The College’s commitment to support shadowing of physicians in clinical setting, commonly referred to as “observerships,” is captured in the Delegation of Controlled Acts policy as it relates to the practice of allowing IMGs to observe patient care in clinical settings.

The delegation is not intended to provide IMGs who do not have a certificate of registration with opportunities to gain credentials for their application for certification, nor to allow registered physicians to delegate controlled acts to IMGs for monetary or convenience reasons.

Under Ontario law, individuals acting as observers at hospitals in Ontario are not practising medicine because they do not have diagnostic, therapeutic or clinical contact with patients and therefore they do not require licensure with the College.

While observing physicians in clinical setting, IMGs become familiar with the standard health care practices in Ontario and gain first-hand insight into the Ontario healthcare system. Observerships provide IMGs with an invaluable learning experience as well as an opportunity to network in the medical community. Many IMGs benefit from being able to enhance occupation-specific language skills and workplace culture and communication style.  IMGs may also identify transferable skills leading to employment opportunities in non-regulated alternative healthcare sector while preparing for Canadian examinations and/or applying for postgraduate training in Ontario. 

The College does not administer observerships. IMGs intending to engage in observership in Ontario must start by contacting the local hospital or psychiatric facility in which they wish to have observer status. Each hospital is likely to have its own rules surrounding observerships. Also, note that not all hospitals offer formal observerships.

Please carefully review the College’s Delegation of Controlled Acts policy, available in the Policies and Publications section of the CPSO website.