University of British Columbia - Cardiac Surgery - Vancouver

2023 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on September 28, 2022

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Paul Bui
Surgery - Cardiovascular Surgery Division 
Room 486 - 1081 Burrard Street  
St. Paul's Hospital
Vancouver, British Columbia, V6Z 1Y6
(604) 806-9307

Program Contacts

Mrs. Maryam A. Milani
Senior Program Administrator

General Instructions

Program application language: English


Supporting Documentation / Information

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, 2023, 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 from staff physicians in which the relationship between the referee and the candidate should be well stated.

Additional documents
Medical Student Performance Record 

For current year Canadian medical graduates (CMGs), there is no action required from you. Your medical school will automatically submit your MSPR to CaRMS on your behalf for you to assign.
If your MSPR is in a language other than the program language of English or French, you are required to have the document translated.

[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Medical School Transcript 

Your medical school transcript can be submitted through one of the methods below:

  1. Obtain your medical transcript from your school and upload it directly to your CaRMS Online account. Follow your school’s policy regarding accessing or requesting your transcript;
  2. Ask your medical school to upload your medical transcript through their CaRMS Undergraduate Portal account; or
  3. International (IMGs) and United States (USMGs) medical graduates can transfer their transcript from their account.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The candidate should submit a short letter outlining any personal history that may be appropriate and relevant to the application, state reasons for choosing cardiac surgery as a career and future goals.

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 10, 2023

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 10, 2023

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 10, 2023



  • February 11, 2023
Interviews are held on a Saturday and depending on the number of applicants, it can take from half a day to a full day. Interviews will be held virtually by zoom in 2023.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Applications will be prescreened, short listed and then contacted by email for interview. On February 11, 2023, each shortlisted candidate will have a virtual interview for 45 to 60 minutes with the members of the Residency Education Committee.

Selection Criteria

All Applications are considered by the Residency Education Committee members composed of Program Director and members of each teaching hospital as well as one resident representative. Each of the short listed candidates will be interviewed after which the REC members will rank the candidates. All short listed candidates will require strong letters of reference.

Our program seeks individuals with strong academic records, technical aptitude, a demonstrated research interest and a commitment to learn.

Program goals

In designing the Cardiac Surgery program we want to expose the trainees to a wide multitude of experiences from clinical to non-clinical. The program is designed to expose surgeons to patients of all ages: neonatal to octogenarians. Downtown hospitals and peripheral hospitals with differing socio-economic patients. We aim to produce compassionate, well rounded surgeons who can serve diverse communities and societies. Many of the rotations involve being part of a medical team  and how to develop skills within that framework  will enable trainees to develop their own leadership traits such as interpersonal skills, insight, ethics, etc.

Selection process goals

Ethical, technically sound yet aware of limitations and willing to seek help and advice.

Team player, respectful of the entire team and willing to meet the demands of the program.

Kind, compassionate and a patient advocate who communicates clearly with all stakeholders.

Candidate should have excellent work-ethic, good interpersonal skills and insight.

Must be involved in research throughout residency and take an active role in teaching.




File review process

Review team composition : Program director and members of REC ; chief resident

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 0 - 25 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV experience, education, accomplishments, interests
Electives where and which electives taken
Examinations grades
Extra-curricular wide range off interests
Leadership skills team player
MSPRs overall assessment
Personal letters reason why our program, reason why speciality, interests
Reference documents source, work/education/personal /etc.
Research/Publications subject matter, collaboration, types of presentations
Transcripts Grades, courses taken

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.

We are looking for applicants who have completed electives with a focus on Cardiac Surgery.

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 proven team player
Collegiality interpersonal skills
Communication skills clear, concise, compassionate communicator
Health advocacy compassionate, knowledgeable, resourceful as patient advocate
Interest in the discipline inherent passion for specialty
Interest in the program demonstrates candidate has researched program
Leadership skills what areas has candidate shown exemplary leadership skills
Professionalism ability to be forthright , team player, interpersonal skills
Scholarly activities research interests, how much research will be part of candidate’s career

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 6 years.

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

The Cardiac Surgery program is organized so that it provides a stepwise graded increase in responsibility as the residents go from their junior to their senior years.

The first two years provide a core experience in which the residents have opportunities to learn the core principles of surgery with a high degree of focus on basis sciences and physiology. These are taught both at organized structured lectures as well as throughout each rotation informally.
The residents have an opportunity to utilize these and integrate them in to complex patient management. A variety of rotations in various surgical disciplines are provided to give a broad-based experience. The residents become part of a team and contribute to it.

The next two years provide more training in research as well as a much more clinical exposure with more emphasis on problem diagnosis and management. The residents have more responsibility both on call and in the operating rooms but still have both senior residents and attending staff available to help with clinical issues.

Ongoing academic learning is provided through academic half days as well as research days and journal clubs. The next two years provide a senior residency experience where the residents are expected to provide leadership and direction to the cardiac surgery team and have a direct link with the attending staff. They are also expected to teach the junior house staff including the medical students and junior residents. A heavy emphasis is put on intraoperative clinical skills with increased responsibility through the rotations as the residents transit from being first assistants to primary operators with the staff’s help.

The final six months is the chief residency year in which the residents are expected to take on an administrative function in terms of organization of house staff, rounds and cases. They are expected to “run” the service. They have the opportunity to make independent decisions although attending staff are available at all times. They are expected to be able to skillfully perform all the technical skills as outlined in the Royal College goals and objectives and also be able to teach intraoperative skills to more junior residents. The Program provides ample opportunities to meet all the requirements as set forth by the specialty committee and function as independent surgeons once the residency training is complete.

As our program goes further into CBD, there will be less emphasis on the above and more on the specific assessments, increased emphasis on indirect and direct observations, timely feedback where resident progression and promotion is based on evidence.


There are scheduled weekly rounds on all cardiac surgical rotations as well as an academic half day every Wednesday. The academic day is comprised of two parts: a technical wet lab which involves live animals, cadaveric specimens and technical simulation stations all focused on improving the surgical skills of all levels of residents; alternating with didactic sessions which involve both resident and attending-led seminars. Residents participate and present during monthly journal clubs and attend research journal clubs every 3 months. We also provide opportunities for all residents to attend national and international meetings and conferences and it is expected that every resident will present and publish their research on an annual basis.

Training Sites


There are three adult cardiac and one pediatric cardiac training sites:

Vancouver General Hospital

St.Paul Hospital

Royal Columbian Hospital, and

BC Children's Hospital