Dear Colleagues,

Residency is a pivotal time in every physician’s life. The training we receive during residency, the relationships we build and the experiences we have, will have a profound impact on our lives and the people we become. At Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC), we believe that healthy residents are fulfilled physicians. Because of this, we are advocating tirelessly at the national level to champion the healthiest ways to learn and work.

Resident doctors are a critical part of the Canadian healthcare system, and we deserve work and train in a system that prioritizes our well-being and success. For far too long the culture of medicine has accepted that negative wellness outcomes are a normal part of residency. At RDoC we are making it clear that it is no longer acceptable for residents’ mental and physical health to bear the consequences of a fractured system. RDoC’s dedicated resident volunteers, with the support of the RDoC professional team, advocate for you at the national level to create changes that will positively impact the culture of medicine and provide the best possible training experience for current and future resident doctors. 

As a direct result of the advocacy of your resident peers at RDoC and within your provincial residency associations, we have seen great progress in our efforts to change the culture of medicine and to prioritize learner success this term. There is much work to be done, but rest assured we won’t stop until we have achieved the medical culture we want and need.  

I’d like to highlight some of the ways RDoC is driving system change at the national level by showcasing our recent advocacy work on extensions of training, Competence by Design (CBD), resident mobility and accreditation. 

Extensions of training: RDoC’s position is that extensions of training must be backed by a rigorous, evidence-based rationale and done in consultation with learners. In 2022, the CFPC moved forward with a plan to extend family medicine training. In response, RDoC, in collaboration with fellow national and provincial learner organizations, advocated that there was not sufficient evidence that changing the current length of the training would result in improved training for residents or better outcomes for Canadians. In November 2023, the CFPC announced their decision to cease plans to extend family medicine training and instead explore new education reforms with greater consultation and transparency. RDoC will continue to hold the CFPC accountable to ensure that family medicine training is designed in a manner that prioritizes the best interests of medical learners and the Canadian public. 

Competence by Design (CBD): RDoC has been fully engaged in ensuring that the resident perspective is not only heard, but is fully integrated into the design and implementation of the Royal College Competence by Design training model.  We’ve seen a profound shift in thinking with the College’s Commitment to Action to optimize the training experience for residents and address the crushing burden that assessment places on the shoulders of residents. There is much more work to do and, thanks to the many resident volunteers at RDoC, we are making progress.

Resident mobility: Resident well-being is predicated on our ability to train, work and live where  we choose. Ultimately, the entire healthcare system benefits when residents have this freedom.  Our mobility should not be hindered by the administrative and financial burdens imposed by licensing requirements. RDoC is working with regulatory authorities to remove these burdens so residents can access the training opportunities that we need to optimize our medical education and create the futures we want.

Accreditation: RDoC plays a pivotal role empowering residents to contribute to continuous quality improvement of their programs while holding their institutions accountable to accreditation standards. By engaging residents as part of the national CanRAC accreditation teams, and by running for-resident-by resident workshops that prepare residents for their involvement in their institutions accreditation reviews, RDoC empowers residents to be system changemakers within their programs.     

This work is being driven by the tireless efforts of our resident colleagues with the support of the dedicated RDoC professional team and we are confident that it will lead to a better medical culture that prioritizes learners’ success and well-being for generations to come. 

Throughout the week we will be sharing posts of appreciation from our fellow national organizations, PGME offices and the provincial residency associations that constitute the membership of RDoC. Please keep an eye on our social media channels and share messages broadly! We are also thrilled to offer the Ebook version of  Inside the Lives of Canada’s Resident Doctors free of charge from February 5-9th. These by-resident-for-resident stories aim to provide inspiration, comfort and reassurance as you journey through residency. 

I hope your week is filled with the appreciation, admiration and joy that all resident doctors so deserve  to receive. Everyone at RDoC is grateful for you and will continue to work on your behalf to champion the healthiest ways to learn and work so that we can one day create the medical culture we want and deserve.  

Best regards,

Dr. Devon Mitchell
RDoC President 2023-2024