University of Manitoba - Neurosurgery - Winnipeg

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

Last approved on October 03, 2022

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Colin Kazina
Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery 
University of Manitoba 
GB1 - 820 Sherbrook Street
Winnipeg , Manitoba, R3A 1R9
University of Manitoba, Section of Neurosurgery
University of Manitoba, Section of Neurosurgery

Program Contacts

Cheri Farfan
Program Coordinator

Important Information

The Postgraduate Medical Education Orientation for all residents, which is MANDATORY, will be held on Thursday, June 29, 2023

General Instructions

Program application language: English

If you have any questions regarding application to the Neurosurgery Postgraduate Training Program at the University of Manitoba, please contact our Program Administrator,

The criteria can be found at:

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
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Citizenship Card (both sides of card)
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)
Notarized/certified photocopied proof of citizenship must be provided. Photocopies are accepted but citizenship documents other than what is listed above are not accepted

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

Language Proficiency
English is the language of study at the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba. All applicants whose first language is not English must submit proof of English language proficiency to CaRMS by the file review opening date.


  • If you graduated from an English medical school in Canada 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.

Successfully completed English language proficiency tests do not have statute of limitations.

Candidates are exempted from English language proficiency testing if their undergraduate medical education was taken in English in one of the below countries that have English as a first and native language:

List of countries that have English as a first and native language: Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, US Virgin Islands – Caribbean Islands: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago

 Please note the following:

  • Photocopies are acceptable.

Language Proficiency results will not be accepted by fax or e-mail.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

3 letters of reference are required, although more will be accepted if available.  Ideally, letters of reference should be received from a faculty neurosurgeon at a University where the candidate has trained or completed an elective.  References from a non-neurosurgical faculty member whom the candidate has worked with extensively are also desirable.  Letters from residents are accepted, but faculty references are strongly recommended.

Additional documents
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.

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.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The personal letter is a chance for the applicant to outline why they became interested in neurosurgery and wish to pursue it as a career and to provide information not available in other parts of the application.  Outside interests and hobbies can be described.     

CASPer exam 

Your CASPer assessment result is sent directly to CaRMS from Altus approximately one week prior to the application deadline. Please ensure that you give Altus permission to share your results with CaRMS.
The CASPer assessment is only valid for one admissions cycle. If you have taken the assessment in a previous year, you are expected to re-take it. To register for the CASPer assessment visit

Custom Résumé / CV 

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 23, 2023
The interview dates are nationally coordinated.  Interviews at the University of Manitoba will take place on February 23, 2023

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The interview schedule is co-ordinated nationally by all neurosurgical training programs.

Each candidate will have a series of individual interviews with neurosurgical faculty, as well as 2 residents in the program and will be held virtually. 


Selection Criteria

Individuals are selected based on a demonstrated interest in Neurosurgery and the Neurosciences, as well as their ability to work with an interprofessional team and a broad range of interest and experience is encouraged.  An on-site neurosurgical elective is encouraged.  All applicants must complete a CASPer™ (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) test. CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics. The confirmed dates are as below:

To see an example of the test structure and schedule a test, please visit take

Please direct any inquiries on the test to<

Program goals

The Neurosurgery Resident Training Program at the University of Manitoba seeks to provide the highest quality neurosurgical care to patients while supporting the educational, research, health and wellness needs of our residents. The aim of the program is to provide the best possible environment, technology, facilities and human resources in order to facilitate comprehensive neuroscience-based education and neurosurgical training of residents, along with medical students and clinical fellows.

Selection process goals

A successful applicant will demonstrate a mature, dedicated and self-directed approach to acquiring the knowledge and technical skill set required for Neurosurgery. Effective communication skills and a team-based attitude are essential to working within an interdisciplinary team of care providers. Successful applicants will have elective experience in Neurosurgery and the Neurosciences, with an interest in ongoing research and academics.

File review process

Review team composition : The review team is comprised of the Program Director and faculty/resident members of the Residency Program Committee (RPC).

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Ability to work with teams; Leadership potential; Research experience; Extra-curricular; Interests.
Electives At least one formal elective in Neurosurgery; on-site electives are encouraged.
Examinations No additional assessment required
Extra-curricular Interests relating to, and also outside of, medicine.
Leadership skills Leadership potential.
MSPRs Applicant should be in good standing at their respective medical school.
Personal letters No specific format is requested here.
Reference documents A maximum of 3 letters from faculty/mentors (see Reference Documents section, below).
Research/Publications Publications, chapters, posters, etc (to assess for interest/potential for research).
Transcripts Applicant should be in good standing at their respective medical school.

Elective criteria

We encourage applicants to have completed at least one elective in our discipline.
We prefer applicants to have done onsite electives.

At least one elective in Neurosurgery is encouraged with a broad range of interest and experience. Due to COVID-19, we understand that onsite electives may not have been possible.

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 Capacity for dedicated team-work; Participation in an interdisciplinary team.
Collegiality Reliability; Honesty; Integrity.
Communication skills Effective; Compassionate.
Health advocacy No additional assessment required
Interest in the discipline Interest in Neurosurgery and/or the Neurosciences.
Interest in the program On-site neurosurgical elective is encouraged; Knowledge and interest specific to our program.
Leadership skills Potential for leadership.
Professionalism Ethical decision-making; Honesty; Capacity for self-directed learning.
Scholarly activities Academic performance in medical school; Interest/potential for research/scholarly pursuits.

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

Residency Training Program

The Health Sciences Centre and Winnipeg Children’s Hospital are the main sites associated with the Neurosurgery Residency Training Program at the University of Manitoba. These are equipped with modern diagnostic equipment including 1.5 and 3T MR imaging (including an intra-operative MRI Suite, i.e. IMRIS), high-resolution CT scanning and angiographic capabilities. Health Sciences Centre is also home to Canada's first Gamma Knife unit.

During their training, residents are exposed to the full range of neurosurgical subspecialties, including epilepsy, neuro-oncology, vascular, spinal, pediatric, trauma and functional neurosurgery. In addition to clinical neurosurgery, residents rotate through neurology, neuroradiology and neuropathology, along with other surgical and medical subspecialties. Throughout their six years in training, residents are given increasing responsibility, culminating in oversight of the functioning of the neurosurgery unit during their final chief resident year.

Residents are also encouraged to undertake research projects throughout their training. An optional research year is included within residency training in the program. Residents generally elect to conduct this research within their PGY 3 or PGY 4 year. Those residents who are interested in an academic career are advised to take an advanced degree, and may be supported through the Clinician Investigator Program at the University of Manitoba. Some trainees choose to enroll in the Masters of Science Program open to residents in Surgery at the University of Manitoba.

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.

Curriculum - PGY 1 to 6 

PGY1 and 2

The PGY-1 and 2 years are designed to fulfill the requirements as set out by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, as they relate to core training in the Surgical Foundations Program. This includes a maximum of 18 blocks to be undertaken in Neurosurgery, and includes additional core rotations in Critical care, Emergency medicine, General surgery, Orthopedics, Plastics and/or General medicine.

PGY3 to 6

A formal 52 months of Neurosurgical training is incorporated in the PGY-3 to 6 years, focusing on an incrementally-graded increase in clinical responsibility and duties. During this time, there are expectations for regular participation on ward rounds, the operating room and in clinics. By the completion of residency, the resident will be proficient in the surgical and non-surgical management of all general types of neurosurgical conditions, in both adult and pediatric patients. Given the breadth of expertise across the 10 clinical faculty members, additional sub-specialty exposure to all facets of Neurosurgery is also provided.

It is also expected that the resident's training in PGY3 to 6 will also include 3 core blocks in each of Neurology and Neuropathology.


PGY4 Research/Elective Year

There is an opportunity in PGY4 to pursue up to 13 periods (1 year) of clinical or basic research training. Former trainees have used this time to pursue a M.Sc. or Ph.D. program, as supported by the Clinician Investigator Program, or to pursue a focused elective year in a subspecialty of choice.

This experience is typically planned well in advance, together with recommendations from the Program Director and Residency Program Committee, and must satisfy one of the following Royal College specifications as it relates to:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Related clinical or basic neuroscience disciplines
  • Clinical or basic research
  • Other scholarly activities

For those interested in research, further time may be spent obtaining an advanced degree.  The Department of Surgery offers a Masters of Science in Surgery program that residents are encouraged to consider.  

Among other programs, the University of Manitoba offers specialized research programs in basic spinal cord physiology, minimally invasive spine, neuro-oncology, epilepsy, health policy and hydrocephalus.


Competency-Based Medical Education

As of July 2019, residents entering Neurosurgery will participate in competency-based training through the Competence by Design (CBD) educational initiative of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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.

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 and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification. For more information, please contact



The typical resident curriculum consists of weekly Wednesday morning rounds, with a formal academic half-day on Fridays.  Didactic teaching with a formal curriculum spanning the breadth of Neurosurgery occurs on a regularly scheduled basis, with exams at the end of each block.

Additional case-based seminars are routinely held in the following forums:

  • Refractory Epilepsy Conference
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery Rounds

  • Winnipeg Spine Program Rounds
  • Radiosurgery Rounds

  • Vascular Rounds

  • Neuropathology Rounds
  • Adult and Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Rounds

  • Pituitary Tumor Rounds


A Journal Club is also held monthly, during the academic year.


Training Sites


The neurosurgical unit of the Health Sciences Centre and Children's Hospital represents the only referral centre for the province of Manitoba, as well as Northwestern Ontario and Nunavut. This single site for all neurosurgery makes it possible to develop uniform protocols for the treatment and long term follow-up of patients with various neurosurgical disorders.

The Health Sciences Centre and Winnipeg Children's Hospital have modern-day diagnostic equipment including 1.5 and 3T MR scanning, CT scanning and angiographic units. The first Gamma Knife unit in Canada was instituted in 2003, and continues to be used in the treatment of benign and metastatic tumors, vascular malformations and other conditions. 

There is a full complement of full-time adult and pediatric neuroradiologists, and three full-time neuropathologists. A very close link is maintained with Adult and Pediatric Neurology, offering excellent collaboration across all disciplines.

There is a strong core of neuroscience teaching and research at the University of Manitoba and its affiliated Medical School, the Kleysen Centre for Advanced Medicine, and the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Moreover, there is strong foundation backing provided by the Health Sciences Centre Foundation, Children's Foundation and St. Boniface General Hospital Research Foundation.


Additional Information

Please note that in 2020 all applicants to the University of Manitoba residency programs are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer) to assist with the selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility. 
CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.


We do not accept late applications.