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Is it possible to switch to a different program in the same specialty?

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I'm an R1 wondering if it's possible to switch to a different program (different province) in the same specialty (ex. Switching from anesthesia in Ottawa to anesthesia in Calgary). Is this ever allowed? Like for example in a 1:1 switch where someone wanted to take my spot at my school and I would take theirs? Long shot but thought I'd ask :) thanks

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It's relatively rare and harder than switching to a different program at the same institution but still technically possible. There are some anecdotes on these forums, but it requires a lot of luck. You have two options for out of province transfer, apply through the national transfer process, which starts with you reaching out to your own PGME and will eventually need support of your own program, so usually its only done for proximity to family or change in life situation as opposed to poor performance or relationship with your own program. The second option is to reapply to CaRMS for any open second round spots, but this is highly compeditive and limited to available spots, of which there is usually lots of family med but usually only spots in less desirable places for the more compeditive specialties.

Unlike in the US, you can't just find someone who wants to swap with you and do a direct exchange. While it will increase your chances as the program has an availability, the program may rather have a different applicant in mind to take that open spot (ie someone from a different program at the same institution who is known to them).

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Harder these days but something in the past 10ish years my program has accepted three transfers from other programs and one other pending, small specialty 


1 - resident’s spouse matched one year later to this city, resident transferred to our program for pgy-2 so they could be in same city together 

2- resident spouse employed in our city, resident transferred to our city for same reasons. I forget what pgy-year, somewhere 2 or 3 I think maybe?

3- resident’s spouse matched to internal sub specialty fellowship here, resident transferred to our program in pgy-4 to be with our spouse 

4- we are accepting a pgy-5 to our program this month, reasons unspecified

It is difficult to transfer but not impossible

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