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94 Residency Positions Left Vacant in Quebec University After the First Match of 2009

Montreal, March 17, 2009 – The spokerperson for the Coaltion of Association of Foreign Trained Doctors, Dr. Comlan Amouzou, considers unacceptable that for the third consecutive year, Quebec universities deliberately left 94 medical residency positions vacant despite the fact that more than 130 doctors (or international medical graduates, IMG) applied.

Quebec universities and the professional order of physicians (Collège des médecins) have not learned from past lessons and, year after year, continue to violate the right to work of hundreds of IMGs, despite the present context of doctor shortage.

In 2008, after the first matching round, 102 residency positions were left vacant within the four medical schools in Quebec compared to 73 after the second round.

In 2007, 87 positions were left vacant while 174 IMG, whose diplomas were recognized by the physicians’ college, waited for internship positions.

Dr Amouzou also denounced the discriminatory and defamatory statements of Dr Louise Authier, director of the residency program at the medical faculty of the Université de Montréal (as reported in Le Devoir , February 2, 2009).

According to Dr. Amouzou, “Enough is enough. At a time when Quebec is going through one of the worst economic crisis in its history and as thousands of Quebecers lose their jobs, the universities and the physicians’ college show bad faith by consciously preventing foreign-trained doctors, who already live in precarious conditions, from practicing medicine.”

In Quebec, IMGs are at the mercy of the universities and the physicians’ college and experience exclusion at different levels. IMG associations, for example, are excluded from the task force created in January 2008 by then Health Minister Philippe Couillard and chaired by Dr. Vincent Échavez (the task force’s mandate is to make recommendations to the Quebec Government on ways and means to integrate IMGs).

Even statutory human rights agencies’ actions on this issue are wanting. According to the Executive Director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission must act rapidly and release the results of the investigation which it initiated in 2007 at CRARR’s request. The delay and the lack of transparency in the process both encourage the universities and the physicians’ college to make more victims out of IMGs. The commission has refused on three different occasions last month to release information on its inquiry despite three consecutive requests made by CRARR.

Concerns remain given that the selection criteria and procedures of the residency program, which CRARR considers to be discriminatory on the basis of ethnic origin, gender and age, continue to apply to the IMGs since at least 2007.

According to Dr. Amouzou, “If IMGs’ exclusion and the lack of transparence as well as inaction on the part of decisionmakers persist, we are afraid that many IMGs will no longer consider immigrating to Quebec, and that those who are already here will leave to go build a better future in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.” 

The Coalition calls upon the Quebec Government and the opposition parties to :

1. Hold parliamentary hearings on the situation of IMGs ;

2. Ask the provincial task force headed by Dr Vincent Échavé to make its final report as soon as possible; and

3. Press the human rights commission to speed up its investigation and inform the public of its investigative actions and the results.


Information : Dr. Comlan Amouzou
Spokeperson of the Coaltion and President of Médecins d’ailleurs
(514) 570-5908