Medical Officers provide primary health care services for Canadian Forces members, whether at a Canadian Forces Medical Service in Canada or overseas in support of peacekeeping or humanitarian missions.
The primary responsibilities of a Medical Officer are to:
- Lead a clinical team of highly-trained professionals
- Promote health protection and education
- Provide primary health care
- Practice environmental medicine, including high-altitude and hyperbaric medicine
- Promote occupational health and safety
Medical Officers may serve anywhere that Canadian Forces' members are based. They work in fully-equipped medical clinics, whether at a base or garrison, or in a temporary clinic while supporting operations. Their first four years following training is usually spent working in one location, within Canada. Office space and support services are provided by the Canadian Forces.
The starting salary for a fully-trained Medical Officer is approximately $148,700 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Regular promotions through the junior officer ranks take place based on the completion of required training and the length of service as an officer.
Medical Officers also enjoy no overhead costs for office space and support services. All licensing fees are paid by the Canadian Forces. Medical Officers who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion, specialization, and sub-specialization.
After enrolment, you start basic officer training at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, for 14 weeks. Topics covered include general military knowledge, the principles of leadership, regulations and customs of the Canadian Forces, basic weapons handling, and first aid. Opportunities will also be provided to apply such newly acquired military skills in training exercises involving force protection, field training, navigation and leadership. A rigorous physical fitness program is also a vital part of basic training. Basic officer training is provided in English or French and successful completion is a prerequisite for further training.
Second language training is available following basic officer training; depending on your ability in your second language, it may take from two to nine months.
Medical Officers attend the Canadian Forces Medical Services School in Borden, Ontario, where they are introduced to the organizational structure and history of the Canadian Forces Medical Service and the unique circumstances of practicing military medicine. Environmental training, an operational requirement, includes field exercises that may take place anywhere in the world.
Medical Officers may apply for the opportunity to specialize their medical practice in exchange for additional years of service. The Canadian Forces will subsidize the following medical specializations:
- Acute Care
- Emergency medicine
- Orthopaedic surgery
- Internal medicine
As they progress in their career, Medical Officers who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available training includes:
- Public Health medicine
- Occupational medicine
- Aerospace medicine
- Tropical medicine
- Health care administration
If you already have a medical degree and an unrestricted license to practice family medicine in a Canadian province or territory, the Canadian Forces may place you directly into the required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military officer qualification training are required before being assigned.
Medical Officer Training Plan
Because this position requires a medical degree, the Canadian Forces will pay successful recruits to complete an Undergraduate Medical Education Program at a Canadian university. This program covers tuition fees and educational expenses, including books, instruments, supplies, student fees, and registration costs. Family medicine residents and students already enrolled in an Undergraduate Medical Education Program may also be eligible for this training plan.
For the duration of your studies and residency, you receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Canadian Forces for a period of time. Typically, candidates selected for this program attend university during the regular academic year and participate in additional military training during the summer months. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Canadian Forces and the Canadian university of your choice that offers a Bachelor of Medicine degree program.
This position is available for part-time employment through the Reserves. Reservists generally work part-time for a Reserve unit in their community. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.
Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required in order to specialize skills, arrangements will be made by the home unit.
Typically, Reservists work or train with their home unit for at least four evenings and one weekend per month, from September to May of each year. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay and receive a reasonable benefits package.