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CaRMS timeline for medical students (2020-2021)

The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) carries out a complex and time-consuming process but having a sense of what to expect will help set you up for success.

This year, a compressed timeline and virtual interviews will make the process a little different, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the new timeline. We’ve put together an outline to help you get started, but for the precise dates, be sure to visit the CaRMS website.

Not sure what residency matching is all about? Check out Everything you need to know about CaRMS.


Summer/fall 2020

Get a head start by working on your personal statements, polishing up your resumé, and finalizing the list of programs you’d like to apply to. You should also have a good idea about which physicians and/or professors you’d like to use as references. Let them know in advance so that they have time to prepare an excellent reference letter.


November 2020

The CaRMS online portal opens for business! All registered applicants, as well as final-year Canadian medical graduates, receive an email with information on how to log into the CaRMS online portal and to start their application. They receive the email on November 2, at noon (ET).

Applications are due in early February 2021, so you still have plenty of time to finalize your resumé and other supporting documents.

The portal gives you all the information you need about specific program requirements (later in November), as well as about how your references get their letters to CaRMS on time.

Pro-tip: The CFMS/CaRMS Matchbook comes out in September and contains lots of information to help you navigate the matching process.


January 2021

You can now start selecting the programs you intend to apply to through the CaRMS online portal. Your medical school transcripts and Medical School Performance Record (MSPR) are due toward the end of January. Your faculty sends these directly to CaRMS, but it’s up to you to make sure that this step is properly completed. You can track and confirm that this has happened through the CaRMS portal.


February 2021

There’s a lot going on this month: your letters of reference and applications are due, and the residency programs are going to start reviewing applications.

Pro-tip: Anything received past the CaRMS due date is time-stamped as late, so be sure to get everything in on time.


Early March 2021

Your applications have been reviewed and interested programs are starting to contact you to book interviews. It’s time to start preparing for your virtual interviews!

Pro-tip: The Canadian Medical Association offers a free CaRMS interview prep program to its members.


Mid-to-late March 2021

It’s time to participate in the CaRMS Virtual Tour! The national interview period begins. While you would normally travel for in-person interviews, this March you’ll be interviewed from the comfort of your own home.


April 2021

Your rank order list is due around the middle of the month via the CaRMS online portal. Be sure to check the exact due date on the CaRMS site because late lists will not be accepted.


April 20, 2021

It’s Match Day! Today, you get the big news (via the CaRMS portal) about where you’ll be doing your residency training. You’ve got this!


May 2021

If you didn’t get matched in the first iteration, don’t worry – you now get a second chance. All available unmatched residency spots are published on the CaRMS portal immediately after Match Day. Your second iteration applications and reference letters are due this month. Programs review those applications, and then you’ll submit your second iteration rank order list. Match Day for the second iteration is on May 20.


June 2021

Graduation time! Congratulations! While your graduation ceremony might look different this year, be sure to celebrate this milestone with friends and family.


July 2021

You begin life as a resident physician. Take the time to pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you’ve put in throughout medical school and for successfully navigating the residency application process. You’ve earned this!


Next steps

If you have any questions about the residency matching process itself, please contact CaRMS directly.

MD Financial Management is happy to help you with the budgeting and other financial planning aspects of your continuing journey. We have a dedicated team of Early Career Advisors to assist medical students and early career physicians like you navigate your transition to residency and then to practice.

Contact an Early Career Advisor today.