The following questions and answers are broken down into categories depending upon whether you are seeking more general information or if you have more specific questions as a medical resident, practicing physician, medical student or community member.
If you do not see your question/answer listed here, please contact saskdocs at email@example.com.
I want to know more about Saskatchewan health care employers. Who are they and how does saskdocs work with them?
Regional Health Authorities (RHAs), the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (SCA) and private clinics all are considered the main health care employers in Saskatchewan. They employ doctors either directly or through affiliated health care organizations. saskdocs works closely with each of these organizations to help find the right candidate for the right community or practice, whether they are family physicians or specialists. The Saskatchewan Medical Association’s (SMA) website has a specific page that contains links and further information on each employer.
How do I set up a saskdocs profile?
You can set up a profile with saskdocs by following this link. By answering a series of questions and filling in required fields your profile will allow us to keep in contact with you about opportunities and information as it becomes available.
What are the benefits of setting up a profile?
You will have the option to receive automatic email notifications of practice opportunities when they are posted on our website and have the option to apply directly online, as well as our newsletter, event notifications and program information.
What are Alternate Payment Plans (APP) or Alternate Funding Plans (AFP)?
The Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) has a great online guide that explains the different types of remuneration models. You can download a copy of the guide - Evaluating Practice Opportunities by following this link.
I would like assistance with financial planning, including taxation planning and becoming incorporated. What resources are available?
MD Financial Management, with the CMA Group of Companies, can assist you through all stages of your career from student to retirement. You can connect with MD Financial Management throughout Canada. In Saskatchewan their offices are located in Saskatoon and Regina.
Alternatively, you can connect with an accountant and financial planner of your choice.
Is there a professional association in Saskatchewan that I can become a member of?
The Saskatchewan Medical Association is a voluntary professional association for physicians in Saskatchewan, where over 90 per cent of physicians are members. The SMA also represents the vast majority of medical students and residents training in Saskatchewan.
Some of the programs and services offered by the SMA include, but are not limited to:
- Continuing Medical Education (CME) Fund
- Education and Leadership
- Bursaries and Grants
- Roadmap Program for Students and Residents
You can find more information on the SMA’s website.
As a physician, how do I become licenced in Saskatchewan?
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan (CPSS) is the licensing body for all physicians practicing in the province. Information on applying for a license to practice in Saskatchewan is available on its website. If you are Family Physician and completed your training as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) and your credentials are not recognized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, you will need to contact our office (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am new to Saskatchewan, how do I obtain a Saskatchewan Health Card?
Please visit eHealth Saskatchewan to apply.
What is a Collaborative Emergency Centre (CEC) and where are they in Saskatchewan?
Collaborative Emergency Centres (CECs) are an innovative way to improve access to both primary health care and emergency care. The CECs were first introduced in Nova Scotia and the model is to improve access to stable, reliable primary health care, which reduces emergency room visits and increases patient and provider satisfaction.
Saskatchewan has introduced CECs to address the challenges of providing health care in rural communities.
The province’s first CEC opened in Maidstone in September 2013, followed by Shaunavon in November 2013 and Canora in July 2014.
Additional information can be found on the Government of Saskatchewan website.
University of Saskatchewan medical resident questions
Is there any guidance or assistance for new medical residents?
Entering and surviving residency can be a challenge. Our colleagues at Sunnybrook Hospital in Ontario provide a few tips for new doctors. You can watch it here. Also, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has created a resident timeline tool for residents in family medicine. The tool is available by following this link.
The CMA also offers professional development (PD) seminars all the time. Please visit this section of the CMA website to find out more about PD opportunities that may be available to you.
Career planning can be a daunting task. Where do I begin?
It is important to commence your job search early on in your training and continually network with physicians and stakeholders in Saskatchewan throughout your residency. Opportunities are available on our website and we are here to assist you with your career planning. Please feel free to connect with us at any time to set-up a meeting and start exploring options for you and your family in Saskatchewan (email@example.com).
I’m new into practice; what do I need to know?
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) compiled resourceful information about entering professional practice. The RCPSC has resources online that include:
The Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) New in Practice Guide that contains everything you need to know about transitioning to practice — in one place;
- Clinical and professional development;
- Employment resources;
- Billing information;
- Managing your practice;
- Ethical and cultural resources; and,
- Physician health and work-life balance.
Are there financial incentives available to me as a U or S resident in Saskatchewan?
Yes, there are several programs, some of which include:
Graduate Retention Program – you may be eligible for this tax incentive that is made available by the Government of Saskatchewan. Please note if you completed your education and training out of province you will need to apply for this program.
Student Loan Interest Relief – the Government of Saskatchewan provides reimbursement to PAIRS members on their interest paid on provincial/federal government student loans. The program is administered by saskdocs.
Canada Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses - the Government of Canada offers Canada Student Loan forgiveness to eligible family doctors, residents in family medicine, nurse practitioners, and nurses who work in rural or remote communities.
Are there incentives available to practice in Saskatchewan?
saskdocs administers the Rural Physician Incentive Program, available to recent medical graduates. The grant can amount to $120,000/family physician, paid out incrementally over a period of five years. A rural or remote community in Saskatchewan means one with a population of 10, 000 or less.
The Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) offers bursaries and grants, please visit their website for additional information.
Additional resources available to you include:
- CMA Practice Profiles
- Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Medical Services Branch Annual Statistical Report
- Professional Association of Internes & Residents of Saskatchewan (PAIRS)
- University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan medical student questions
What does saskdocs offer students?
saskdocs works closely with Canadian and international medical students and residents to prepare for their practice in Saskatchewan. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can help with your career planning and assign you a recruiter to assist you. You can also refer to our events calendar to see when one of our recruiters will be at a university or career fair near you.
What mentoring programs are available?
The U of S College of Medicine offers mentoring programs for medical students. More information is available from its website
How do I become a mentor?
You can find more information on mentorship by visiting this section of the U of S College of Medicine website.
What is PREP?
The Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan’s Rural Externship Program (PREP) is an externship opportunity for University of Saskatchewan medial students who are between their second and third years of study. These externships allow students to shadow practicing physicians in rural and remote communities throughout the province gaining valuable clinical expertise and experiencing what rural Saskatchewan has to offer.
The program is jointly managed by saskdocs, Regional Health Authorities, the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) and U of S College of Medicine.
You can download the PREP application form by following this link.
Additional information on the program can be found at the following link:
If you are a doctor and are interested in becoming a PREP preceptor please contact saskdocs at the address below.
MAIL: #1-311 Wellman Lane, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7T 0J1
PHONE: Toll Free: 1 (888) 415-3627 | Phone: 1 (306) 933-5000
How can I get additional rural exposure?
In addition to PREP, the SMA offers the Rural and Regional Clinical Skills Program.
What is community experience?
The community experience program (different than PREP) is a part of the clinical skills course for first year U of S medical students. The program is designed to match students to rural, remote or urban locations that in underserved areas of Saskatchewan in order to complete a clinical observerships. More information on rural experiences is available here.
How do I obtain a residency seat in Saskatchewan?
All medical students applying for residency positions in Canada must do so through the Canadian Residence Matching Service (CaRMS). The CaRMS is a national, not-for-profit, fee-for-service organization established in 1969 at the request of medical students seeking an independent entity to provide a fair and transparent application and matching service for entry into postgraduate medical training throughout Canada. Further information on CaRMS interview tips to help you match are provided on the CaRMS website (links below).
CaRMS - http://www.carms.ca/
Here are additional resources for you as you prepare for your CaRMS match:
The blog Boring EM has a condensed quick view of the CaRMS Guide. You can see the blog post here.
I am interested in Family Medicine residency in Saskatchewan. Where can I pursue my residency?
You can apply for a training seat in Saskatoon, Regina or any Distributive Medical Education site in any one of the following cities:
Questions regarding return of service contracts
I have just received a SMA bursary or matched to an IMG Residency seat, who administers my Return of Service (ROS)?
saskdocs (The Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan) administers ROS contracts on behalf of the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) and the Ministry of Health. The contract will be between the Province of Saskatchewan (Minister of Health) and yourself.
How long is my ROS?
Each ROS contract is different.
If you have an IMG Residency ROS, the duration of the contract is one year of service for each year of training.
Each SMA bursary also has specific terms. Please visit: http://www.sma.sk.ca/programs/6/bursaries-and-grants.html to find the terms of your bursary.
If I decide to repay my bursary/training, how much would I owe?
If you were to repay your SMA bursary before starting your ROS, you would repay the total amount plus interest from the date the monies were advanced to you. IMG Residency ROS repayment includes all training and education fees as well as salary, benefits and on call stipends for the duration of your residency, plus interest as per the contract.
I would like to pursue fellowship training after I complete my residency? How will this affect my ROS?
Notify saskdocs once you’ve been accepted to a fellowship program or you are considering pursuing a fellowship. If you have been approved to defer your ROS for the length of the fellowship, you will be expected to return to Saskatchewan to serve your ROS at completion of your fellowship training. If there are no practice opportunities available to you in your sub-specialty, it is expected that you would practice in your most generalized area of specialty training.
What happens if I need to take a Maternity/Paternity/Health Leave of Absence while I am serving my ROS?
We would put your ROS on hold and continue tracking it once you return to practice. If you are still a resident when you take your leave, we would amend your ROS to extend your education end date.
What happens if I practice less than full time?
We will pro-rate the length of your ROS contract to reflect your decision to practice less than full time.
What is the definition of “Full-Time Practice”?
For the purposes of the IMG residency bursaries and networked seats full time practice means you are in a single community practicing in a similar manner to other full time physicians who are in the community. “Full time practice” is not currently defined by a number of days or billing amount.
If you choose to locum either with the SMA Rural Relief Program or a RHA Locum Program, the RHA or the SMA would be considered the “single community”.
For the purposes of the SMA bursaries full time practice is defined as:
Seventy-five per cent (75%) of total income from practicing as a medical physician (in Saskatchewan or out of province) is achieved through work in a single remote/rural/regional practice. The minimum gross income from work as a medical physician must be $100,000 per year to qualify as full time.
These definitions are subject to change so please contact our office to confirm the definition.
Why are there variations in the definitions of Full-Time Practice?
While these bursaries are all administered by saskdocs, the program parameters are set by the sponsoring/funding organization (Ministry of Health and SMA).
As well, financial support provided to medical residents and physicians through these bursaries varies from $15,000 to over $125,000 and therefore there is a different expectation for service or financial repayment.
Are there cases when my service/financial obligation would be deferred or forgiven?
In exceptional cases, the return for service obligation may be considered for deferral, partial forgiveness or full forgiveness. Please contact saskdocs for further information.
Our community needs a physician. What is the process to post a career opportunity on your website?
The first step is to contact your Regional Health Authority (RHA). Once the RHA confirms its support for the position the opportunity will be posted on the saskdocs website and will be promoted to local and external candidates.
What is physician retention?
Good retention begins with good recruitment, but it extends well beyond that.
The physician relationship should not end when the doctor signs the contract or begins their first day on the job. It must be an ongoing process of continuous relationship building activities that will help the physician and the family adjust, develop their practice and establish personal connections. Constant turnover is both costly and has a significant impact on a practice, a community and a RHA.
A well planned strategy that integrates factors such as appreciation, connection and active support can go a long way.
Should we be providing incentives to support the recruitment of a physician?
Research shows that financial incentives may attract physicians to rural areas. However, in the long term the efficacy of financial incentives is limited. It is important when providing incentives that the terms of the agreement are clearly defined.
The results from the 2007 National Physician Survey (NPS) provide a comprehensive look at the way physicians selected their current work location. The top reasons, in order of priority, included: availability of a practice opportunity; appealing location; family reasons; and, availability of medical/support system resources. Financial and recruitment incentives ranked eighth overall.
If a community elects to offer financial support to provide assistance with site visits, relocation expenses and/or housing and vehicle supports, then a return of service (ROS) contract is recommended. The contract should list:
- the monetary assistance that will be provided,
- the length of service required to fulfil the commitment; and
- the financial repayment requirement if the service obligation is not fulfilled.
Are site visits an important aspect of physician recruitment?
The site visit is a critical component of any physician recruitment and retention strategy. Retention begins with making a good match in the first place. The site visit is an invaluable means to ensure this occurs.
The site visit further builds on the relationship that was initiated in the interview; it demonstrates a strong interest in the physician and family; and, serves as a basis on which to create a lasting relationship. In addition, the site visit provides an opportunity to align expectations. The physician is able to see the clinic, the hospital, accommodations and meet the people that will become the center of his/her new life. Everyone can move forward with a clear understanding of what’s expected. The site visit also allows you to better judge the physician’s compatibility with other members of the practice and with the community.
Who pays for the cost of a site visit?
Although RHAs and communities differ in their abilities to pay, the cost of the site visit for the physician and spouse should be covered by one or both. If your community is in a vacation area, you may wish to consider policies that prevent the "paid vacation syndrome.” One example is to arrange the visit under the terms that the expenses will be covered if the physician accepts the position. However, if the physician does not accept the position he/she may be responsible for a portion or all of the costs.
Literature shows that orientation and introduction is critical, but in addition to the basic introductions a person must have an opportunity to become a part of the environment so they can foster a feeling of belonging and loyalty. Physician Retention Committees are the key stakeholders in the process of assimilation, integration that will then lead to retention.
I have heard the term community navigator/buddy. Who is that person and what do they do?
Physician retention committees will typically assign one member of the committee to establish a relationship and act as a community navigator or buddy. The community navigator will serve to provide an ongoing connection. Some of the responsibilities might include:
- helping the new physician and the family to network with other community members;
- providing responses to community, regional and provincial questions;
- serving as the first point of contact for any questions or issues that may arise; and
- providing assistance to integrate the physician and family into the community.
We would like to plan a physician appreciation event. Do you have any recommendations?
Physician appreciation is a key component of any retention strategy. It is usually simple to accomplish with little or no cost involved and it is a great way to show how much you care. Many benefits come through physician appreciation including:
- fostering good will by letting your physicians know the community appreciates their hard work and commitment; and,
- encouraging good working relationships.
There are many ways to demonstrate your community’s appreciation including:
- communication through the local newspapers;
- recognition event/award ceremony;
- newsletters; and,
- host a breakfast, lunch, BBQ, evening cocktail hour.
Is there information that we can share with our new immigrant physician to assist them prepare for a new life in Canada?
Yes. Scotiabank has a great online resource at this link
How do we go about obtaining additional information about settling a physician and their family in our Community?
Please contact saskdocs to make arrangements with your RHA to arrange a recruitment and retention workshop with community members.
- The Saskatchewan Physician Recruitment and Retention Handbook is an excellent source of information based on best practices conducted across the country. The Handbook can be found by following this link.
- One financial institution that provides a handbook to all new Canadians about banking services in Canada is Scotiabank. The handbook can be found at the following link:Citizenship and Immigration Canada has an excellent guide on its website that provides further information on living in Canada. The guide can be found at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/welcome/index.asp