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BEYOND LOCAL: Ford wants med schools to favour Ontarians, NOSM U already does

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said this week he wants Ontario medical school spaces dedicated to Ontario medical students only, but by virtue of its design, Northern Ontario’s med school is already doing that
Sudbury’s NOSM University campus.

The fact Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants learner spaces at Ontario medical schools to be reserved for Ontario students only will have little or no impact on NOSM University, Northern Ontario’s med school.

That's because the majority of students at NOSM U, formerly the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, are already from Northern Ontario (90 per cent in 2023).

Ford made his comments earlier this week as he took part in the announcement of a new medical school to be run by York University.

“I want 100-per-cent Ontario students going to these universities," Ford told the gathering. 

He was lamenting the idea that many Ontario med students opt to get their medical education in other countries with the result that some of those students choose to stay and live in those countries. He mentioned Ireland, Australia and the Caribbean as examples.

Ford also made reference that roughly 18 per cent of medical school spaces in Ontario are used by international students. Ford said his intent is to give every advantage to Ontario students first. 

Ford also spoke of his government’s efforts to provide more education spaces to help resolve the shortage of physicians in Ontario. 

If Ford’s wishes became official government policy, it would likely have little effect on NOSM.

As per NOSM University's Selection Process & Offers of Admission for the MD Program, an applicant must be either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada by the application deadline for the year in which they apply. 

Since 2005, an average of 90 per cent of our incoming MD students are from Northern Ontario with the remaining being from other areas in Canada, said an email from the NOSM communications office. 

Further to that, NOSM said selection for the University’s Undergraduate Medical Education Program will favour those who are likely to thrive in the challenging northern and rural learning environments, including applicants from within Northern Ontario, rural and remote areas in the rest of Canada, and Indigenous and Francophone applicants.

Students who identify as Indigenous or Francophone persons and "may receive a slightly higher context score" in the admissions process, said the NOSM website.

NOSM also provided recent statistics for class admissions. In 2023, there were 79 admissions, which included 70 students (90 per cent) from Northern Ontario. The remaining 10 per cent were from Southern Ontario and other parts of Canada. Altogether there were 1,692 students who applied to NOSM last year.

Further statistics going back to the previous five years were provided on the NOSM website.

Historically, said the NOSM communications office, since 2005, an average of 90 per cent of the incoming MD students are from Northern Ontario with the remaining 10 per cent being from other areas in Canada.

Len Gillis covers healthcare along with mining news for

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Len Gillis

About the Author: Len Gillis

Graduating from the Journalism program at Canadore College in the 1970s, Gillis has spent most of his career reporting on news events across Northern Ontario with several radio, television and newspaper companies. He also spent time as a hardrock miner.
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