Canadian Medicine Primer



The Canadian Medicine Primer (CMP) aims to facilitate a successful transition to residency training and postgraduate education in Ontario for visa trainees (residents and clinical fellows).
Sessions are designed to provide an orientation to the Canadian healthcare system and prepare visa trainees to work effectively in Ontario healthcare environments.
All learners participate in facilitated sessions and have the opportunity to engage in simulated client encounters.
Visa residents will have the option to attend our core programming applicable for all specialties. Those entering family medicine will also have the option to attend family medicine specific sessions.
Visa fellows are guided into a supervisory role, exploring the theory and practice of providing feedback to residents in clinical settings.
learners in the Canadian Medicine Primer since 2014
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2024 Program Dates

Touchstone Institute’s Canadian Medicine Primer will be available in two delivery models: hybrid and virtual-only. 

Trainees in the hybrid program must attend a virtual Foundations Module and an in-person Advanced Module in sequential fashion. Please see Program Expectations for information on trainees attending the virtual-only program 

The planned dates for the 2024 Canadian Medicine Primer are illustrated below. 

Foundations (Virtual) April 8 – April 12
May 13 – May 17
Advanced (In-person) April 15 – April 19
May 27 – May 31
June 3 – June 7
June 17 – June 21


Program Details

To ensure all learners are fully oriented on the details of the Pre-Residency Program, Pre-Residency Program – FM, and the Canadian Medicine Primer, a program orientation will be provided.   

Upon a successful match to a training position, Touchstone Institute staff will connect with you to register for the program and to sign up for a virtual orientation date.

Interactive, synchronous sessions are held Monday to Friday during business hours. All sessions are delivered in Eastern Standard Time. 

Specific timing and schedules will be shared upon enrollment. 

Sessions utilize simulated client encounters and facilitated discussions to enhance learning.

Clinical simulation provides learners with the opportunity to apply course content in a formative and interactive environment. Simulated clinical encounters ensure that learners are able to put theory into practice while receiving feedback and direction.

The Online Learning Management System (LMS) includes all session slides, tip-sheets, and session specific resources.

The LMS also includes interactive modules which compliment didactic sessions to provide orientation to foundational topics.

To help support a learner’s transition into training, our programs offer individualized mentorship upon request. Confidential consultations with mentors may include generalized discussion on practice in Ontario, recommendations, and supports that will assist learners in future training.

All visa trainees beginning their training in Ontario are welcome to attend the CMP.

Please contact your PGME office for a referral or contact us directly for a referral information and payment options.

All visa trainees attending the program must be referred – whether by their PGME Office or Program.

In addition to attending core didactic sessions, visa fellows participate in the following dedicated sessions to prepare them for providing feedback:

  • Feedback Methodology – Methodologies, tips and techniques for providing effective feedback. Fellows reflect on their own skills and what they can expect in the Canadian context.
  • Managing a Team as a Clinical Fellow – A session focused on their unique role as a supervisor and manager of junior trainees in a clinical setting.
  • Understanding ITERs & Evaluation – A session on ITERs and feedback tools used in practice with patients and junior trainees.

The CMP program provides learners with individualized feedback about their skills in relation to what is expected in postgraduate training.

For learners entering fellowship, the focus is on their readiness to perform a supervisory role in the Ontario health care system.

The goal is to ensure learners receive formative feedback on:

  • Unique strengths and opportunities to improve
  • Resources to ensure their readiness for postgraduate training in Ontario

Simulations (Visa Residents)

Small group simulations allow learners to engage in directly with simulated clients and receive individualized feedback on the encounter.

Simulations (Visa Fellows)

Learners entering fellowship are evaluated on their ability to provide effective feedback to residents based on their performance in simulated client encounters.

Learner Evaluation Report

A report –  including simulated client performance indicators, online module completion and detailed attendance – is provided to your program director and/or sponsoring agency to ensure they are able to tailor your residency experience accordingly based on your strengths and opportunities to improve. Learners will be provided the opportunity to request a copy of their Learner Report.

Programming Expectations

For 2024, the program is available in two delivery models: hybrid and virtual-only. The Hybrid Program is made up of two one-week modules: 

  • Foundations Module: One week of virtual synchronous interactive sessions with asynchronous case studies & simulation.   
  • Advanced Module: One week of in-person synchronous interactive sessions with individualized simulation with simulated clients and facilitators. Clinical Fellow trainees will have the opportunity to practice providing resident feedback with a dedicated Clinical Fellow facilitator.  

Trainees in the Virtual-Only Program attend the virtual facilitator-led sessions during the Foundations Module and have access to the Advanced Module recorded sessions and materials on our Learning Management System. 

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For those attending the Hybrid and Virtual-Only Programs. 

This one-week module will be delivered virtually. All learners attending programming are expected to: 

  • Attend all live sessions as scheduled 
  • Complete all asynchronous sessions and activities as specified 

To participate in virtual programming, learners are required to have: 

  • A stable and secure internet connection 
  • Attend on a device that supports a camera and microphone (computer or tablet recommended; phones will not be supported for live sessions) 
  • Zoom installed and up to date on your supported device 

To optimize the experience of the program, learners are recommended to have: 

  • A private and quiet space to attend programming 
  • A separate headset (wired or wireless) 

For those attending the Hybrid Program only. 

This one-week module will be delivered in-person. All learners attending programming are expected to: 

  • Attend all in-person sessions as scheduled at Touchstone Institute located in Toronto. Sessions will be delivered Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 5:00pm.   
  • Participate in simulated clinical encounters as required. 


More about this program

The CMP is offered to foreign sponsored and non-sponsored visa trainees studying at the University of Toronto, Western University, University of Ottawa, Queen's University, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) or McMaster University.

Visa trainees and fellows at participating institutions will receive an email offer from Touchstone Institute to participate in the CMP after receiving a referral from the associated medical school. At that time, you will be asked to confirm your interest in attending the program. All confirmed participants receive a welcome letter with additional program details prior to the start of classes.

Please review the program date offerings online and with your program and postgraduate offices; they will work with you in determining which program iteration is best suited for your training.

The CMP has been designed to prepare new international residents and clinical fellows for a successful transition to postgraduate medical training in an Ontario medical school clinical setting. Enrollment criteria for the CMP are program specific. Once you have enrolled in the CMP, attendance is required. However, if issues arise that prevent you from attending the program, there will be no penalty or impact on your entry to training. Inform your postgraduate office and Touchstone Institute if you are no longer able to attend as soon as possible. 

We can provide you with a letter of invitation upon request if you need one. You do not require a work permit/visa to attend the Canadian Medicine Primer; you will require a work permit/visa for your postgraduate training. 

We will be contacting you via email to provide you with the necessary details to access our Online Learning Management System (LMS) before you begin the program. You can expect to retain access to the LMS for up to 365 days after completing the program.

Online modules are available once the program begins. If applicable, a pre-reading list will be issued to you along with your schedule prior to the program beginning.

Yes, there is. Trainees in the Virtual-Only Program attend the virtual facilitator-led sessions during the Foundations Module and have access to the Advanced Module recorded sessions and materials on our Learning Management System. The Virtual-Only Program does not include the in-person interactions with simulated clients and facilitators. 

You must confirm with your school that you can attend the Virtual-Only Program, prior to registration.

To provide a harmonized experience for all IMGs entering training in Ontario the program is centrally delivered at Touchstone Institute located in Toronto. Accordingly, there are no other location options for the Advanced Module.

At the current time, all those entering our facility or attending our events are required to be fully vaccinated as defined by the Ontario Ministry of Health. We also strongly recommend everyone receive all vaccines/boosters they are eligible for in addition to this minimum requirement. Our policy is informed by Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines. Information on what safety precautions will be expected for in-person learning will be outlined in future communications. 

Synchronous programming runs Monday to Friday, typically from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. You will have breaks scheduled throughout the day.

Family Medicine residents will also be required to complete asynchronous sessions outside of these hours.

You will find out specific timing for your weeks of programming prior to the start date.

To attain full benefit from the program, your attendance in full is mandatory. All absences from scheduled programming are documented and included in your Learner Report provided to your program and PGME office.

The integration of physician facilitators in our program is a key aspect of your learning in the program. Physicians are integrated in a multitude of ways, leading to a very blended model.

Didactic Sessions: All sessions are developed and delivered by practising physicians and healthcare professionals who understand learner’s unique needs, and are considered to be subject matter experts in their field. Many of these sessions also involve various aspects of facilitation, which can include discussions with your peers and interactive session activities.

Simulation: Physician facilitators are also involved in simulated client encounters that are developed for online and in-person learning.

Our faculty are dedicated to your success both in the program and as you progress onward. If you ever have challenges or questions, the faculty will be pleased to provide you with support.

Additionally, you have the option to request a mentor. To help support a learner’s transition into training, our programs offer individualized mentorship upon request. Confidential consultations with mentors may include generalized discussion on practice in Ontario, recommendations, and supports that will assist learners in future training.

The Ontario university where you will be training may absorb the fee for your enrollment in the Canadian Medicine Primer to help you optimize your success as a postgraduate medical trainee. However, if you are a referred trainee who is responsible for covering the program fee, we will work with you to arrange programming costs.

With over 80 specialties and subspecialties in Ontario, the CMP focuses on addressing core competencies and subject areas that are applicable for all specialties during your transition to residency or fellowship training in Ontario. Accordingly, the sessions are not designed to provide you with details about your specific specialty, but they will provide you with the core competencies required to successfully transition into your training.

Touchstone Institute maintains strong relationships with all of the medical schools in Ontario and our staff are pleased to assist you with any questions that require the involvement of your matched school. If you approach or email any members of the team, we are happy to work with you in connecting you to the appropriate individuals to answer specific queries regarding your residency position or site.


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