University of Toronto - Cardiac Surgery - Toronto

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

Last approved on January 17, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Bobby Yanagawa
Cardiovascular Surgery 
8Fl Bond Wing, 30 Bond St 
St Michael's Hospital
Toronto, Ontario, M5B 1W8
416 864 5706
647 938 1781
Division of Cardiac Surgery
PGME at U of T
Provincial Criteria
Institute of Medical Sciences
Surgeon Scientist research programme
Post Graduate Cor-ed
RCPSC Competency by design programme
CaRMS regarding CBD

Program Contacts

Julie Wei
Program Administrator
(416) 340-4800 Ext.5275

Important Information

Please be aware that most, if not all, hospitals and Universities in Ontario have mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies in place that require, in the absence of a valid medical or human rights exemption, proof of vaccination. Acceptable vaccination must be in accordance with Health Canada. You will be required to provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination to the appropriate institution if matched. Failure to comply and provide the appropriate documentation may result in the termination of the contract. These guidelines could change at any time in accordance with future direction from the Ministry of Health or the Universities based on information from Public Health.  

Please note the following new information:

The 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.

Cardiac Surgery programs will adopt CBD in 2019. Thus Residents entering Cardiac Surgery from this year forward will experience CBD-based learning and assessment. As the adoption of this model is refined it will be enhanced to better reflect stakeholder needs.

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

Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. Changes will likely occur as the province and its municipalities adjust to new data about the virus. In these circumstances, please be advised that the manner of delivery of courses, co-curricular opportunities, programs, and services is subject to change, in accordance with university policies. The University thanks its students, faculty, and staff for their flexibility during these challenging times as we work together to maintain the standards of excellence that are the hallmark of the University of Toronto.


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)

Legal Status

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 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 Canadian government-issued photo ID).

CaRMS is partnering with third-party organizations to automate the verification of citizenship/legal status required by postgraduate offices for entry into residency. Third-party verification simplifies the process for applicants and programs. All applicants who do not receive third-party citizenship verification will be required to upload and assign an acceptable proof of citizenship document. Please see additional information here.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Three letters of reference are required. If possible one or more letters from a faculty member in cardiac surgery is helpful but not required. A letter from a senior resident will be accepted.

Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Medical School Transcript 

Medical Student Performance Record 

Obtain from Dean's Office

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Each candidate is expected to write a short letter of application to the program. Please outline any personal history that may be appropriate and relevant to your application. Also state your reasons for choosing cardiac surgery as a career and outline your accomplishments both academic and non-academic as well as your future goals.

Maximum word count: 1000 (no minimum)

Custom Résumé / CV 

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 14, 2022
Interviews will be held virtually.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Personal interviews are an essential part of our candidate selection process. Formal interviews will be granted to candidates shortlisted after review of completed applications by the program director and committee. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted by the program office to arrange an interview.

Shortlisted applicants are interviewed by a selection committee consisting of the division head/educational lead of each cardiac unit, the program director, the program chairman, the research director, undergraduate director and a senior resident. The interview is panel style, for a duration of 20 minutes. Applicants are encouraged to ask members of the committee questions relevant to the program. 

Selection Criteria

-A superior academic record demonstrating special proficiency in subjects related to our specialty

-Candidates should have a proven interest in our specialty, demonstrated by electives or other rotations in cardiothoracic surgery or related fields. 

** We understand that it is not possible for candidates to complete external electives due to COVID. If you do not have CV surgery at your institution and as such did not complete any electives in our field, we will still consider your application. **

-Three references are required. If possible one or more letters from a faculty member in cardiac surgery is helpful but not required.

-Candidates with an interest and/or proven experience in research, either at the level of basic science or clinical research, are encouraged to apply.

Program goals


Our program seeks to train successful cardiac surgeon-scientists. Accordingly, we are looking for a cohort of residents that demonstrate promise to be excellent surgeons, researchers and educators with the potential to become international leaders in cardiac surgery.



Applicants providing evidence of maturity, clinical judgment and technical skill in the CaRMS application file will be prioritized for further consideration. Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate 1) their desire for a career in cardiac surgery, 2) an understanding of a dedication required to become a successful cardiac surgeon, 3) knowledge of the current state and trajectory of our field, 4) their career goals at the time of interviews.

Selection process goals

We are looking for evidence of the following:

  1. Integrity

  2. Clinical Skills

  3. Leadership

  4. Empathy

  5. Team Work

  6. Work Ethic

  7. Academic Productivity or Potential

  8. Community Service



Candidates will be ranked based on:

            33% Application

            33% Interviews

            33% General fit with our program

Final ranks will be determined solely by an aggregate score based on the criteria above. The selection committee reserves the right to adjust final ranking by consensus to address issues of program priority and diversity.

File review process

Review team composition : 1. Division Chair
2. Program Director
3. Chiefs of all major teaching hospitals
4. Jr and Sr resident
5. Other surgical staff

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV We do evaluate this file component
Electives We do evaluate this file component. 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.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular We do evaluate this file component
Leadership skills We do evaluate this file component
MSPRs We do evaluate this file component
Personal letters We do evaluate this file component
Reference documents We do evaluate this file component
Research/Publications We do evaluate this file component
Transcripts We do evaluate this file component

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 do not re-schedule interviews for applicants after we have completed the scheduling process.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills We do evaluate this file component
Collegiality We do evaluate this file component
Communication skills We do evaluate this file component
Health advocacy We do evaluate this file component
Interest in the discipline We do evaluate this file component
Interest in the program We do evaluate this file component
Leadership skills We do evaluate this file component
Professionalism We do evaluate this file component
Scholarly activities We do evaluate this file component
Other interview component(s)  

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

The cardiac surgery residency program at the University of Toronto is the largest and perhaps most diverse of its kind in Canada.  Our vision is to ensure excellence in clinical and academic training of our Residents.  We aim to prepare tomorrow’s leaders in Cardiac Surgery. Our training Program is home to approximately 50 faculty members, over 5 teaching hospitals. We offer outstanding opportunities to engage in research activities. Our faculty members are highly invested in Residency Training and many are opinion leaders in their own subspecialty area. Under the leadership of Dr Terry Yau (Chair) and Dr. Bobby Yanagawa (PD) the Program provides a rich environment for learning and enquiry. The University of Toronto teaching hospitals provide surgical care for a large urban population as well as patients from a vast catchment area and referral network. This arrangement provides outstanding learning opportunities and a breadth of clinical volume that is unsurpassed almost anywhere in North America.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 6 years.

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

The cardiac residency program at the University of Toronto is designed to educate and train residents to become excellent clinical and academic surgeons. Through the availability of a dedicated faculty and extensive clinical and research facilities, the resident will have a broad and complete educational program in preparation for independent practice and research.

The residency program is designed to fulfil the requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for cardiac surgery. ( The program extends over a six year period.

As of 2019-2020, all Cardiac surgical programmes in Canada will commence a competency-based curriculum as developed and outlined by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada termed Competency By Design. More information regarding the educational changes in Canada can be found at (see "websites of intrerest" section )

Training Sites


There are five cardiac units which participate in the University of Toronto Cardiac Surgical Training Program:

St. Michael's Hospital

Toronto General Hospital

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Trillium Health Partners

Hospital for Sick Children

All University affiliated institutions have access to extensive research facilities, including laboratory and adacemic supervisors. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is also affiliated with the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Studies (ICES). The University of Toronto SurgeonScientist Programme encourages research utilizing supervisors from the University of Toronto and may be able to provide funding for research through the University.  

All trainees also have access to the University of Toronto Surgical Skills Lab at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Additional Information

  1. Permanent Residents: Successful applicants who hold Permanent Resident status in Canada will be required to disclose their Country of Citizenship to the postgraduate medical education office in order to comply with current reporting requirements of the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities
  2. Matched applicants: CaRMS will provide their electronic data file to the matched university’s postgraduate education office. The postgraduate office will share the information as needed, but not limited to, the Ontario Physician Human Resource Data Centre, Canadian Post-MD Education Registry, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario, teaching hospitals and other training sites, Touchstone Institute and the Ontario Ministry of Health.
  3. Changes: The Ontario Faculties of Medicine and Ontario Ministry of Health reserve the right to make changes to the information published on the CaRMS website pertaining to Ontario postgraduate training without prior notice.
  4. Failure to meet or provide proof of any of the stated requirements may result in the applicant file not being reviewed and removed.


1.  Is prior research experience required of applicants?  

Although academics is a strong focus of the Cardiac Surgical Training Program at the University of Toronto, prior research experience is not a prerequisite for acceptance.  However, evidence of academic productivity or potential may lend support to a candidate's application.  All trainees are expected to undertake at least one year (preferably two or three) of academic enrichment during the training program. This may be either clinical or research based. 

Summary of changes

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