McMaster University - Orthopedic Surgery - Hamilton

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

Last approved on January 19, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Vickas Khanna
Orthopaedic Surgery 
McMaster University Orthopaedic Surgery  
50 Charlton Ave. East, G845
Hamilton, Ontario, L8N 4A6
905 522-1155 x32267
Department of Surgery

Program Contacts

Dr. Vickas Khanna
Program Director

Paulette Aubry
Program Coordinator

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

Please ensure that your application is complete following the listed criteria.


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
Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your Registrar.

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's Office

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Does not have to be passport photo

Custom Résumé / CV 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Medical School Transcript 

Custom Résumé / CV 

Conditionally required
Medical School Diploma 

Please note: Required if Medical school has been completed.

Optional - will be reviewed

Medical Student Performance Record - Previous 


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

Submitted applicant files will be read and ranked by a volunteer pool of orthopaedic faculty surgeons, residents and the Program Director. The selected CMG candidates will be invited for an interview.

Reference letters from the institution/discipline will not be required for consideration of interview.



  • March 10, 2022
The date for our virtual interviews is Thursday, March 10, 2022. 

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The selected candidates will be notified of the interview schedule and all other pertinent information via email from the MacOrtho Residency Office. 

Selection Criteria

Candidates will be graded on the content of their personal letter; the strength of their references; their academic record and the demonstration of their interest in orthopedic surgery during their interview.

Program goals

Our mission is to educate and empower the surgeons of tomorrow with the capacity for evidence based clinical care, critical thinking, creativity, professionalism and a proclivity towards lifelong learning.  The development of these attributes surrounds a core of technical training in the art and science of orthopedic surgery.  We aim to be responsible to our patients by providing exemplary patient care by using best evidence to guide our decisions and leading innovation in education and research.

Selection process goals

The skills we look for in a candidate include being a team member, effective decision-making, the ability to be organized as well as being an excellent communicator to our patients, team members and other health professionals. 

Residents will be expected to be motivated and dedicated in applying themselves to the mastery of orthopaedic surgery including all CanMEDS competencies: medical expert, collaborator, communicator, professional, health advocate, leader and scholar. This includes continual case-based study and appropriate preparation for operative and clinic based experiential learning within the context of evidence based clinical practice.

Residents are in training to become life-long learners and practitioners of the art and science of orthopaedic surgery.

File review process

Review team composition : The Selection Committee is composed of residents and faculty members including the Program Director and the Associate Program Director within the Division of Orthopedic Surgery.

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 List recent electives, current research projects/publications, awards.
Electives Where did the applicant complete an elective? With who? Is there a reference letter provided? The MacOrtho program is aware that many electives were not possible due to COVID this year. The absence of an elective at McMaster will NOT negatively impact the evaluation of your application.
Examinations Please provide scores of recent exams - MCCQE I and MCCQE II
Extra-curricular Is the applicant involved in any community/volunteer work? What else do they enjoy doing?
Leadership skills Is the applicant in any committees or taking on any leadership roles?
MSPRs Please provide a recent MSPR.
Personal letters The letter should include why the applicant wants to be an orthopedic surgery resident at McMaster and what strengths they would bring to the program. It should also demonstrate why MacOrtho is a good fit for them.
Reference documents We ask that three reference letters be submitted. The letters should be from a recent elective or preceptor that worked with the applicant and does NOT necessarily have to come from an orthopedic surgeon to be considered.
Research/Publications Is the applicant involved in research? All publications/presentations should be listed.
Transcripts Please provide a recent transcript.

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.

Due to Covid-19, we understand that not everyone will have been able to do an elective here at McMaster, even if desired.   The program will take this into consideration and this will NOT affect your application.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Evidence of team work either in academics or in the community.
Collegiality Evidence of successful group or team work.
Communication skills Verbal skills - we evaluate this in person and through your letters of reference.
Health advocacy We do not evaluate this interview component.
Interest in the discipline Evidence of involvement in orthopedics (electives, research).
Interest in the program Elective work either on or offsite.
Leadership skills Evidence of leadership skills in both the community and academics.
Professionalism Evaluated throughout the interview process.
Scholarly activities Evidence of academic success and research experience.

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

The MacOrtho Residency Program is a 5 year program that consists of approximately 30 faculty members, 25 residents and 8-10 fellows with Dr. Vickas Khanna as our Program Director. Our program is fully accredited in good standing with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and we follow all RCPSC CanMEDS and PARO guidelines. The program has transitioned to a Competency by Design (CBD) format as of 2020 as per the Royal College mandate.

All sub-specialty orthopedic services are offered here at McMaster, but community and away electives/rotations are welcomed.  

For those interested in taking a research approach to training, our faculty and residents are heavily involved in both basic science and clinical research.  Our Research Director is available to help guide you with your research interests.  Pursuit of higher education throughout residency such as a Masters degree are supported.  

The Associate Program Director is available for academic guidance and fellowship advice.  

MacOrtho hosts a Division Day event every year for orthopedic faculty, residents, fellows and sponsors. 

Residents are matched with faculty mentors as part of MacOrtho's Mentorship Program. Residents have the opportunity to change their mentors throughout their residency, often based on their subspecialty interests. 

Graduates from our program have secured Fellowship placements in national and international centres of excellence.



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 McMaster program provides the necessary requirements of training to qualify graduates to write the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada examination and become independent practitioners.  The program is structured to meet the qualifications required at the final Royal College evaluation. 

The curriculum is based on CBD: Transition to Discipline, Foundations, Core and Transition to Practice.  All EPAs must be achieved in order to successfully complete the program and write the Royal College exam. 


Transition to Discipline:  As a PGY1, it is expected that you will complete all EPAs in Transition to Discipline in the first six months of residency.  The Foundations EPAs can also be completed in this first year. 

  • Rotations required: 12 blocks of orthopedic surgery and one block of trauma.


Foundations:  As a PGY2, it is expected that all EPAs in Foundations be successfully completed at the end of PGY2 year.

  • Rotations required:  3 blocks of pediatrics; 3 blocks of arthroplasty; 1 block of trauma; 3 blocks of sports; 2 blocks of ICU and 1 block of vascular.


Core:  As a PGY3 and PGY4, it is expected that all EPAs in Core be successfully completed at the end of PGY4 year. 

  • Rotations required:  PGY3 year:  2 blocks of elective or community rotation (alternate can be completed in PGY4 year); 3 blocks of foot and ankle; 3 blocks of upper extremity; 3 blocks of spine and 2 blocks of general orthopedics.
  • Rotations required:  PGY4 year: 2 blocks of elective or community rotation (alternate can be completed in PGY3 year); 2 blocks of arthroplasty; 3 blocks of trauma; 3 blocks of pediatric surgery and 3 blocks of oncology.


Transition to Practice:  In your final year as a PGY5, it is expected that all EPAs be successfully completed in Transition to Practice.

  • Rotations required:  12 blocks of general orthopedics and 1 study block.

Training Sites

McMaster University postgraduate programs are integrated in cooperation with the affiliated teaching hospitals and therefore there is no primary base hospital. Facilities used for mandatory or elective rotations include: Hamilton Health Sciences (which is comprised of the Hamilton General Hospital, the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre and the McMaster Children's Hospital) and St. Joseph's Healthcare.


Additional Information

Quick Facts

McMaster faculty coined the term “Evidence-Based Medicine” and we remain the world leader in EBM. The Division of Orthopedics hosts the only Canada Research Chair in Orthopedics and McMaster Orthopedic faculty are currently directing the three largest prospective randomized clinical trials ever conducted in our field.

PGY1 includes ATLS and AMLS courses and PGY2 includes enrollment in the Principles and Practice in Clinical Research course.

McMaster University at the St. Joseph's site is the first centre in Canada to offer Robotic assisted total joint arthroplasty.

We are pioneers in education with virtual reality options.  



How many residency positions are available for 2022-23?

The program has 5 CMG positions available starting July 1, 2022.

Summary of changes

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