an accredited program of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC). We follow the Triple C competency-based curriculum in all of our training streams. Utilizing the CanMEDS-FM competencies, along with the CFPC's Priority Topics and Skills Dimensions, our curriculum is build with community Family Medicine in mind. All of our rotations are largely community based, with several opportunities within our hospitals. The vast majority of teaching is provided by Family Physicians. Comprehensiveness of practice, along with continuity of care and education are central to our work. Depending on the stream, the approach to the scheduling of clinical experiences will vary.  All Family Medicine residents will receive ongoing coaching and feedback, both informally and formally through our workplace-based assessment methods. Regularly scheduled periodic reviews provide an opportunity for self-reflection and coaching from a Competency Coach.  Candidates who are self-directed and engage in reflective practice are particularly suited to our residency program.

Clinical Curriculum

The NOSM Family Medicine Clinical Curriculum incorporates a diversity of experience and proficiency in areas integral to community-based Family Practice.  Each resident will spend significant time in the community practice of Family Medicine preceptors. Residents participate in all aspects of the practice, including provision of continuous care to their own patients within the practice and participation in the care of all in-­hospital patients within the practice whenever possible.  Participation in the care of the practice’s patients in multiple environments including the hospital, patient’s home and other scenarios is encouraged.

Domains of Care Curriculum Objectives

Across the Life Cycle




  • Care of Children and Adolescents
  • Care of Adults
  • Care of Elderly
  • Maternal and Newborn Care
  • Men’s Health
  • Palliative Care
  • Women’s Health
Care of Underserved Patients
  • Behavioural Medicine & Mental Health
  • Global Health & Care of Vulnerable and Underserviced
Procedural Skills
  • Procedural and Surgical Skills

Throughout the program, elective rotations provide additional flexibility and enable residents to tailor their training to achieve competence in the domains of care and their individual learning objectives not met by immersions in the regular core rotations. Diversity of experience during elective rotations is encouraged and recognized as being extremely valuable.

Sample Clinical Rotation Schedule

Below is the typical NOSM Family Medicine Program Clinical Curriculum, represented in weeks. Due to the needs of the communities, some of the program streams will demonstrate slight differences in curriculum.

Note:  Family physicians (preceptors) who do not do hospital rounds – residents are required to do three (3) additional weeks of Internal Medicine.

  • North Bay = NBAY
  • Rural Northern Ontario = RURAL
  • Sault Ste. Marie = SSM
  • Sudbury = SUD
  • Thunder Bay = TBAY
  • Timmins = TIMM
  • Remote First Nations = RFN









Family Medicine 16  - 16 16 16 14
Family Medicine Rural 8 24 8 8 8 8 16
Internal Medicine 4 4 4 4 4 6 8
Emergency Medicine 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Obstetrics/Women’s Health 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Mental Health 4 4 4 4 4 2 8
Pediatrics 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Anesthesia  - -  -  - - 1
Geriatrics  - -  -  - - 1
Electives 8 8 8 8 8 8 8










Family Medicine 16  - 16 16 16 12 24
Family Medicine Rural 8 24 8 8 8 8 -
Internal Medicine 4 4 4 4 4 6 -
Emergency Medicine 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Addictions/Pain Management  -  - - - 4
Psychiatry  -  -  - - - 8
Obstetrics/Women’s Health 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Surgical Selective 4 4 4 4 4 - -
General Surgery - - - - - 2 -
Orthopedics - - - - - 1 -
Otorhinolaryngology - - - - - 1 -
Pediatrics 4 - - - - - -
Geriatrics - - - - - 1 -
Dermatology - - - - - 1 -
Electives 8 12 12 12 12 12 8


Academic Program

The Family Medicine academic program consists of academic sessions, courses, and retreats. At this time, protected time every week affords a half day of teaching, separate from clinical duties. These sessions will cover the vast majority of CFPC's Priority Topics, along with some hands-on skills including simulations, procedural skills and other small group learning. Due to the pandemic, we have moved to a virtual method of delivery, with an eye to come together occasionally for mini-retreats at the end of blocks. In the first year of residency, all residents will participate in the Core Curriculum offered to all NOSM residents, across all specialties, which will cover key topics such as the Resident as Teacher, Indigenous health, medical errors and patient safety, etc. In addition, specific sessions in second year will be tailored to preparation for CFPC examination.

The NOSM program also provides financial support for residents to obtain certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP).  Residents are also provided with some financial support to attend other courses or conferences such as Family Medicine Forum and Society of Rural Physicians Rural and Remote Medicine Conference.

Other learning sessions, virtual or in-person, are scattered throughout the year to address learning needs.

We value the importance of Wellness and encourage protected time for residents to gather and dialogue with each other on a regular basis.

Scholarly Activity

While the role of Scholar will evolve throughout the two-year program, a number of activities are planned in the program:

  • Scholarly activity, including research and quality improvement (QI), supported by a Tutor
  • Ongoing didactic and small group sessions focused on Evidence-Based Medicine, Research and Quality Improvement
  • The opportunity to participate in Resident Research Day, where everyone will share their Scholarly Activity with peers.

These activities contribute to the development of effective teaching practices, formulating and investigating scholarly questions, and disseminating and communicating knowledge to professional audiences.  Residents also contribute to the quality improvement of the Family medicine program by providing feedback on the clinical experiences and academic curriculum; this data is collected and utilized by the program to augment the overall program curriculum.  


Training Sites

MOTP applicants who match to the NOSM FM Program MOTP-designated stream will be assigned to a home-base location (options listed below) based on the resident's choice, as site capacity allows.

Candidates are encouraged to have 2-3 communities in mind as possible home-base locations, and the program will make every effort to accommodate each resident's first choice request.

  • Northern Ontario Family Medicine Streams: 

    • North Bay
    • Sault Ste. Marie
    • Sudbury
    • Thunder Bay
    • Timmins
    • Rural - encompassing NOSM distributed clerkship sites, and other rural northern Ontario communities.

Rural Stream Communities

    • Blind River
    • Bracebridge 
    • Dryden 
    • Fort Frances 
    • Hearst 
    • Huntsville 
    • Kapuskasing 
    • Kenora 
    • Manitoulin Island
    • Parry Sound
    • Sioux Lookout 
    • Temiskaming Shores 
    • Other rural northern Ontario communities may also be considered as potential home-base locations, subject to preceptor availability/as site capacity allows. 

Additional Information

To learn more about northern Ontario, please visit the "Wider Campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine" webpage. 

To learn more about our Program - visit us at


Summary of changes

SUMMARY ID Section Summary of changes Updated on NOTIFY APPLICANTS SECTION NAME Actions