University of Ottawa - Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery - Ottawa

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on December 09, 2021

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Hussain Alsaffar
Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery 
The Ottawa Hospital - General Campus 
501 Smyth Rd
Ottawa K1H 8L6, Ontario
(613) 737-8899x73041
Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery

Program Contacts

Dr. Hussain Alsaffar/Ms Gabrielle St-Jean Savoie
Program Director/Program Administrator

Important Information

Please be aware the Ministry of Health has mandated all hospital and health care employers establish, implement and ensure compliance with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  The Ministry directive can be reviewed here. Residents matched to any Ontario residency program must ensure they are able to comply with the Ministry directive in order to start training July 1, 2022.  

It is important to understand this is an evolving issue. You are required to review Provincial, Hospital, University and Program information to ensure you are in continued compliance with directives. 

All candidates must meet the Ontario Criteria of Eligibility found here

MCCQE (Medical Council of Canada qualifying examination) Part 1 results

Trainees will be required to disclose their MCCQE Part 1 examination results upon entry into any of the University of Ottawa's training programs. The purpose of this disclosure is to allow for resources to be provided to the few residents who would benefit from extra support early in their residency in an effort to maximize their success.

CBD (Competence by Design)

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: Applying competency-based practices to residency education

To contribute to the success of Canadian physicians and the delivery of high-quality patient care, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has embarked upon an initiative to introduce competency-based medical education (CBME) in Canadian postgraduate specialty training and in professional practice in Canada. This initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD), aims to enhance patient care by aligning medical education and lifelong learning with evolving patient needs and empowering learners to more fully engage in their education process.

CBD will use time as a framework rather than the basis for progression. It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs will be broken down into stages, and each stage will have a series of milestones based on required competencies. These milestones will create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need.

All programs implementing CBD will continue to undergo the same rigorous accreditation processes as traditional programs. All CBD programs (and traditional programs) will continue to lead to Royal College approved certification. Certification for trainees in both CBD and traditional programs will include the completion of a Royal College examination; however, residents in CBD programs will also be assessed against program milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all milestones (documented within an electronic portfolio) and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please contact

Failure to meet or provide proof of any of the stated requirements may result in an applicant’s file not being reviewed or removed from the Rank Order List.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Program application language: English



Supporting Documentation

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
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)
• Proof of pending Canadian citizenship / pending permanent residency
• Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada

Proof of legal status must be submitted to CaRMS by the File Review opening deadline. (Photocopies acceptable). No other forms of verification are acceptable.

The following must be accompanied by photo ID; e.g. driver's license, health card, or other government-issued photo I.D.

  • Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
  • Proof of pending Canadian citizenship/pending permanent residency
Language proficiency
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Letter of language proficiency

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY APPLIES TO CMG's (Canadian Medical Graduates) only if the Medical Degree language of instruction is in FRENCH.

Proof of language proficiency will also be accepted as follows:

Written attestation from the applicant confirming the ability to work in English, both written and spoken.

Important:  It is at the discretion of the program, who may require further proof of a language test or letter from a school official after File Review has begun.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Maximum 3 letters with at least one from non-ENT staff 

Additional documents
Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Word Count: 650-850

Custom Résumé / CV 

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your Registrar.


Medical Student Performance Record 

(Dean’s letter) Order from the Undergraduate Office.

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022



  • March 7, 2022
Interview date: March 7th 2021

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
All applications from CaRMS are reviewed. In February, the candidates are pre-selected for interviews. Interviews will be conducted virtually; We do not encourage applicants to restrict their selection of electives to otolaryngology (this does not add weight to application). There will be 4 interview stations. In one of the virtual room, the candidates will meet the program director and the Departmental Chair.  Two other rooms will involve interviews with other faculty members, and the final room will be the resident interview room.


Selection Criteria

Applicants are assessed in a two-step process:

1. File Review

All applicants will be independently scored by the selection committee and a composite score based on the individual scores will be produced. The top 16 - 20 applicants will be invited for an interview. The file review will comprise 50% of the final candidate mark. Scoring will be based on academic achievement, scholarly activity (research and education), extracurricular activities and reference letters.


2. Interview

Virtual interview format will be used with all candidates cycled through stations of 2-3 interviewers. Each interview station will follow a general theme. Each interviewer will score each candidate and a composite score will be developed based on these scores. The total interview score will comprise 50% of the candidate mark.


-an acceptable academic record

-a clear interest in Otolaryngology

-publication and research in any field as an indication of academic motivation

-reference letters from academic physicians with whom candidates had significant clinical/research experience

- we encourage reference letters from one of the core rotation, e.g. pediatrics, medicine or general surgery 


Program goals

The five-year residency program in Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Ottawa provides the residents with a superb educational experience in the Nation’s Capital.  The Department provides a supportive and collaborative environment for residents to learn all aspects of this surgical discipline.  All aspects of OTL-HNS are well represented in the program from both a curricular and practical experience.  Innovative teaching techniques are used to ensure residents gain early competence in all important areas of practice.  A hallmark of the program is early surgical exposure at junior years allowing residents to quickly gain surgical skills which are the foundation of the practise of OTL-HNS.

The program offers residents this educational experience in a multidisciplinary environment with significant exposure to all CanMEDS roles.  Research is a core element of the experience offering all residents the ability to publish multiple high level papers through their residency.

Selection process goals

Ability to interact appropriately with patients and colleagues in a collegial environment

Interest in Otolaryngology and develop into skilled surgeons and clinicans

Demonstrates abilites in all areas of the CanMEDS roles

Demonstrates ability and enthusiasm to learn and able to adapt to the various demands on an Otolaryngologist

Demonstrates the interest and ability for various research opportunities

File review process

Review team composition : Comprised of Faculty members of the Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, University of Ottawa, including the Program Director, and Department Chair. Also comprised of two senior residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Optional: Evaluate content, including research, publications, electives and awards
Electives Experience in ENT or related fields, clinical performance
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Demonstration of interest outside of medicine
Leadership skills Experience in medical and non-medical leadership (e.g outreach interest )
MSPRs Academic performance
Personal letters Interest in discipline and program location, or other issues candidates want to highlight (Word Count: 650-850)
Reference documents Qualities as expressed in the CanMEDS competencies
Research/Publications Interest in participating in future research projects
Transcripts Academic performance

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Promotion of high-quality patient care through working in a team environment
Collegiality Behavior, attitude, ability to work well with others
Communication skills Articulate and effective professional communication
Health advocacy contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health
Interest in the discipline Demonstrated experience in Otolaryngology care
Interest in the program Training goals aligned with our medium sized training program in a medium sized city
Leadership skills Demonstrates success in leadership opportunities
Professionalism Respectful and ethical professional conduct
Scholarly activities We do not evaluate this interview component (evaluated via file review)

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

We do not consider any information gathered outside of the CaRMS application and local interview processes.

Ranking process

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

Program Highlights

-residency in a dynamic environment with faculty engaged in medical education

-very busy clinical service at all sites of training with high surgical volumes

-all aspects of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery are represented including cochlear implantation, complex pediatric and adult airway management, an oncology robotics program, a busy base of skull program

-protected academic half days with a strong curriculum

-protected research time

-senior residents off call by the end of April in 4th year  until the exam in the fall of 5th year ( average 1 in 7 calls for PGY 2-4 years) -program fully complies with PARO guidelines for home call

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

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

The University of Ottawa training program in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery is a five-year residency program.  The program is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and has been in existence for over 25 years.

This Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery program at the University of Ottawa consists of 1 year of Surgical Foundations training followed by 4 years of specialty training at the University of Ottawa teaching hospitals.

The program’s first year consists of introductory rotations in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.  During this initial rotation, residents rotate at all of our Department’s sites.  This allows residents to become familiar with all team members and faculty. 10 blocks follow this in surgical and nonsurgical disciplines related to our specialty and another 3 in ENT.  These rotations comply with the guidelines of the subspecialty committee in Otolaryngology-Head &Neck Surgery at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  These specialties include ICU, General Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Anesthesiology, Thoracics, Emergency, and recently added Palliative Care.


The 2nd year starts with a senior rotation in the ICU.  This rotation allows the residents to develop certain independence in managing sick patients as they must act as the senior call resident for their unit.  Following this rotation, the residents begin earnest their full-time training within the specialty of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.  This initial year includes rotations at all major teaching hospitals in the role of the junior resident.  The goal of the year is to allow each resident to develop their basic knowledge and skills relating to the specialty.


The 3rd year is marked by the beginning of subspecialty rotations.  During this year, the residents also participate in a community rotation in the location of their choosing.  This allows them to see the full potential of community practice in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery in Canada.  The residents also participate in their first elective rotation.


In the 4th year, the residents rotate in all subspecialties with the University of Ottawa system.  They are gaining a significant amount of surgical independence through the process.  During this year, the residents also have two more elective rotations within the specialty.  The 4th year is also marked as the year residents take on the responsibilities of Chief residents. At the end of the fourth year of training, residents are removed from the night time call schedule to allow them to have increased study time and will resume call duties after their exam. 


In the final year of residency training, the residents have three months of training in Head & Neck Oncology, Rhinology and Otology-Neurotology and one month in Facial Plastic surgery and pediatric otolaryngology.  


Residents will be training in two major academic health science centers affiliated with the University of Ottawa.  The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada's biggest academic health science centers, and all adult patients are seen at one of two main campuses: the General campus and the Civic campus.  The residents also go to the Riverside campus, in which daycare procedures are performed.  The pediatric teaching center is the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). All aspects of pediatric care in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery are performed at this site. During their residency, residents will spend most of their time in one of the Ottawa Hospital campuses and 8 months at CHEO.


The residency program's academic program consists of a three-year subspecialty curriculum that covers all aspects of training in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.  The academic half-day is on Friday mornings, and the sessions are completely faculty-driven.  Block examinations also highlight the program to help residents assess their progress in knowledge acquisition and multiple sessions on non-medical expert topics of importance to residents in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.


Research is also a significant portion of the residency program.  A three-month research block is offered to all residents to enable them to participate and complete projects.  This time can be taken in either the third year or fourth years and can be broken up.   All projects are completed with guidance from a departmental faculty member.  Stipends are given to all residents for presentations of projects at meetings.


Residents in the program also participate in various outreach programs.  The Baffin Island program is a Departmental initiative in which services are offered to the residents of Nunavut.  Four annual trips to Iqaluit are planned. A resident and one faculty member travel to Iqaluit for one week to treat patients suffering from issues relating to the specialty.  The program also participates in the CanHear Uganda initiative. A yearly trip of specialists to Kampala, Uganda, treats patients and teaches residents and faculty surgical skills.  Finally, the department conducts an annual head and neck cancer screening day at Ottawa homeless shelters.  Otolaryngology residents and staff travel to the shelters to perform screening head and neck physical exams for this high-risk population with low healthcare access.

Training Sites


The training is carried out in four teaching hospitals:

-Ottawa Hospital - Civic Campus

-Ottawa Hospital - General Campus

-Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

-Ottawa Hospital - Riverside Campus - Out-patient Facility- attending OR's from both the General and Civic Sites


Summary of changes

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