McMaster University - Vascular Surgery - Hamilton

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

Last approved on December 01, 2021

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. John Harlock
Department of Surgery - Vascular Surgery  
McMaster University  
1280 Main St. West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4L8
905-521-2100 Ext 44453
Vascular Surgery

Program Contacts

Andrea Howe
Senior Education Associate
905-521-2100 x 44453

Dr John Harlock
Program Director

Important Information

 Please refer to the CaRMS website for provincial eligibility information CaRMS Ontario Provincial Criteria.  It is important to review the requirements carefully.

To learn more about the program, upcoming informational events and the McMaster PGME community please visit:

General Instructions

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)
• Canadian Citizenship Card (both sides of card)

Proof of valid current citizenship or permanent resident status must be provided by submitting one of the following verifications to CaRMS by the File Review Opening deadline. Failure to provide valid proof will result in your application being removed. No other forms of verification are acceptable:

  1. Notarized/certified photocopy of Birth Certificate/Act of Birth issued by an authority in Canada accompanied by photo ID (must be valid Canadian government-issued photo ID).
  2. Documents must be notarized/certified photocopies. Notarized/certified copies must not be older than two years from the application submission deadline; otherwise, a new notarized/certified copy is required.
  3. Confirmation of permanent residence must be accompanied by a photo ID (must be a valid Canadian government-issued photo ID).
Reference documents
Number requested: 3
Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Order from your Registrar.

Personal Letter 

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Custom Résumé / CV 

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's office.

Medical School Diploma 

Please note: Required if Medical school has been completed.

Optional - will be reviewed
MCCQE Part I - Statement of Results 

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

Reference letters from the institution/discipline will not be required for consideration of interview in light of covid-19 restrictions on electives.



  • March 7, 2022
Interviews will be held via Zoom on Monday, March 7th 2022. Applicants will be contacted directly with schedule and zoom link details.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Interviews will take place on one day and will consist of the individual being interviewed by 1 or 2 teams consisting of faculty members and residents.

Selection Criteria

Candidates are graded based on their academic records, the curriculum vitae, the CaRMS application, the strength of the references and electives completed. Candidates are encouraged to undertake an elective at McMaster University, Division of Vascular Surgery.

Program goals

Our program is a growing residency program dedicated to the delivery of quality and contemporary vascular surgery care to our patients. As a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada accredited training program in Vascular Surgery our commitment extends to the education and development of current and future leaders in the management of vascular disease.

It is our objective and our mission to provide comprehensive and current care to patients with arterial, venous, and lymphatic disease. Additionally, all residents are will partake in academics and extra-curriculars beyond the surgical requirements, and explore interests in medical education, research, and/or administrative studies, with the eventual goal of having a career in vascular surgery that extends beyond the operating room.

Selection process goals

Our program is best suited for applicants who have demonstrated a strong interest in Vascular Surgery. You must show a continual desire to learn and improve, along with a thirst for knowledge. Hard-work and a strong work ethic are highly sought after.

A keen interest in research and/or other academic endeavours are strongly recommended. Successful applicants will also highlight extra-curricular activities that show them to be well-rounded individuals, with interests and hobbies beyond the clinical realm.  

File review process

Review team composition : Residency selection committee -
Min. two vascular surgeons; program director, faculty attending
Min. two senior residents

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Awards, accomplishments, and highlighted extra-curriculars.
Electives Candidates must demonstrate that they have clinical experience to ensure they are making an informed decision about entering a surgical specialty.
Examinations We do not evaluate this component.
Extra-curricular Highlight activities that demonstrate hobbies and interests outside of medicine and surgery.
Leadership skills Experience in leading teams in a variety of settings.
MSPRs Must not have any remarks of concerns or issues with professionalism.
Personal letters Highlight how and why you chose vascular surgery. Demonstrate a strong interest.
Reference documents Prefer at least two from vascular surgeons.
Research/Publications Not mandatory, but strongly suggested.
Transcripts Must not have any failed rotations or remarks of concerns.
Other file component(s) Notes on CV: We consider the awards, accomplishments and highlighted extra-curriculars to be the most important after personal letters and reference documents.

Elective criteria

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
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Understands the importance of working in a team, and how to interact with potentially difficult persons.
Collegiality Kind, respectful, and professional. Good listening skills.
Communication skills Clear and concise. Rationale and reasoning for answers verbalized.
Health advocacy We do not evaluate this interview component.
Interest in the discipline We do not evaluate this interview component.
Interest in the program We do not evaluate this interview component.
Leadership skills Demonstrate understanding of nuances of leading a group of diverse individuals. Especially in a crisis.
Professionalism Dress in professional and appropriate attire. Evidence of good moral reasoning in face of difficult situations.
Scholarly activities Interest is weighed.

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 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 residency training rotation plan is designed for the achieve of competencies in the Entrustable Professional Acts (EPAs) in Vascular Surgery under the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

McMaster University provides an initial boot camp in Surgical Foundations to better prepare new trainees for residency.  We also support our trainees to complete specialty boot camp, as well as ATLS and ACLS courses.  We believe that a solid foundation will lead to a more successful residency.

PGY 1 and 2

There are two years of foundational training in surgery. At the completion of the two years, all the residents are required to pass the principles of surgery examinations and the MCCQE part II examinations. Throughout the first two years the resident will have the opportunity to rotate through 8 blocks of Vascular surgery, 2 blocks Internal Medicine subspecialties Nephrology and Cardiology, 2 blocks General Surgery (ACS & HPB), 2 blocks Plastic Surgery, 2 blocks Emergency Medicine, 1 block Vascular Medicine, 2 blocks Cardiac Surgery, 3 blocks Intensive Care, 1 block Coronary Care Unit, and 3 blocks elective.


Throughout the third year, the resident will have an opportunity to rotate through 8 blocks Vascular Surgery, 4 blocks of Community Vascular Surgery, 2 blocks Vascular Radiology/Non Invasive Vascular lab and 1 block of selective/research. 


Throughout the fourth year, the resident will have the opportunity to rotate through 11 blocks of Vascular Surgery and 2 blocks of Interventional Radiology.

Chief Residency begins at PGY4 1/2 in Vascular Surgery at McMaster University.  We believe our residents are competent for the this role at this stage.  This timing also allows for focused training and study time for exam preparations in the final 6 months of training.


Throughout the fifth year the resident will have the opportunity to rotate through Vascular Surgery at Hamilton General Hospital and electives during the Transition to Practice stage.


Residents will be required to complete two research projects throughout their training-one while being a junior resident in Surgical Foundations and another as a senior level resident. Residents will have much time and support for scholarly activity, including research. There are regular research committee meetings for our staff and residents where research goals and methods for our program are discussed. Also, the McMaster Surgeon Scientist Program (SSP) operates as part of McMaster's CIP.

Education Sessions

All residents will be required to attend the vascular teaching rounds from 0730-0830 each Wednesday at the Hamilton General Hospital or via Zoom. 

PGY-1 and PGY-2 residents will be required to attend Surgical Foundations each Wednesday from 0900-1200 at McMaster University Medical Centre. All residents attend academic half day each Thursday afternoon (currently both in person and via Zoom). All residents will be required to attend the journal clubs throughout the year.

Two OSCE's (practice orals) are held each academic year, with residents graded for training level in order to assist in preparation for final certification examinations.  Practice oral exams are scheduled for the PGY5 residents with faculty.  McMaster provides an annual in-training exam for all vascular residents each winter (VSITE).

In addition, residents are required to present at the Annual Vascular Surgery Research Day. 

Training Sites


There are two teaching institutions involved with the vascular surgery program. These are the Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and St. Joseph's Hospital. All of the mandatory rotations will take place at these institutions. Hamilton Health Sciences incorporates the Hamilton General Hospital where the bulk of the vascular surgery occurs.  The are some rotations completed at Juravinski Hospital which is closely affiliated with the cancer centre.

The Division of Vascular Surgery encompasses a comprehensive regional program.  Its clinical activities are divided between Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, primarily at the Hamilton General Hospital site, as well as St. Joseph's Healthcare. The program serves the regional community of 2.5 million people for all primary and secondary vascular surgical needs. It also functions as a major tertiary and quaternary referral centre for Southern Ontario. It is now recognized as a Canadian referral centre for thoracoabdominal aortic reconstructions and complex thoracic aortic reconstructions as a whole.

Our Mission: 

To be recognized as a regional and national centre of excellence in the care and teaching of both simple and complex vascular surgery cases including thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair.

Division Profile:

The Division of Vascular Surgery was amalgamated to one site, the Hamilton General Hospital in 1997 leading to a rapid advancement as a centre of excellence in vascular surgery.

Vascular Surgery's presence in Hamilton is mainly at two sites: the Hamilton General and St Joseph's Hospital with coverage of the surrounding Hamilton-Wentworth and Niagara/Cambridge regions.

The Division of Vascular Surgery at the Hamilton General has one of the highest volumes of surgical cases for vascular surgery in Canada. As such, it is an ideal site for the educational experience of medical students and surgical residents.

A centre of excellence:

Our surgeons provide comprehensive and current care to patients with arterial, venous, and lymphatic disease.  This care encompasses the diagnosis, investigation, treatment and follow-up of all vascular disorders whether they are common or rare, routine or complex. Over the years our referral population has expanded well beyond Hamilton and area hospitals and we now serve as a regional referral centre for patients from Niagara, Haldimand-Norfolk, Brant and Halton. We are also often asked to provide emergency and or complex care for patients throughout the province. The Division of Vascular Surgery actively collaborates with and supports many of the other McMaster University Regional programs including Trauma, Hemodialysis and Renal Transplant, Cardiac Surgery and Surgical Oncology. Our division members with diverse interests and training, collectively bring an extensive experience and skillset capable of addressing any or all challenges in vascular surgery.

Beyond the clinical realm we are actively involved with clinical and educational research.  In particular we enjoy an excellent relationship with the internationally renowned research group at the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute and are especially privileged to have been endowed with the Beamish Family Chair in Vascular Surgery which provides invaluable support for our academic activities. Our surgeons have played and continue to play leadership administrative roles with provincial and national organizations such as the Ontario Medical Association, The Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Summary of changes

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