Psychiatry in Canada

Informative Guide on Training, Practice Settings, and Salary Expectations

What is a Psychiatrist?

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine that deals with the diseases of the mind. This area of medicine is focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. 

The role requires the physician to administer a comprehensive patient assessment, leading to a diagnosis and a treatment plan that can include therapy, other medical treatments, and the administration of medication.

Psychiatrists must be comfortable in working with the patient, as opposed to working on the patient. Often this requires working with a team that includes the patient, their family and other mental health professionals and treatment providers.

Delivery of Care Settings

Psychiatrists can deliver care in many settings. University hospitals, community hospitals, specialized psychiatric hospitals, private practice clinics, community outpatient clinics as part of a multidisciplinary team, and long-term care facilities are some of the practice settings psychiatrists may work in and deliver care. Over 60% of psychiatrists in Canada provide on-call services.

Canadian Training General Requirements

Upon completion of medical school, to become certified in general psychiatry requires an additional 5 years of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) approved residency training. 

Physicians wanting to specialise in a specific area of psychiatry such as child/adolescent Psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry must first become certified in general psychiatry before applying for further sub-specialization training.

Applying to Canadian Medical Schools

Canada has 17 accredited faculties of medicine, distributed geographically across the country. Canadian medical schools are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). 

According to The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the number of places available is determined by provincial governments based on educational and financial resources, as well as Canada’s future physician workforce requirements. Medical schools have an increasing number of applicants every year, while the number of positions available for entry does not increase significantly.

Can International Students Apply to Canadian Medical Schools?

Since the universities are under provincial jurisdiction, the majority of places in a faculty of medicine are allocated to permanent residents of the province in which the university is located. So, although 14 out of the 17 medical schools accept international students, the number of actual positions is limited.

What International Medical Schools are Recognized in Canada?

Anyone with a Medical Degree (MD) from outside of the accredited Canadian and American programs who wants to undertake residency training or practice medicine in Canada is considered an International Medical Graduate (IMG). This includes Canadian citizens and permanent residents. 

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) has a helpful guide to the acceptable medical schools as defined in the Model Standards for Medical Registration in Canada.

How are Psychiatrists Paid? 

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) which provides essential information on Canada's health systems and the health of Canadians and has the following data:

  • Most physicians receive compensation through multiple models, including both fee-for-service and alternative payments. 
  • Alternative methods of paying physicians include salaries, sessional and hourly rates, capitation models and contract-based payments.
  • The largest payment program as a proportion of total gross clinical payments to physicians in Canada is fee-for-service, at about 73% of total payments in 2018–2019. 
  • Fee-for-service services provided by physicians can be split into 2 broad types: consultations/visits and procedures. 

What are Psychiatrists Paid in Canada?

The gross range of potential annual earnings can vary based on factors including hours, experience, province, rural or urban location, clinic setup, as well as incentives and bonuses offered. A range we see for psychiatrists across Canada is $200,000 - $550,000.

Demand for Psychiatrists in Canada

The field of psychiatry has shown an increase in graduate interest, more residency positions have become available, and a significant proportion of practicing specialists approaching are all factors in the demand for psychiatry, at varying levels, across the country. The field shows strong job prospects for graduates across Canada. 

According to Canadian Occupational Projection System, this occupational group is expected to face labour shortage conditions over the period of 2019-2028 at the national level. 


This page is a general guideline only and is not intended as financial or other professional advice. Remuneration ranges are from both source information and our job board. All content is subject to change.

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