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Unfair Ontario - Thoughts?

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Does it make anyone else frustrated with how unfair it is to be an Ontario med applicant? The entire country has unrestricted access for applying to all of our schools, and only those residing in SWOMEN (for western) or Northern Ontario (for NOSM) see any real advantage. Mac reserves interview spots for Ontario residents but NOT actual class seats. And it should be noted that any OOP student studying in Ontario is considered an Ontario resident by McMaster..

 

When compared to stats from other provinces where 25-33% of IP applicants gain admissions because they all reserve usually 90% of their seats for in province applicants- it gets frustrating. Especially when as an Ontario native I am unable to gain residency in any other province by doing a degree there, yet people can come to Ontario and gain residency status here easily. I think the last statistic I read said that under 10% of Ontario applicants gain admission each year.  

 

Why is it fair that our countries most highly populated province accepts applications equally from everyone in the country, and all of the other schools in other provinces don't want Ontario students?

 

Any thoughts on this? As you can tell it makes me a little fired up 

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From what I've interpreted, It's not about you-it's about the rest of the population who needs medial care. Ontario is by far the least rural of all provinces.

 

And Ontario, in most southern areas, isn't exactly lacking in physicians. Manitoba? Newfoundland? How likely is it that you're going to pack up and move out there? 

 

Not too likely, I'm guessing. Which is fine. And exactly what most students/residents will want.

 

The seats in med schools aren't allocated to make things better or worse for the applicants, it's about training people from certain provinces, in those provinces, with the hope at least some of them will stay and practice in those areas. Toronto doesn't have that problem, plain and simple. 

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sunny_ summed it up well - it's not about us, it's about the patients.

 

Keep in mind that even with the regional preferences at non-Ontario schools, Ontarians are not under-represented in medical school. The province has many schools and spots, most of which are filled by Ontarians. While there may be few OOP spots at schools outside Ontario, many of them are filled by Ontarians.

 

Regional requirements keep Ontarians, specifically those from the GTA, from being over-represented. That doesn't mean the regional system is perfectly fair - Ontarians from lower-service areas outside of NOSM's, Western's and Ottawa's regions fall into a gap that does disadvantage them without good cause. For the most part though, Ontarians' chances at medical school are reasonable given our population's medical needs.

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My 20 year old self can totally relate to this and agrees with you 100%. It is definitely skewed against Ontario candidates and if I were living in Ontario at the time I would be royally pissed.

 

My 30 year old self looks at this and realizes that each of these schools operates independently of the others and makes policy decisions based on its own self interest. Schools in Ontario want the very best candidates to advance their prestige and so don't limit the applicant pool. Schools outside of Ontario have issues with losing graduates to more populace areas (Ontario), and since the province pays for a majority of their education, they put restrictions on their applicants to try and maintain the balance. That being said most of these schools have a fairly loose interpretation of what is considered "in-province" and there is no shortage of applicants here who have spent a year in Alberta to gain access to the U of A and U of C.

 

My 36 year old self thinks you sound like the reason why they invented those "first world problem" memes and that the kind of person who would expect the world to be completely "fair" to a Canadian medical school applicant has a very seriously entitled view of the world (keeping in mind that I include my 20 year old self in that category). You came here to vent and that is totally fair. But just a friendly warning that nobody likes the person who complains about their cards when playing poker while everybody admires the person who takes the pot with a pair of sevens. 

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You all have changed my view a lot on this subject and I thank you for helping me see past my petty frustration. I know down the road it'll all work out- but as someone in my mid 20's struggling to make my dream happen it's tough to be born in Ontario. Now obviously there's a lot of privilege associated with my statements, but lets all agree that anyone who is here discussing on a Canadian pre-med forum is already extremely privileged. 

 

The only issue I have is that other provinces assuming I would just pack up and leave. Just because I'm from Ontario doesn't mean I live and bleed Toronto and the "6 life"... I would LOVE to explore our beautiful country and I would gladly sign a return of service agreement in any province in the country for 20 years. It's medicine I want to learn, not "GTA" high intensity stuff...

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You all have changed my view a lot on this subject and I thank you for helping me see past my petty frustration. I know down the road it'll all work out- but as someone in my mid 20's struggling to make my dream happen it's tough to be born in Ontario. Now obviously there's a lot of privilege associated with my statements, but lets all agree that anyone who is here discussing on a Canadian pre-med forum is already extremely privileged. 

 

The only issue I have is that other provinces assuming I would just pack up and leave. Just because I'm from Ontario doesn't mean I live and bleed Toronto and the "6 life"... I would LOVE to explore our beautiful country and I would gladly sign a return of service agreement in any province in the country for 20 years. It's medicine I want to learn, not "GTA" high intensity stuff...

 

One thing to remember is that your situation would not be identical if you were born and raised in another province. People assume that if everything were the same except that they were from another province they'd be able to get into medical school. However, we're products of our environments and there's no guarantee that you'd have the same GPA, same MCAT, same ECs if you were raised somewhere else. Advantage vs disadvantage can't be narrowly captured at the point of entry to medical school.

 

The reason other provinces assume you'd just pack up and leave is that statistically speaking, you're much more likely to do just that than an in-province candidate would. There's a reasonable body of literature to demonstrate that. You can promise that you wouldn't, and in your specific case you may hold to your word, but everyone would make the same promise if it meant getting into medical school. That doesn't mean everyone would lie, but our priorities in life change as we get older. It's a lot easier for an otherwise unattached person in their early 20's to claim they'd live anywhere than it is for someone in their 30's with a family and other responsibilities. By the time someone works their way through medical school, residency, and fellowship(s), they turn from the former to the latter and that initial insistence of being willing to live anywhere falls away. Even at my stage, only a few years into it, most students are pretty clear on where they'd prefer to live, even if most recognize that preference of location has to be secondary to their career goals.

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No.  No.  Don't.

 

Mobility of practice is something that docs have fought for over and over again.

 

You will not be the same person 20 years from now that you are now.

 

taking a look at what Ontario is doing reminds us that mobility is one of our few assets - imagine a scenario where you cannot strike, arbitrate, resist cuts in income, AND now you cannot even move somewhere else :)

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From what I've interpreted, It's not about you-it's about the rest of the population who needs medial care. Ontario is by far the least rural of all provinces.

 

And Ontario, in most southern areas, isn't exactly lacking in physicians. Manitoba? Newfoundland? How likely is it that you're going to pack up and move out there? 

 

Not too likely, I'm guessing. Which is fine. And exactly what most students/residents will want.

 

The seats in med schools aren't allocated to make things better or worse for the applicants, it's about training people from certain provinces, in those provinces, with the hope at least some of them will stay and practice in those areas. Toronto doesn't have that problem, plain and simple. 

 

well said :) Basically that is the primary reason is the vast numbers of the public (who are paying the majority of the costs of our education actually) trump our concerns about getting in - a stress that people who are in of course have to constantly be aware of ha and not diminish. Not fun trying to get into medical school, ha.

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I will chime in as a slightly bitter Ontario resident who was rejected/waitlisted from Ontario schools this past cycle.

 

Yes it is unfair. A common argument from Ontarian applicants, such as the one proposed here, is that it is unfair for OOP applicants to be treated the same way as Ontarians when applying to Ontario, but not vice versa. The reasoning that OOP schools need to allocate a certain number of seats to their residents (i.e., people who will stay) in order to best serve their population is fair. Certain provinces are obviously not as desirable as Ontario to non-residents and so I don't blame those schools for having a bias. However, the real injustice from an applicant's perspective is that Ontario schools refuse to favour their own residents even when there is no shortage of quality applicants who reside here. We are the province with the highest population and most applicants overall, with some of the highest entrance stats, and we are still subject to having to compete with the rest of the country?

 

As a side note, I want to believe that these residential preferences are working and benefitting their respective areas but it does get annoying seeing many individuals in real life/on this website who are afforded these advantages, people who are champions of rural health, advocates of provincial quotas, etc., regularly choose to attend schools in Ontario over those in their own province/region.

 

Call me bitter or entitled but it is extremely discouraging to know that even though I would be happy to move and work nearly anywhere in the country, I'd have a much better shot if only I had the good fortune of being born somewhere else. 

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Call me bitter or entitled but it is extremely discouraging to know that even though I would be happy to move and work nearly anywhere in the country, I'd have a much better shot if only I had the good fortune of being born somewhere else. 

 

 The bolded part here is what bothers me. I don't think it's fair that Ontario schools consider applicants from all provinces instead of implementing regional quotas, but having the "good fortune" of being born in New Brunswick? PEI? Manitoba? The Ontario schools all have different requirements and preferences, but many people from these apparently "fortunate" areas only have one school they can reasonably apply to (I was lucky enough to have two). Like @ralk said above, you can't assume you'd have the same experiences and opportunities had you been born in an entirely different province. Half the people making comments like this have probably never been to a rural maritime or aboriginal community, so I do try to be understanding here, but come on...

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 The bolded part here is what bothers me. I don't think it's fair that Ontario schools consider applicants from all provinces instead of implementing regional quotas, but having the "good fortune" of being born in New Brunswick? PEI? Manitoba? The Ontario schools all have different requirements and preferences, but many people from these apparently "fortunate" areas only have one school they can reasonably apply to (I was lucky enough to have two). Like @ralk said above, you can't assume you'd have the same experiences and opportunities had you been born in an entirely different province. Half the people making comments like this have probably never been to a rural maritime or aboriginal community, so I do try to be understanding here, but come on...

I didn't mean any offence by what I said but the fact is that yes it is a lot easier and a large part of that is because 1) there simply are not nearly as many applicants and 2) these schools heavily favour their own residents. Surely there are better candidates in these provinces than myself, I don't have some kind of Ontario superiority complex. I do appreciate that applicants in other provinces have to overcome obstacles that may not be common in other areas, however I wasn't strictly referring to those schools you mentioned and the example you give is quite specific to certain areas. I'm pretty sure I would be afforded the same opportunities had I grown up in any other city (Vancouver/Calgary/Montreal, etc.) with the added benefit of having IP residency for those schools.

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Keep in mind that Ontario is not without its own regional preferences, though they are less pronounced than in most other provinces. NOSM, Western, and Ottawa each have local preferences. Ottawa and Mac also have Ontario-wide preferences. It should also be remembered that regional preferences are decided at the school level, so when those in the service areas of U of T, Queen's, and Mac see that they lack preferential treatment, it's due to decisions these schools have made (likely with some input from other schools, healthcare organizations, as well as provincial and federal officials).

 

Further, as Commons mentioned, there are ways to gain IP or regional status for Ontarians who currently have none. Not always simple ways, but it's quite possible. When people proclaim they're willing to move anywhere in Canada if it means getting into medical school, that option is available. When most people say they're willing to move anywhere to get into medical school, what they mean is they want to get into medical school, and then they'll move. What some schools have put into their regional policies is that they want to see you move first, and then get into medical school. That's a lot to ask for potential applicants to move provinces like that, but that's kind of the point - moving is not a trivial thing to ask of people, including physicians.

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Keep in mind that Ontario is not without its own regional preferences, though they are less pronounced than in most other provinces. NOSM, Western, and Ottawa each have local preferences. Ottawa and Mac also have Ontario-wide preferences. It should also be remembered that regional preferences are decided at the school level, so when those in the service areas of U of T, Queen's, and Mac see that they lack preferential treatment, it's due to decisions these schools have made (likely with some input from other schools, healthcare organizations, as well as provincial and federal officials).

 

Further, as Commons mentioned, there are ways to gain IP or regional status for Ontarians who currently have none. Not always simple ways, but it's quite possible. When people proclaim they're willing to move anywhere in Canada if it means getting into medical school, that option is available. When most people say they're willing to move anywhere to get into medical school, what they mean is they want to get into medical school, and then they'll move. What some schools have put into their regional policies is that they want to see you move first, and then get into medical school. That's a lot to ask for potential applicants to move provinces like that, but that's kind of the point - moving is not a trivial thing to ask of people, including physicians.

 

some of those in province regional biases include populations larger than some of the other provinces people brought up as having them as well.

 

Thought Ottawa dropped its regional advantage for the local Ottawa area(?)

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some of those in province regional biases include populations larger than some of the other provinces people brought up as having them as well.

 

Thought Ottawa dropped its regional advantage for the local Ottawa area(?)

 

Oh maybe, haven't been keeping up with new U of O policies I guess :P

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I'm pretty sure that while the acceptance rate at any given Ontario school may be 10%, the overall Ontario acceptance rate is closer to 20%, which is fairly close to being inline with other provinces, anyways.

What's your source on the overall Ontario acceptance rate being 20%? 

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I have to agree with 1994 here again, I think the main issue most Ontario residents would have with the system is not so much being unfavoured by other provinces, but not being favoured by our own province. Sure reserving interview spots is nice but there's not a lot of strong policies helping Ontario residents. Just because I grew up in the GTA doesn't mean I was crawling as a baby on the streets of Toronto. I grew up in a small town of 10,000 people. Within the GTA, but surely not "urban" since most people were farmers etc. 

 

I think it's unfortunate that nobody faults a resident of BC, Alberta, Sask, Manitoba, Atlantic etc. for coming to Ontario to study med. But when a resident of Ontario wants to study med in another province they have about 50 roadblocks ahead of them such as higher GPA, MCAT, and MMI cutoffs for OOP applicants, as well as competing for only 10-20 seats. This results in only a few of the very top Ontario residents gain admission in other provinces, and then the rest of the country has to fight it out for the remaining seats at Ontario schools. 

 

We have a very high concentration of some of the top “premed” programs in the country, and also a very high concentration of medical schools, yet all of these students have a hard time getting in.

 

Another thing of note is that I know for McMaster’s reserved Ontario interview seats, any OOP applicant that did their degree in Ontario is considered a Ontario resident by McMaster. These people come to Ontario to do their degrees, while almost always maintaining their IP status in their home province. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but if someone was drawn by the urban schools in Ontario for the undergrad, wouldn’t it be safe to say they’d probably stay here in Ontario for med? Yet their home provinces still give them IP status.

 

I think it’s completely necessary for underserved provinces to reserve their seats to ensure they meet their own healthcare needs, but these provinces reward students who go to U of T for their undergrad etc. which I think is completely backwards.

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I think it's unfortunate that nobody faults a resident of BC, Alberta, Sask, Manitoba, Atlantic etc. for coming to Ontario to study med. But when a resident of Ontario wants to study med in another province they have about 50 roadblocks ahead of them such as higher GPA, MCAT, and MMI cutoffs for OOP applicants, as well as competing for only 10-20 seats. This results in only a few of the very top Ontario residents gain admission in other provinces, and then the rest of the country has to fight it out for the remaining seats at Ontario schools. 

 

Re: this, see @sunny_'s post above. All the provinces you've mentioned do have a vested interest in keeping their residents within the province for med school. Ontario has NOSM to cater to students specifically from rural, underserved areas who would be more likely to practice in those areas upon graduation, but the Atlantic and Western provinces only have their "big city" schools. Sure, someone from Vancouver or Halifax might not be as likely to practice in Northern BC or rural NS, but I'd argue they would be quite a bit more likely to practice there than someone from the GTA (or any other OOP applicant, really). Sure, it sucks that our chances of getting into medical school are all based on statistical likelihoods, but life isn't fair. I had to apply twice to get into my IP schools (the ones that are apparently super super easy to get into ;) ), and I know people from the Atlantic provinces who had to apply many more times than I did.

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People from other provinces who come to ontario to study medicine are still more likely to return home and become physicians, which is what many other provinces require. Sure, the chances may be lower for them to return after studying med in ontario, but it's still better than nothing. I feel like this is a lot more controlled and understood by the admissions committee and has been debated for a while.

 

The system is in place for a reason, and probably has been shown to produce the results they want. I may need to go over many more "hurdles" than the OOP applicant, but I am glad to do so if we are creating more of the physicians that Canada needs.

 

I am even surprised that McMaster favours IP. I don't think they should, but I guess we do get lucky sometimes. We have to count our blessings sometimes, including the chance, however small, to apply and become a physician.

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Do you think we are creating the physicians Canada needs? From the way I see it, Ontario is the most populous province in the country with a very very high number of medical facilities and practices and yet even when a notable amount of Ontario medical graduates are OOP and returning to their home province we still don't have a doctor shortage?

 

I don't know about anyone else but the amount of times I've gone into a walk in clinic to find a doctor that can barely speak english who just moved here is quite scary.

And that someone had to jump through many more hoops to be one of those chosen for a few residency spots and lucky enough to be able to practice in ON. Let's not become xenophobic. It's unbecoming of a Canadian.

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