Can any doctor perform my medical exam for Canadian immigration?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: February 8, 2024

Canadian newcomers who require a medical exam might be surprised to learn that they cannot visit any doctor to have their immigration medical exam (IME) completed.

Considering the persisting importance of medical exams for many Canadian newcomers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clarifies that not all doctors are authorized to perform IMEs for Canadian temporary residence (TR) and permanent residence (PR) applicants. Specifically, “only a panel physician authorized by [IRCC] can do the immigration medical exam.”

In other words, unless the applicant’s family doctor is named on IRCC’s list of panel physicians, they cannot be chosen to administer an IME.

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Note: Panel Physicians are defined in IRCC’s glossary* as “medical [doctors] appointed by IRCC to perform immigration medical examinations.”

*Please be aware that this is not a legal definition and is only intended to provide “explanations for different words … [used] online” by IRCC

IRCC notes that panel physicians can be found around the world. According to IRCC, the medical exam recipient is required to inform the physician of where their application will be processed “so that the medical results can be sent to the right office.” Furthermore, the applicant is required to pay for the medical exam themselves, a cost that can vary from one doctor to another.

Click here to see IRCC’s list of panel physicians in your country, territory or region.

Note: The tool above allows users to filter through IRCC’s list by country, noting also that if “a specific Panel Physician [is not] available when making an appointment, an alternate Panel Physician or authorized replacement might be suggested to you by the clinic.”

Recent policy amendments related to medical exams for Canadian newcomers

Although policy amendments dating back several years have changed the medical exam requirements for some Canadian newcomers, many foreign nationals seeking entry into Canada still require a medical exam as part of the TR or PR process.

For instance, last October, IRCC removed the upfront medical examination requirement for Express Entry applicants.

This does not mean medical exams are no longer required for PR in Canada. This policy change simply means that Express Entry candidates* do not need to have them completed before they submit their application.

*The difference between a candidate and an applicant is that candidates are still in the pre-submission stage of the process. A candidate becomes an applicant once they submit their application to IRCC.

More: Click here for more information about the October 2023 policy change, including crucial details about the IME.

On the other hand, however, certain work permit applicants are still required to obtain a medical exam to work in Canada. The same is true for some study permit applicants.

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