NOSM University - Orthopedic Surgery - Thunder Bay

2024 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on November 29, 2023

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Travis Marion
c/o Program Coordinator 
NOSM Postgraduate Education - Ortho Surgery 
ATAC 6035A 955 Oliver Road
Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 5E1
NOSM Orthopedic Surgery

Program Contacts

Brooke Snow
Program Coordinator

Important Information

NOSM University Orthopedic Surgery Program – Information Night

Date: Thursday Dec 7th 2023 

Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm

An information session on all things related to the NOSM University Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program. Staff and residents will be available for the first half of the meeting, then transition to a residents-only meet and greet with attendees. Come out and learn more about our great program!

  Webex Link - December 7th 2023 CaRMS Virtual Information Night


COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Please be aware the Ministry of Health has mandated all hospital and health care employers establish, implement and ensure compliance with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.  The Ministry directive can be reviewed here. Residents matched to any Ontario residency program must ensure they are able to comply with the Ministry directive in order to start training July 1, 2024.   

It is important to understand this is an evolving issue. You are required to review Provincial, Hospital, University and Program information to ensure you are in continued compliance with directives.  

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Applications will be accepted through the CaRMS R-1 Main Residency Match application process.

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
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As per the Ontario Provincial Eligibility Criteria, if you are submitting a Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth, or Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada document, you MUST submit a government issued photo I.D. to accompany your citizenship documentation.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Our program requires referees to complete the Orthopedic Surgery Structured Reference Letter.

Applicants must provide the below links within their reference request to referees. Both PDF and fillable PDF forms are available to choose from:

Letters of Reference must be completed by clinical teachers and/or faculty who have a reasonable knowledge of you, either through close association in clinical training situations or as your faculty advisor. 

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

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.

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.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : 1000

The personal letter (maximum 1000 words) should focus on the following:

  • Your career interests / goals
  • experiences that led to your interest in Orthopedic Surgery ;
  • aspects of the NOSM Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program that interest you;
  • connections or personal qualities that make you an ideal candidate for training /practice in Northern and rural settings;
  • how you anticipate this program  will assist you in becoming an excellent Orthopedic Surgeon;
  • your greatest challenge if you are accepted into this program;
  • additional information about yourself that should be considered by the Selection Panel.

If your transcript/CV indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history please attach a supplementary statement to the END of your Personal Letter entitled "Transcript/CV Addendum" explaining the above.

Optional - will be reviewed

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on December 2, 2023

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  December 2, 2023

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on December 2, 2023

  • Applications will be reviewed and scored independently by a combination of 2-4 program faculty members and residents.  Scores will be generated for each applicant and the program will offer interviews to approximately the top 25-30 candidates between the IMG and CMG streams.
  • All eligible applicants from medical schools in Canada and the U.S. will be considered.



  • January 27, 2024
Interviews will be held virtually on Saturday, January 27, 2024.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Candidates who meet the selection criteria will be invited for an interview. 

Candidates will participate in one panel style interview virtually. This interview will be 20 minutes. Interview teams will be comprised of faculty members including the Program Director and current NOSM Orthopedic Surgery Residents ranging from PGY2 - PGY4.  Current PGY1 Orthopedic Surgery Residents (non-interviewers) will be available as program ambassadors throughout the interview day and are happy to share their experiences in the program, answer questions that our candidates may have and assist with guided tours of the hospital.  The program coordinator will also be available as a resource throughout the day.  

A program overview will be provided electronically prior to the interview, by either the Program Director or a senior resident or both.  Additional information will be included in the emailed interview offer and confirmation package.

Selection Criteria

Candidates for the Orthopedic Surgery Residency Program at NOSM are selected based on the following factors:

  • demonstrated interest in and knowledge of Orthopedic Surgery and the NOSM Orthopedic Surgery Program
  • strength of academic record (performance, medical knowledge and clinical abilities)
  • strength of references
  • strong interpersonal, communication and collaborative skills
  • evidence of self-directed learning, reflective practice, a high standard of professionalism and resiliency
  • strong desire to train in northern clinical settings as well as tertiary hospitals

 These factors are assessed through the following:

  • a personal interview
  • the review of the personal letter
  • the review of performance assessments from clinical rotations in medical school, particularly during Orthopedics rotations and/or electives
  • the review of letters of reference

Program goals

Our mission is to educate residents who have a strong surgical and procedural aptitude to become competent specialists in Orthopedic Surgery, prepared to practice in any setting, including rural and northern communities.

Our goal is to deliver a comprehensive hands-on curriculum that's designed to ensure that all of the Orthopedic Surgery CanMEDS training objectives outlined by the Royal College are met, thus allowing our residents to acquire and hone all the necessary skills/competencies to develop into highly knowledgeable, professional, skilled orthopedic surgeons. 


Selection process goals

Through our selection process, our program aims to identify candidates who have a strong academic history with demonstrated competence and interest in orthopedic surgery (e.g. surgical rotations, electives, scholarly activities, conference involvement and other related work or life experiences). We are seeking candidates who possess superior clinical communication skills and have the ability to relate to patients, their families, and caregivers with compassion, empathy, sensitivity and humility.

We are looking for candidates who possess the ability and willingness to work collaboratively (within and across professional domains) in a team dynamic to secure optimal patient outcomes, while exemplifying the highest standards of professional behavior -- inclusive of responsibility, respect, and self-awareness.

Our program and NOSM university value the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in residency education, and achieving a diverse and inclusive group of residents is a goal of our selection process.

We are also looking to identify candidates who would be a good fit for our program. Candidates who are well suited to our program are those with a strong surgical and procedural aptitude, who can adapt and thrive in a hands-on, distributed rural residency program that requires flexibility and some travel away from their primary location of residence. 

We also believe that candidates who are resilient, can prioritize their personal well-being and work-life balance, and are also committed to self-directed learning and reflective practice, continuing professional development, and quality improvement, are well-suited to our program. Through our selection process we aim to identify and successfully match candidates who possess these attributes as well.


File review process

Review team composition : The file review team consists of program faculty and residents. Each application will be reviewed and scored independently by a combination of 2-4 program faculty members and residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50
The program receives an average of around 45 applications to the Orthopedic Surgery CMG Stream.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %
The program offers interviews to approximately the top 20-25 CMG candidates.

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Academic & work background/experiences, personal/professional achievements/awards, volunteerism
Electives Ortho/Surgical elective(s), diverse range relevant to the discipline, rural and/or northern an asset
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular An asset to demonstrate work-life balance and wellness, personal interests. Include in CV
Leadership skills Any leadership roles held throughout training should be outlined in the CV
MSPRs Patient interactions, surgical rotation competencies, academic/personal/professionalism concerns
Personal letters Practice goals, interest/knowledge in Ortho. & our program, personal and northern/rural suitability
Reference documents Commitment to surgery., performance, knowledge/clinical skills, character/attitude towards learning
Research/Publications Past achievements/successes and interest in participating in future scholarly activity
Transcripts Strength of academic record, any red flags/concerns
Other file component(s) Transcript/CV Addendum:

If any part of your application indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history, a supplementary statement at the END of your Personal Letter is required. Please entitle your statement as "Transcript/CV Addendum", explaining the above.

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.

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.

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 Demonstrated ability to work well in a team setting/multidisciplinary environment
Collegiality Personable, respectful towards others, values the importance of a supportive/collegial atmosphere
Communication skills Able to reflect and communicate responses clearly and concisely, can communicate well with others
Health advocacy We do not formally evaluate this component during the interview
Interest in the discipline Genuine passion for Ortho Surg., knowledgeable, competent, clear understanding of our specialty.
Interest in the program Knowledgeable about our program, training sites, northern Ontario patient populations and challenge
Leadership skills Qualities such as: proactive/takes initiative, accountable, innovative, motivated and goal-oriented
Professionalism Conducts themselves in a professional manner, self-aware, unbiased, morally/ethically responsible
Scholarly activities We do not formally evaluate this component during the interview
Other interview component(s) Problem-Solving Skills: Overcoming challenges, conflict resolution, ability to rationalize.

Knowledge/Skills: Ability to apply clinical knowledge, assess, plan, and take appropriate action.

Personal Attributes: Demeanor, personality, attitude towards learning.

Time management: Ability to make good use of time/plan accordingly.

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

  • Early surgical skill training
  • Individualized educational goals focused on anatomy and surgical procedures; 24 hour in-hospital access to full body cadavers
  • Unparalleled preceptor support from knowledgeable surgeons committed to practicing in Northern Ontario
  • Early integration as a key member of a health care team, dedicated to professionalism, high quality patient care and excellent medical education
  • Exposure to the culture and social fabric of Francophone and Indigenous communities
  • Opportunity to participate in research under expert guidance
  • Opportunity for learning experiences in a range of Northern urban and rural clinical settings
  • Funding available for research, professional development and conferences
  • Provision of financial support for resident travel to and from core clinical placements away from the home base and all mandatory educational activities at non home base locations
  • Dedicated career planning, multiple senior year electives/selectives to facilitate fellowship and career planning


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 Competence by Design (CBD) curriculum includes core rotations in Orthopedic Surgery and subspecialty rotations selected to incorporate a diversity of experience and proficiency in subspecialty areas that are integral to community based practice, but less commonly emphasized in traditional Orthopedic Surgery residency programs.

Based on the resident`s personal learning plan, the content, sequence of training and the schedule of movement between teaching sites may vary. The majority of rotations will be completed in Thunder Bay, depending on preceptor and clinical resources. Residents are required to provide their own vehicle.

Sample Rotation Plan (rotations in Thunder Bay or northern hospitals unless noted otherwise; blocks are 4 weeks in length)


Plastics and Vascular - 1 block
Internal Medicine - 1 block CTU 
Emergency Medicine / Research - 2 blocks
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) - 2 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - 7 blocks (one of these blocks is Orientation/Bootcamp, 2 are in Jnr Trauma, 4 are lower limb)


Trauma - Junior - Toronto -2 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - 8 blocks (including upper extremity, sports, foot & ankle, Jnr Spine)
Orthopedic Surgery - 2 blocks Pediatrics, Junior (Toronto) 


Orthopedic Surgery - Senior Arthroplasty - 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - Senior Trauma  - 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - Sports - 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - Electives - 3 blocks
Research - 1 block 


Orthopedic Surgery -  Senior Pediatrics- 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery -  Oncology (Toronto) - 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery -  Senior Upper Extremity - 2 blocks 
Orthopedic Surgery  - Senior Foot and Ankle - 2 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - Selectives - 2 blocks 


Orthopedic Surgery - Senior Spine- 3 blocks
Orthopedic Surgery - Transition to Practice - 10 blocks 

Academic Half Days

Academic half day sessions occur twice monthly, via Webex online classroom, from the University of Toronto, during protected time from clinical duties.  Residents will also have the opportunity to participate in educational rounds, presentations, journal clubs and rounds on site and through the Ontario Telemedicine Network.

Surgical Foundations
Residents in the first two years of training will attend the Surgical Foundations Program. In the fall of PGY2, residents will write the final exam set by the Royal College.  Teaching sessions will normally occur weekly on Tuesday afternoons from 1400 - 1700h.

External core courses 
Residents will be supported to attend, at minimum, one mandatory orthopedic course per academic year, to supplement regular academic content.


Residents in their PGY1 will complete an eight week combined research/emergency medicine rotation.

Residents will be provided a dedicated four week research block in their PGY 3 year.

Residents are expected to complete, at minimum, one research project and present their research at all stages, at the annual Resident Research Event normally in June.  Expert guidance and funding is available to provide high quality research experiences. 


Training Sites

Residents will be based out of Thunder Bay, with rotations possible at other Northern Ontario learning centres, with approval from the Program Director.

The following rotations are provided at the University of Toronto: Trauma, junior and senior ; Pediatrics, junior and senior ; Oncology, senior 

Additional Information

To learn more about northern Ontario, please visit the "Wider Campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine" webpage. 

Summary of changes

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