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There are occasions when a resident or a residency program concludes that a transfer to another residency training program is in their best interests. Flexibility in postgraduate medical training is desirable and represents the cornerstone to a resident transfer policy. It creates a positive learning atmosphere and dynamic educational system. It also reduces the anxiety that for some, is associated with making a specialty choice early in their career.

This document outlines principles and procedures for transfers, balancing flexibility for residents and sustainability for programs.

This policy applies only to residents in positions matched through CaRMS. However, the principles are applicable to residents in other (externally funded) positions. Such residents should consult directly with the Assistant Dean, PGME.


1. Programs should be flexible and be open to changes that facilitate resident’s future careers.

2. Whenever possible, transfers should not subvert the CaRMS match. Transfers should not represent another ‘unofficial’ round of the CaRMS match.

3. Final decisions regarding transfer lie with the Assistant Dean, Postgraduate Medicine (PGDME).

4. Although all requests for transfers will be considered, it must be recognized that not all requests will be granted.

5. Residents must be acceptable to the program to which they are seeking transfer and must complete all components of the application process established by the program.

6. Programs that do not have sufficient resources to appropriately train additional residents should not be forced to accept transfer candidates.

7. Overall, transfers should not significantly alter the current distribution of residency positions among programs.

8. If additional funding is required to support the transfer, funding must be secured before the transfer can be approved.

9. Negative impacts on programs resulting from transfers should be minimized.

10. Both faculty and residents involved in a resident transfer are expected to behave in a mature, professional and confidential manner. Residents involved in transfers should be treated with respect and dignity.

11. Only a single transfer will be considered for a resident.

12. This transfer policy applies only to transfer within training programs in Saskatchewan.

13. Requests for transfers from Family Medicine or RCPSC residents in their PGY1 year will be considered after six months of training have been completed in the resident’s home program. Residents should have sufficient exposure to the program to which they are requesting transfer either in the last year of medical school or during their residency. An elective period in the receiving program may be required.

14.  Program transfers must follow the current Collective Agreement regarding resignation (Article 19.4).

15. Residents may request credit for training done prior to the transfer. Residents should be given appropriate credit for training done in their original training with the following considerations:

a. Residents in Royal College Programs must apply to the Royal College for review of their training and a ruling on how much of that training would be recognized by the Royal College. (Residents are responsible to initiate this assessment directly with the RCPS.)

b. The Royal College ruling would set the upper limit on how much of the prior training could be applied to the new training program.

c. The final decision as to how much credit will be applied will rest with the receiving Program Director in consultation with the Program Committee. This decision must be based on:

i. Applicability of prior training to meeting the objectives of training of the new program.

ii. A standard of performance by the resident that indicates the resident will have no difficulty in meeting the objectives of training within the training period.

d. It may not be possible to determine a priori what amount of credit should be applied to the resident’s new program. In such cases, unless there are extenuating circumstances, this should be determined within 1 year of entry into the program.

e. For residents transferring into a Family Medicine Training program, credit will be given based on regulations outlined in the CCFP ‘Redbook’ and determination by the Program Director of the Family Medicine residency.

16. It is recognized that informal discussion regarding career changes will occur. These discussions are not considered official until the resident initiates a formal transfer request as described in the procedures section.


1. Transfer request will be initiated by the resident.

a. Where a resident’s request for transfer is motivated by issues of intimidation or harassment, the resident should discuss this directly with the Assistant Dean of PGME prior to taking any further steps. Issues related to intimidation and harassment should be addressed comprehensively – not simply by removing the resident from the situation. This however would not prevent the resident from continuing to pursue transfer options should they so desire.

2. Residents considering transfer are strongly advised to discuss this with the Assistant Dean of Postgraduate Medical Education even before they have made a final decision to pursue this option.

a. Such discussions would be held strictly confidential and would not obligate the resident to pursue transfer.

b. The purpose of such discussions would be to assist the resident in evaluating their career goals and the optimum pathway to reach those goals and to outline the process, timelines and obligations of the resident with respect to transfers.

c. The Assistant Dean would also be able to assist the resident in determining if the proposed recipient program is able to accept another resident and if not, what alternatives are available to the resident. Residents holding existing contracts who are contemplating a career change through the 2nd iteration of CaRMS are also encouraged to discuss this with the Assistant Dean to ensure that they are apprised of the regulations applicable to such a transfer. Such a discussion would not jeopardize the resident’s existing position, and would be held confidential.

3. If no positions are available in the desired program the following options are available:

a. residents may consider application to a different program

b. residents may elect to remain in their current program

c. application through the 2nd iteration of CaRMS.

4. If the proposed program is able to accommodate another resident at the appropriate level, and the resident wishes to proceed, a formal transfer request must be submitted in writing to the Assistant Dean Postgraduate Medical Education. Written requests will then be referred to the Resident Transfer Committee which will review relevant documents, meet with the resident and forward a recommendation to the Assistant Dean PGME.

5. If the transfer is approved, the resident must -

a. Submit a formal application to the recipient program and comply with any application procedures stipulated by the program (interview, references, evaluations, etc.)

b. Upon notification by the recipient program of a successful application, provide written resignation to the current resident program in the time frame set out by the Collective Agreement (article 19.4).

6. If the transfer is not approved by the transfer committee, the committee will summarize its reasons for declining the request and forward these in writing to the Assistant Dean, who will meet with the resident to review the reasons.

7. Adverse effects on programs arising from transfer should be minimized. It is strongly recommended that the current and recipient program directors agree to a mutually acceptable transfer date.

8. Education and vacation leave will not be granted during the notice period.

9. It is expected that residents will act in a professional manner to fulfill all existing clinical and educational responsibilities to their original program. This includes, but is not limited to: full participation in day to day clinical and academic activities while they remain in the program, completion of discharge summaries and operative / procedure notes, on call responsibilities, attendance and participation in scheduled academic rounds and teaching responsibilities, research reports etc.


Composition of the Resident Transfer Policy Committee

1. Two faculty members (Program Directors)

a. Must not be involved in the transfer

b. Members of the Postgraduate Medical Education Committee

c. Selected by Assistant Dean PGME in collaboration with members of the Executive Committee of the PGMEC (excluding any involved Program Directors).

2. One resident representative from RDoS who is not involved in the transfer


Transfer Process: Information for Residents and Program Directors

The following chart summarizes the steps that are followed when a resident wishes to be transferred from one training program to another within the University of Saskatchewan. Residents seeking transfers to non-UofS programs should discuss this with the Assistant Dean PGME. Residents who currently hold a valid contract and wish to apply to a different program through the second iteration of CaRMS should also contact the Assistant Dean, and should carefully review the information provided by CaRMS regarding the legally binding nature of a match. Discussions between residents and the Assistant Dean regarding potential transfers will be confidential.


Resident contemplates transfer


Preliminary discussion with Assistant Dean PGME (confidential)


If resident wishes to proceed à Assistant Dean determines if position and / or funding is available to support transfer.


Resident discusses possible transfer with proposed program director (re: suitability / acceptability to program in principle. NB: this is not a guarantee of acceptance into the program)


Resident wishes to proceed with transfer > submits a written request to Assistant Dean PGME


Transfer Committee members selected by Assistant Dean in consultation with members of the Executive of PGMEC. (Residents are encouraged to notify current program directors of their request for transfer by this point as the Transfer Committee may wish to discuss issues around transfer with relevant program directors.)


Transfer committee reviews application and approves or declines transfer (in principle)


Resident makes formal application to program


Resident accepted by program


Resident must notify (in writing) program director of current program of intent to withdraw from the program


Mutually acceptable transfer dates established by both program directors. (NB: No holidays or leaves are permitted during this transitional stage).

Transfer dates and notification must adhere to the conditions outlined in collective agreement (1 calendar month)


Additional information

Prior to starting the new program, a transferring resident must fulfill all existing clinical and educational responsibilities to their original program.  This includes, but is not limited to: full participation in day to day clinical and academic activities, completion of discharge summaries and operative / procedure notes, on call responsibilities, attendance and participation in scheduled academic rounds and teaching responsibilities, research reports etc.

Residents should complete thorough transfer notes on all patients under their care and ensure direct communication with the resident who will assume care of the patients.

Residents must meet with their original program director to review outstanding responsibilities and expectations at least one month prior to transfer.  These expectations should be outlined in writing and placed in the resident’s file.  A copy should be provided to the resident. Any outstanding evaluations of the resident must be submitted before the transfer can occur. The final rotational evaluation and a summative report from the original program director must be completed within 30 days of the residents last day in the program.  Outstanding evaluations of faculty and rotations by the resident should be completed and submitted to the program within 30 days of their last day in the program.

The original program director will provide a letter to the receiving program director and the Assistant Dean attesting to the fact that the resident has satisfactorily completed all outstanding duties within their original program within 30 days of transfer. If a resident fails to fulfill these responsibilities, the program director should outline how the resident has failed to meet the agreed upon expectations. Failure to fulfill the responsibilities discussed above is a breach of professionalism and will result in a report appended to the resident’s file, and may be reflected in the resident’s FITER.

Revisions Approved – Postgraduate Medical Education Committee, November 13, 2015 Revised June 24, 2011
Passed by PGME Committee November 3, 2004

Passed by PGME Committee November 3, 2004
Revised June 24, 2011