During Residency

PARA aims to assist and support you throughout your residency by providing you with the knowledge and tools to be successful. In this section you will find information most relevant to your day-to-day life as a resident physician.

  1. How many working days do I receive for exam preparation and writing?
    Article 10.03:
    Outside of those Programs modified to accommodate preparation for Canadian qualifying and licensing examinations through recommendation of their Residency Program Committee, each Resident shall be entitled to up to five (5) working day without loss of pay to prepare and write Canadian qualifying and licensing examinations, which includes those of the Medical Council of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Under their working contract, resident physicians are entitled to five days for exam leave for each exam that meets the the following criteria:

  • Canadian qualifying and licensing exam
  • Exams of the Medical Council of Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada, or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

These days include the day of the actual writing of the exam, travel days, and preparation time.

  1. When can exam leave be scheduled?
    While travel and writing days are dictated by the date(s) of the exam, preparation time is not. Exam leave preparation days do not have to fall immediately prior to the exam, in the same rotation as the exam, or on consecutive days. As there is usually more than one resident physician writing these exams, it is wise to book your time off early. If you book early, you may also be able to take advantage of any remaining flex or float days.
  2. Am I eligible for exam leave if I am writing an American certification exam?
    Article 10.03:
    …A Resident shall be granted unpaid leave up to five (5) working days for the purpose of taking American professional certification examinations.

Yes, resident physicians are eligible for unpaid exam leave to write certification exams in the United States.

Please note that the USMLE is not a certification examination. It deals with the issue of licensure which is not covered in the PARA Agreement. This means that there is no requirement to provide a resident physician with time off for any part of the USMLE.  However, the resident physician should still approach the program to request time off.

  1. Is conference leave available?
    Article 10.01:
    Residents who are performing at a satisfactory academic level may be granted leave with pay to attend educational events such as medical conferences, provided that the educational event and the attendance at such educational event is approved by the appropriate University Program Director or Department Head. This leave shall not be unreasonably requested or denied.

Yes, a flexible amount of paid conference leave is available with the approval of your program director.

  1. How early do I need to apply for exam or conference leave?
    Article 10.04:
    Applications for education leaves of absence shall be made in writing to the Program Director a minimum of four (4) weeks in advance of the exam date in order that Resident substitutions may be arranged. Applications shall indicate the date of departure on leave and the date of return. Confirmation of the leave shall be made by the Program Director within two (2) weeks of the initial request.

Requests should be made in writing at least a month before the requested time away. The sooner these requests are submitted, the more likely resident physicians are to get the days they want. Resident physicians should be prepared to be flexible about the scheduling of these absences, especially their exam preparation time.

After an overnight Emergency Medicine shift, am I entitled to a post-call day?

Post-call days described in Articles 14.04(e) and 14.05(e) relate specifically to in-house and home call, not Emergency Medicine; Emergency Medicine hours fall under Regular Duty Hours in Article 14.02(b) which states “Residents on Emergency Medicine rotations who are scheduled for shifts shall not exceed a total of 60 hours of shifts per week.” Resident physicians that have service, education, or other expectations the morning following an overnight Emergency Medicine shift should consider contacting their program to ask if alternate arrangements can be made.


When is a resident physician performing an Emergency Medicine shift entitled to an Emergency Medicine shift stipend?

Resident physicians who perform Emergency Medicine shifts are entitled to a stipend when “one full hour worked on the shift occurs between midnight and 6 a.m.” [Articles 14.09(b)i & 14.09(b)ii]


If I am entitled to an Emergency Medicine shift stipend, do I receive the stipend rate for the day the shift starts or the day it ends?

Unlike the call stipend rates that are determined based on the day the shift commences, the Emergency Medicine shift rate is tied to the day on which “one full hour worked on the shift occurs between midnight and 6 a.m.” [Articles 14.09(b)i & 14.09(b)ii] For example, an Emergency Medicine shift that commences at 11 p.m. on Friday and is completed at 7 a.m. on Saturday is eligible for the weekend Emergency Medicine stipend rate, because the “one full hour worked..between midnight and 6 a.m.” is on Saturday.


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