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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). Courses are designed to provide an orientation to the Canadian health care system and prepare visa trainees to work effectively in Ontario health care environments.

All learners participate in facilitated sessions and have the opportunity to engage in Online Simulated Patient 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.

visa learners since 2014
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2022 Program Dates

Touchstone Institute Learning programs will be delivered virtually.

The planned dates for the 2022 Learning Programs (Pre-Residency Program, Pre-Residency Program – Family Medicine, and Canadian Medicine Primer) are illustrated below.

Trainees of all programs must attend a Foundations module and an Advanced module in sequential fashion.


Foundations April 25 – April 29
May 30 – June 3
Advanced May 2 – May 6
May 9 – May 13
June 6 – June 10


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 an orientation date.

A Zoom link will be provided for the orientation upon registration to the program.

Sessions utilize simulated patient 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 System includes all session slides, tip-sheets, and session specific resources.

The Online Learning System also includes mandatory interactive modules which compliment didactic sessions to provide orientation to foundational topics.

Weekly Multiple Choice Quizzes are conducted on the Online Learning System to ensure learners are able to identify the key session objections from each week of programming.

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 referral information and payment options.

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

CMP includes optional BLS & ACLS certification held over one weekend at the Michener Institute in Toronto.

Learners will receive a registration form from Touchstone Institute on confirmation of their attendance in PRP. It is the responsibility of each learner to complete the registration form and send it directly to the Michener Institute before the deadline of their preferred session.

Touchstone Institute will provide those learners who elect to certify through the Michener Institute with a link to purchase materials and will reimburse learners for these materials with proof of purchase and attendance confirmation provided by the Michener Institute. 

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

  • Feedback methods – 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 Clinical Team – a session focused on their unique role as a supervisor and manager of junior trainees in a clinical setting.
  • In-training evaluation reports (ITERs) and feedback tools – 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 in order 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.

Online Quizzes

Each week, you will complete online MCQs.  Questions are based on the key concepts from session material. The answers will be provided to you immediately after you finish the quiz for reference.

Learner Assessment Report

A report – which includes your simulated client feedback, MCQ results, 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.

Virtual Programming Expectations

Virtual Programming Expectations & Technology Requirements


All programming will be delivered virtually. All learners attending the programming are expected to:

  • Attend all live sessions as scheduled
  • Participate in virtual simulations as required
  • Complete all asynchronous sessions and activities as specified in Virtual Learning System


To participate in 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)
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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 mandatory. However, if issues arise that prevent you from attending the program, there will be no penalty or impact on your entry to training.

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 and syllabi two weeks prior to the program beginning.

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

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

In order to attain full benefit from the program, your attendance for the full 2 weeks is mandatory. All absences from scheduled programming are documented and included in your learner assessment 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 classes 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 Patient 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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