University of British Columbia - Psychiatry - Vancouver Island

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

Last approved on September 17, 2021

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Irfan Khanbhai
PGE Psychiatry UBC 
Office 11167, Diamond Health Care Centre 
2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, British Columbia, V5Z 1M9
604-875-4111, local 68451
Vancouver Island Psychiatry Program
UBC Psychiatry CaRMS Information Page

Program Contacts

Vancouver Island
Dr. Alison Gregson
Vancouver Island Track Associate Program Director

Vancouver Island
Monika Spence
Vancouver Island Senior Program Assistant
250-370-8111 Ext. 17088

Psychiatry PGE
Linda Chang
Education Program Coordinator
604-875-4111 68102

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Supporting Documentation

Applicants are advised to only provide the documents requested by the program. No other documents submitted will be reviewed.
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
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

Required documents for ALL applicants

Canadian Citizenship

The province of British Columbia will accept one of the following notarized/certified documents as proof of the citizenship/permanent residency and is required for all types of applicants. Photocopies are accepted but, citizenship documents other than what is listed below are not accepted.  Proof of citizenship/permanent residency must be submitted to CaRMS by the File Review deadline.  No allowances for late submission.

  • Canadian Birth Certificate
  • Canadian Passport
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate
  • Canadian Citizen Card (both sides)
  • Current Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides)
Language proficiency
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General


If you graduated from an English medical school in Canada (including McGill) or the US, you are exempt from providing proof of language proficiency.

Candidates who attended medical school in Quebec or the University of Ottawa where the language of instruction or the primary language of patient care was not English, must fulfill the English Language Proficiency requirements of the College of Physicians of Surgeons of BC as identified below.   This requirement is the same for IMGs and is required by the start of the Ranking Period.


The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC requires applicants to be proficient in the English language.

The Registration Committee may determine that an applicant has demonstrated English language proficiency if the following conditions are met:

  • The primary language of medical education was English, and
  • The primary language of patient care was English.

Applications received by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC on or before June 30, 2022, who have not met the above requirements will require one of: IELTS Academic examination, OET Medicine Examination or CELPIP General Examination for licensing (see criteria below).  As such, applicants must submit the proof of English language proficiency to CaRMS by the start of Ranking Period. Photocopies are acceptable.

  • IELTS Academic - Minimum score of 7 in each component.
  • IELTS scores are valid for a period of 2 years from the date taken.
  • OET Medicine Examination - Minimum grade of B in each component.
  • OET results are valid for a period of 2 years from the date taken.
  • CELPIP General Examination - Minimum score of 9 in each component.
  • CELPIP results are valid for a period of two years from the date taken.

Please note that results from these three examinations cannot be mixed. Candidates must meet all of the criteria in either the IELTS, OET or CELPIP examination.

Applicants are advised to review the College of Physicians and Surgeons English Language Proficiency Requirements here:


Reference documents
Number requested: 3
Three letters of reference are required, at least one of which should be from a psychiatrist familiar with your recent clinical work.
Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your Registrar

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's office

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

A personal letter is required (1500 word maximum). This should outline who you are; how you became interested in psychiatry; what characteristics you would bring to the program; your understanding of the practice of psychiatry; potential plans upon completing the Residency Program and your reasons for choosing UBC.

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


All interviews will now be done virtually and interviews are scheduled on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, March 2, 2022
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022
  • Wednesday, March 9, 2022
Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Candidates will be pre-screened and those who are short-listed for a virtual interview will be contacted by e-mail. Applicants must respond to our invitation for an interview within three working days of being contacted in order to be scheduled. Telephone interviews are not an option unless there is a connection issue during the virtual interview. The interview process, which takes place over one full day, is as follows:

  • Interviews will be conducted via Zoom
  • Morning virtual program orientation meeting with PGE Program Director and Resident Reps from each track (1 hour group meeting).
  • Interview process will consist of:
    • 10-minute Program Director Interview;
    • 10-minute Mini Interview assessing communication, organization, collaboration and professionalism skills with two to three members of the Selections Committee, and;
    • 15-minute Panel Interview with two to three members of the Selections Committee
  • If applicable, 15-minute Prince George Associate Program Director Interview
  • If applicable, Research Track Interviews:
    • 30-minute meeting with the Research Track Associate Program Director and;
    • 45-minute panel interview with the Research Track Committee
  • Only applicable to IMG candidates: 20-minute IMG Oversight Director Interview
  • Virtual Greet and Meet with Faculty and Resident Reps (1 hour): Candidates will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from different aspects of the programs (Addiction Psychiatry, General and ER Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, etc.) and Resident Representatives from different tracks.

Selection Criteria

Criteria include: diversity of experience, notable personal endeavour(s), motivation to become a psychiatrist, knowledge about psychiatry as a career, academic track record, creativity/interests outside of medicine, capacity for self-evaluation, ability to relate to others/relationships, open-mindedness/adaptability vs. rigidity, problem-solving ability, sense of responsibility/maturity, psychiatry marks/performance

Program goals

The Postgraduate Training Program of the Department of Psychiatry, UBC will assist its students in developing the required knowledge, skills and attitudes of a current, expert, general Psychiatrist and will enable them to fulfill, with a high degree of professionalism, the expanded roles of Medical Expert, Communicator, Collaborator, Leader, Health Advocate, Scholar, and Professional (Psychiatry Competencies 2020). Attainment of these goals, the CanMEDS competencies as well as the Competence By Design Entrustable Professional Activities will be regularly measured by rotation specific objectives and workplace based assessments.  Over the residency, we will assist residents in completing each stage of the Program, fulfilling the required training experiences and passing the certification examination of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Selection process goals

Identify applicants interested in Psychiatry, and those who will develop into exceptional and well-rounded Psychiatrists.

Identify applicants who have demonstrated ability to interact appropriately with patients, colleagues, and healthcare team members alike.

Identify applicants who have demonstrated clinical excellence and are able to think systematically and multidimensionally.

Identify applicants who have demonstrated attributes highlighted in the Psychiatry Competencies 2020 roles.

Identify applicants who have demonstrated ability and enthusiasm to learn and are able to adapt to the various demands of residency training.

Identify applicants who have a sincere interest to serve British Columbians.

File review process

Review team composition : Our review team is composed of 1 Program Director, 5 Associate Program Directors, 30-35 faculty (including faculty at distributed sites), and 20-25 senior residents.

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Not mandatory to provide CV, but if included: research, publications, electives
Electives Clinical evaluations (in particular those from our specialty)
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular Volunteering (medical and non medical) and mentoring
Leadership skills Holding office in a student government, club or organization
MSPRs Demonstrated interpersonal skills
Personal letters Why do you think psychiatry is a good fit for you. Why is British Columbia a good fit for you. Tell us about yourself in a way that is authentic, creative and elicits our interest in accepting you to our program.
Reference documents Positive interaction with colleagues and patients. Interest in discipline. Work ethic. Professionalism. Scholarly ability
Research/Publications Interest in participating in future research projects
Transcripts Academic performance
Other file component(s) For IMGs only:
• IMG Clinical Assessment Program (CAP) results
• Written and passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE) Part 1
• Written and passed National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination

Elective criteria

We encourage applicants to have completed at least one elective in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :

We may accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure, or unforeseen circumstances.

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 Ability to speak and write in English
Health advocacy None
Interest in the discipline Demonstrated interest and ability in the specialty; evidence for compassion
Interest in the program Demonstrated interest in program, setting, and in serving British Columbians
Leadership skills Ability to initiate programs, lead organizations or groups, and make an impact
Professionalism Correspondence with staff and chief residents; behavior during interview and with staff and members of the committee
Scholarly activities Evaluate research completed especially for Research Track applicants

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

Victoria has a population of around 380,000 and is the largest medical centre on Vancouver Island. This offers residents a full range of training options with the benefit of a smaller, more personalized program. Residents can be assured of the time and attention they require to maximize their learning.

The residency program is based primarily at the Royal Jubilee Hospital where the Psychiatric Emergency Service (Archie Courtnall Centre), Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, Victoria Mental Health Centre, and all of the adult and geriatric psychiatry inpatient units are located. Residents are likely to see patients across emergency, inpatient and outpatient rotations.  Other teaching sites include various community sites, Victoria General Hospital, Queen Alexandra Hospital (Child Psychiatry), the Urgent Short Term Assessment Clinic, Saanich Peninsula Hospital (Geriatric Psychiatry) and Homewood Ravensview (Addictions Psychiatry). The inpatient units are located in the recently-opened Patient Care Centre (PCC). This is a state-of-the-art, world-class facility that offers an ideal learning environment. There are many interview rooms, teaching spaces, and seminar rooms - most of which are equipped with high speed videoconferencing links.

In 2015, a brand new Simulation Centre opened at Coronation Annex at Royal Jubilee Hospital. This Centre has offered a palpable enhancement to student and resident learning in Victoria, and also provides additional space for clinical work, teaching, and collaboration in the various spaces throughout the Centre.

The program still maintains close linkages with the other UBC Psychiatry Residents in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, Richmond, and Fraser Valley) through the Thursday Academic Days for PGY2-5. Residents attend most of these sessions by videoconference, but once a month, the Victoria residents travel to Vancouver to join the seminars in person - often by float plane or Helijet. Victoria-based residents also have frequent opportunities to travel to Vancouver for other special academic and social events enjoyed by the entire UBC program.

Victoria offers an exceptional lifestyle with easy access to many recreational and cultural activities. Residents have access to facilities and events at the University of Victoria, which is only a few minutes away from the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Outdoor activities include world class cycling, hiking, and kayaking. People come from around the world to hike the West Coast Trail, or explore the world heritage site at Cape Scott. Vancouver Island also offers excellent opportunities to enhance Indigenous cultural awareness.

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.

Academic Curriculum

The academic curriculum is currently under modification as the implementation of Competency By Design has starting in July 2020.  The residency program is divided into 4 stages: Transition to Discipline, Foundations, Core (of Discipline) and Transition to Practice.  Seminars in the first stage will occur in the first month as an introduction to initial aspects of psychiatric practice including the basics of psychiatric interviewing, diagnosis, formulation and basic management plan.  Foundations which will subsume the remainder of PGY1 and all of PGY2, will attend to the foundational aspects of psychiatry.  Then, in Core (PGY3 and 4), more complex syndromes are examined as well as those specifically related to Child and Geriatric Psychiatry.  Academic seminars are held for a full day each Thursday for the Residents at the PGY2, PGY3, and PGY4 training levels. The academic day for PGY1 Residents is provided monthly at the home program. Residents are excused from their clinical responsibilities for the day to attend this integrated series of seminars covering all aspects of psychiatry. The Royal College exam will occur at the end of Core (end of PGY4) leaving the Transition to Practice PGY5 Residents with a flexible program with several seminars given for preparation of clinical practice. The academic program is designed to meet the standards of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. 

The morning curriculum for the PGY2 Residents is designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to General Adult Psychiatry. The initial two month block is a seminar series covering Emergency Psychiatry. The PGY3 curriculum is designed to cover some psychiatric syndromes in greater depth and special areas in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. The PGY4 curriculum is designed to provide residents with in depth knowledge of major clinical syndromes and special areas in psychiatry including Consultation-Liaison, Schizophrenia, Forensic Psychiatry, Reproductive Psychiatry, etc. 

The comprehensive Psychotherapy curriculum covering all validated treatment modalities runs on Thursday afternoons; in the PGY2 year this covers basic psychotherapy skills and increases in complexity and diversity in the PGY3 and PGY4 years.

Clinical rotations mandated by the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada

Transition to Discipline (First month of PGY1)

Foundations (General Medical and required Psychiatry Rotations the remainder of PGY1)

Foundations (PGY2 - Adult Inpatient (6 months) and Adult Outpatient (6 months))

Core (PGY3 - Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (6 months))

Core (PGY3-Geriatric Psychiatry (6 months))

Core (PGY4-Consultation-Liaison (3 months))

Core (PGY4-Chronic Care (6 months, minimum 2 days per week))

Core (PGY4-Addiction Psychiatry (3 months))

Core (PGY4-Emergency Psychiatry (2 months)

Transition to Practice (PGY5-Selectives (6 months, no less than 3 months per rotation))

Transition to Practice (PGY5-Electives (6 months, no less than 2 months per rotation))

Concurrent & Longitudinal

Occurring within the sixty months of residency, training will include:

Training in empirically supported psychotherapeutic approaches. This must involve 2 years of weekly longitudinal psychodynamic psychotherapy, a minimum of 4-6 months of weekly CBT+IPT and a minimum of 4-6 months of either family or group psychotherapy, preferably both. Training in empirically supported psychotherapeutic approaches must be documented and evaluated separately from other rotations.

PGY1 (Transition to Discipline and Foundations)

Training occurs at Royal Jubilee Hospital. There is coordination between the PGY1 Training Director at the hospital site and the Residency Program Directors. The initial rotation will occur in a Psychiatry setting to complete the initial two Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs). Rotations include one block of Internal Medicine, one block of Family Medicine, one block of Pediatrics, one block of Neurology, one block of Neuroanatomy, one block of Emergency Medicine, one block of Emergency Psychiatry, one block of Consult-Liaison, one block of Addictions Psychiatry, and one block of Addictions Medicine. The remaining three blocks can be taken as electives or selectives.

PGY2 (Foundations)

Training consists of twelve months of Adult Psychiatry in an inpatient/outpatient setting.  The inpatient experience occurs at Royal Jubilee Hospital and outpatient experience at Victoria Mental Health Centre and/or the Urgent Short Term Assessment and Treatment Clinic.

PGY3 (Core)

Training consists of six months of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and six months of Geriatric Psychiatry at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, and/or Ledger House and Anscomb at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, as well as a variety of outpatient clinics throughout Greater Victoria.

PGY4 (Core)

Training consists of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Emergency Psychiatry, Chronic Care Psychiatry and one elective. Training is not restricted to the home track, but can occur in any track across the province on a first come first serve basis, and there can be consideration of a rotation out of province under special circumstances.

PGY5 (Transition to Practice)

During this period the resident assumes more leadership in the education and supervision of junior colleagues while consolidating and further developing a career track interest through electives and selectives including research.

Training consists of six months each of Selectives and Electives. Selectives are limited to Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine, psychiatric research, the psychotherapies, Addictions, developmental disabilities and psychiatry in rural and/or remote locations. Electives should involve any aspect of training relevant to contemporary psychiatric practice, including research approved by the Residency Training Committee. Electives may consist of an approved rotation in Internal Medicine, Neurology or other branch of medicine relevant to psychiatry.


A wide variety of electives are offered along with flexibility in splitting these electives and/or arranging new ones. There are opportunities to spend all or part of the elective year in an approved residency program anywhere in North America or abroad in the following areas:

-Anxiety Disorders

-Child Psychiatry

-Chronic Pain-Civil Forensics

-Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

-Concurrent Disorders


-Cross Cultural Psychiatry

-Early Psychosis

-Eating Disorders

-Forensic Psychiatry

-Gender Dysphoria Clinic

-Geriatric Psychiatry

-Group Psychotherapy

-Infant Mental Health

-Mood Disorders Program


-Personality Disorders


-Refractory Psychosis

-Reproductive Psychiatry

-Sexual Medicine

-Sleep Disorders

-Student Health Services  

Subspecialty Stream

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry - 2 year program beginning in PGY5

Geriatric Psychiatry - 2 year program beginning in PGY5

Forensic Psychiatry - 1 year program in PGY6


Emphasis is placed on research throughout the program and is required through the following process:

With the help of the Director of Research and Scholarly Activity, Dr. Erin Michalak, residents are required to be involved in a scholarly activity from the onset of their training. Dr. Michalak's designate in different tracks facilitates liaison between residents and specific research mentors and assists them with new and ongoing research projects, writing up cases, and literature reviews.

There are 2 CaRMS matched Research Track positions which allow for 1 day per week of protected research time in PGY2-5 years.

Non Research Track residents may apply for ½ day per week for a more complex research project at any time from  their PGY2 year until its completion.

In addition to 2 CaRMS matched Research Track positions, 2 more Research Track positions will be available after PGY1.

Annual Research Day: the department awards prizes for the best clinical and basic science papers submitted by residents.

Any resident may apply for permission to do six or twelve months in a research selective in their final year.

Opportunities for research exist in all areas.

Training Sites

Through an integrated program of clinical placements and academic seminars, the UBC program is designed to achieve the goals of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the University of British Columbia. Clinical placements for all tracks include:

General Hospitals

Vancouver Hospital (VGH)

St. Paul's Hospital (SPH)

Richmond Hospital (RH)

Peace Arch Hospital (PAH)

BC Children's Hospital (BCCH)

Lion's Gate Hospital (LGH)

Mount St. Joseph's Hospital (MSJH)

Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH)

Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH)

Burnaby Hospital (BH)

University of British Columbia Hospital (UBCH)

Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria (RJH)

Victoria General Hospital, Victoria (VGH)

Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health, Victoria (QA)

University Hospital of Northern BC, Prince George (UHNBC)

Special Training Sites

-The Vancouver Community Mental Health System (VCMHS) is comprised of community-based, multi-disciplinary mental health teams catering to the needs of clients suffering from chronic mental illness.

-BC Children's Hospital is the tertiary care pediatric hospital for the Province of British Columbia.

-Specialized Geriatric Psychiatric Services are offered through Mount St. Joseph's Hospital, VGH, Richmond Hospital, Lion's Gate Hospital, VCMHS.

-Outreach Community Placement provides training in general community psychiatry in areas outside of Vancouver, designated rural sites in the province and outreach facilities providing consultation to outlying areas in the province on a regular basis. Funding is available to residents who pursue this anytime in their PGY2-5 years.

-Forensic Services is affiliated with the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission and provides extensive clinical experience in the assessment and treatment of adults in conflict with the law. Residents may choose to do their Chronic Care rotation at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital. There are also opportunities for civil forensics, outpatient forensics, Outreach placements and research.

-The Psychiatric Assessment Unit (PAU) in VGH is a unique emergency service within Canada. It is designed with a crisis stabilization model in mind, providing assessments to the ER, immediate intervention, containment & stabilization, and short-term triaging of patients. It is located adjacent to the Emergency Department at VGH, and consists of 14 beds with 2 seclusion rooms. The staff is comprised of 8 psychiatrists of varied backgrounds, but who all have expertise in ER psychiatry.

-Clinical investigation units dedicated to research, evaluation and clinical service are well established in Mood Disorders at VGH and Refractory Psychosis at UBC Hospital.

-The Neuropsychiatry Unit at UBC evaluates and treats disorders of mood, behaviour, cognition and intellect produced by disturbances in brain structure and function. A fundamental goal is the understanding of how the brain mediates neuropsychiatric illness.

-The Reproductive Psychiatry Program, based at BC Women's Hospital, SPH, RCH and SMH, evaluates and treats women with psychiatric problems associated with their reproductive years.

-The Sleep Disorders Program is a multidisciplinary program based at University Hospital with inpatient/outpatient programs involved in the assessment and evaluation of sleep disorders.

-The Division of Sexual Medicine provides clinical services to patients with sexual dysfunctions and gender dysphoria through the Centre for Sexuality, Gender Identity, and Reproductive Health at VGH. The Sexual Medicine Consultation Clinic is part of VCMHS and provides consultation services to both patients with severe mental illness and their therapists. Both sites also provide opportunities for education and research.

-St. Paul's Hospital offers residency training opportunities in the assessment and management of patients with HIV-related psychiatric illnesses.

-The Eating Disorders Clinic at SPH evaluates and treats disorders associated with eating through inpatient/outpatient and outreach programs.

-Hillside Centre in Kamloops provides specialized tertiary services for adult and geriatric patients from the southern and northern interior of BC, while the neuropsychiatry program there provides specialized services for the province, as part of the BC Neuropsychiatry program linked with the UBC site. South Hills Centre in Kamloops provides tertiary psychosocial rehabilitation and sub-acute stabilization for people from throughout the Interior Health Authority with severe, refractory illness in a community setting.

-In the unique setting of Vancouver's multicultural society, the Outpatient Psychiatry Program at VGH offers initial assessments in a variety of languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and Farsi.

-Ledger House located at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health in Victoria provides an excellent range of services to children and youth including short-term crisis intervention, as well as assessment and treatment for complex psychiatric disorders. The clinic is part of an island-wide resource focusing on child, adolescent and family health.

Additional Information

-There are opportunities to pursue interprovincial or international electives.
-Fellowships are available in Neuropsychiatry, Mood Disorders and Addictions.