COVID-19 Updates

August 13, 2020 - Applications for Home Electives

The AFMC Student Portal is a centralized application service for visiting electives at the Canadian medical schools. Given the current environment, and in support of our medical schools and learners, the AFMC has decided to reopen the Portal for home elective applications. 

Medical students at these four pilot schools, University of OttawaDalhousie UniversityMemorial University and the University of Saskatchewan will be able to submit applications for electives at their home school through the AFMC Student Portal. For any enquiries, students should contact their home school.


July 15, 2020 - Clarification on AFMC Student Portal Registration Fee Refund Policy

The AFMC Student Portal was created at the request of Canadian medical students, to reduce the administrative burden on students in the application to multiple visiting electives.  Prior to its existence, students were required to apply separately to visiting electives at each faculty.

AFMC charges a one-time, lifetime Registration fee to enroll in the service.  These fees are used to maintain and improve the Portal.  On behalf of each Faculty of Medicine, AFMC collects Application Fees set and passed on to the faculties. These Application Fees have already been refunded to each student. 

AFMC provides students with the capacity to build a single online profile and apply to opportunities offered by medical schools.  There is no guarantee that applicants will be successful in securing an elective as this is dependent on school capacity, elective choice and dates requested.  As such, learners consent to our service’s terms pursuant to the Registrant’s Declaration, including the following stating that the portal registration fee remains non-refundable:

  • 3. Portal Registration Fee. AFMC may also charge a one-time non-refundable Portal registration fee. Should such amount be made payable, then you will receive a notice to that effect in a timely manner. AFMC reserves the right to change registration fees from time to time. ((https://www.afmcstudentportal.ca/Terms )

Due to these exceptional and difficult times, the AFMC Board of Directors has approved a partial refund of $175 CAD to both Canadian and international students who were unable to complete any of their scheduled (i.e. confirmed) visiting electives due to COVID-19.

We regret that we are unable to provide a partial refund to students who paid the Portal registration fee and created a profile but did not receive a scheduled (i.e confirmed) visiting elective.

Students may wish to wait until after the 2021 R1 match to request a refund. Request for refunds will be accepted until June 30, 2021. Due to technical constraints in the system, student accounts are permanently closed when a refund is issued. Students who receive a refund will be unable to apply for visiting electives in the future.


July 7, 2020 - Eligibility criteria for the partial refund

As determined by the AFMC Board of Directors, comprised of the Deans of the 17 Canadian medical schools, please note only students who were unable to complete any of their scheduled visiting electives in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the AFMC Student Portal registration Fee Partial refund. Students who meets any of these criteria aren’t eligible for the partial refund:

  1. You have a past confirmed elective on the portal.
  2. You have an application cancelled due to reasons other than Covid-19.
  3. You had no scheduled (confirmed) elective cancelled due to Covid-19.

July 3, 2020 - Portal Fee Refund Statement

At the meeting on June 16, 2020, the AFMC Board of Directors, comprised of the Deans of the 17 Canadian medical schools, determined that visiting electives will no longer be available for the Class of 2021 for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year.

The AFMC Student Portal registration fee is a one-time non-refundable fee to students who create an account in the Portal. Due to these exceptional and difficult times, the AFMC Board of Directors has approved a partial refund of $175 CAD to both Canadian and international students who were unable to complete any of their scheduled visiting electives due to COVID-19 and have no future opportunity to apply. Refund requests should be submitted to the Portal Help Desk at service@afmcstudentportal.ca.


June 26, 2020 - Update on Visiting Electives Exemptions

We will be posting an update from the Undergraduate Deans on the Visiting elective exemptions process shortly. Please do not contact the host schools at this time.


June 18, 2020 - Visiting Electives for Class of 2021

At the AFMC Board meeting June 16, 2020, the Board approved that that there will be no visiting electives for the Class of 2021 for the duration of the 20-21 academic year.

a) Any exceptions (where there is no ability to provide a particular clinical experience in the home school) will be considered by the AFMC Committee on Undergraduate Education on a case by case basis.

b) This policy does not apply to core rotations which are completed outside of the home schools.

Extensive discussions and consultations were held and multiple factors were considered in the process of making the decision to stop visiting electives for the Class of 2021. Factors that were considered include the ongoing uncertainty as to the evolution of the pandemic; public health measures that vary greatly by province, region and hospital; and the limited (or non-existent) capacity of schools to welcome visiting students. This decision was not taken lightly and the education leadership is aware and acknowledges the impact it may have on some students. Some further points:

  1. There will be no change to the electives diversification policy which states that a student may do a maximum of 8 weeks of electives in any one PGY 1 entry discipline.
  2. Exceptions will be considered for visiting electives when a home school cannot provide any clinical experience in a specific discipline. For example, school X is in a region that does not have any plastic surgeons. All patients with plastic surgery issues have to be transferred to a different region for management. Student A is interested in plastic surgery as a career. Consideration would be given for student A to do a visiting elective in plastic surgery at a different centre.
  3. There are students in the class of 2021 who have already completed either one or more visiting electives due to the structure of the curriculum at their school. The AFMC resident Match Committee Subcommittee on Applications and File Review is considering that reference letters from visiting electives cannot be a requirement for residency application.
  4. Unsanctioned electives (weekend site visits, observer-ships, virtual electives) will not be allowed.
  5. The Virtual Interview and Program Recruitment Subcommittee will make recommendations how programs can showcase themselves to students. All programs are being encouraged to find innovative ways to meet applicants virtually and showcase themselves.

Student Affairs office at each university will support students in their career planning process.


April 21, 2020 - Partial registration refund for international students

The AFMC Student Portal registration fee is a one-time non-refundable fee to students who create an account in the Portal. Due to the exceptional and difficult times we are facing, the AFMC Board of Directors, comprised of the Deans of the 17 Canadian medical schools, has approved a partial refund of $175 CAD to international students who were unable to complete all of their visiting electives in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The remaining fee is retained to cover costs associated with software maintenance and administrative charges. Any questions or refund requests should be submitted to the Portal Help Desk at service@afmcstudentportal.ca.


April 15, 2020 - Visiting electives suspended until September 26, 2020

Visiting electives are suspended until September 26,2020. Currently, students are unable to submit applications on the AFMC Student Portal. No decision has been made on when the portal will re-open. It will reopen 16 weeks before visiting electives are offered by the faculties. We understand the concern these disruptions may cause, and we ask that students regularly check the AFMC Student Portal for updates as they become available.

FAQs

1. Can I apply for a visiting elective?

The undergraduate medical education deans decided to suspend visiting elective applications until September 26, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Are medical schools cancelling all visiting electives?

Medical schools are cancelling visiting electives until September 26, 2020. Any outstanding application in the AFMC Student Portal has been canceled, including all confirmed, offered, and pending electives. Elective coordinators will contact all students impacted by the cancellations. If you are uncertain about your situation, please review your host school's information available on their Portal institution profile.

3. When the Portal re-opens, will I be guaranteed my original, confirmed elective and/or my “place in line” if my elective was still pending?

As it is not possible to know what each school’s – home school or host school – electives scheduling or capacity will look like in the Fall, all elective bookings will be cancelled. Host schools can not guarantee that a confirmed elective can be rebooked. Once the Portal re-opens, students will need to resubmit their applications for any elective between now and September 26, 2020.

4. Is the AFMC refunding Portal registration fees for cancelled electives?

AFMC may provide refunds to international students who were unable to complete all of their visiting electives in Canada due to COVID-19. International students should contact service@afmcstudentportal.ca. Canadian students will not receive a refund for their Portal registration fee as they have used the Portal for a visiting elective in the past or will use the Portal for future visiting electives.

5. Are medical schools refunding all school application fees for cancelled electives?

Schools will communicate their refund policy to all students whose electives were cancelled due to COVID-19. If you have any questions, please review your host school's information available on their Portal institution profile.

6. Who should I contact if I have any questions or concerns about my visiting electives?

You should check the portal News section first. For any additional questions or concerns regarding visiting electives and COVID-19, please contact the Portal Help Desk at service@afmcstudentportal.ca. No reply will be provided to queries requesting information that is already available on the Portal COVID-19 page at https://www.afmcstudentportal.ca/covid-19 If you receive a notification that your ticket was closed with no response, please review the Portal COVID-19 page. Please ensure you review the information regularly. Your elective status can be monitored on the Portal. Please allow time for schools and AFMC to work through this unprecedented cancellation process.

7. When will electives and the Portal re-open again?

No decision has been made on when the portal will re-open. It will reopen 16 weeks before visiting electives are offered by the faculties.


April 9, 2020 - Delay your registration to the Portal

As visiting elective applications to the 17 Canadian medical schools are suspended until further notice, AFMC recommends that students do not register on the Portal until the application service reopens.


March 20, 2020 - Visiting elective applications suspended until further notice

On March 20, the undergraduate medical education deans across Canada decided to suspend new visiting elective applications until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Students will not be able to submit applications on the AFMC Student Portal.

We understand the concern these disruptions may cause, and we ask that students regularly check the AFMC Student Portal for updates as they become available. The decision to reopen the Portal will also be made collaboratively, nationally and students will receive communication through the Portal and from their home school regarding the plans and timelines for reopening.

  1. Can I apply for a visiting elective?

On March 20, the undergraduate medical education deans decided to suspend visiting elective applications until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will not be able to submit applications on the AFMC student Portal.

  1. Are medical schools cancelling all visiting electives?

Medical schools are cancelling visiting electives at this time. Elective coordinators will contact all students impacted by the cancellations. If you are uncertain about your situation, please review your host school's information available on their Portal institution profile.

  1. Is the AFMC refunding Portal registration fees for cancelled electives?

AFMC will refund international students who were unable to complete all of their visiting electives in Canada due to COVID-19. International students should contact service@afmcstudentportal.ca.

Canadian students will not receive a refund for their Portal registration fee as they have used the Portal for a visiting elective in the past or will use the Portal for future visiting electives.

  1. Are medical schools refunding all school application fees for cancelled electives?

Schools will communicate their refund policy to all students whose electives were cancelled due to COVID-19. If you have any questions, please review your host school's information available on their Portal institution profile.

  1. Who should I contact if I have any questions or concerns about my visiting electives?

For any questions or concerns regarding visiting electives and COVID-19, please contact the Portal Help Desk at service@afmcstudentportal.ca.

  1. When will electives and the Portal re-open again?

Given the level of uncertainty about how the pandemic response will unfold, we can not give a certain answer at this time. The Undergraduate Deans of Canada’s medical schools are meeting on a regular basis and the decision to re-open the Portal will be made collaboratively and consistently across the country. Students will receive communications from their home school and on the Portal home page regarding the reopening of the Portal. We will attempt to provide students with adequate lead time prior to the re-opening of the first window for applications. We understand that there will be less time for electives offices to organize electives for visiting students and we are committing to doing our best to best support students in finding electives once the Portal re-opens.

  1. Where can I find general information regarding COVID-19?

For general information about COVID-19 in Canada, you can consult the Canadian Public Health Agency’s website. To enquire about COVID-19 in other countries, we would advise you to contact your local public health officials.


March 18, 2020 - Portal COVID-19 Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Canadian faculties of medicine are not offering visiting electives at this time. AFMC will be refunding the Portal registration fee for international students unable to complete all of their visiting electives in Canada as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are an international student that has been affected, please contact service@afmcstudentportal.ca.

Canadian students will not receive a refund for their Portal registration fee as they have used the Portal for a visiting elective in the past or will use the Portal for future visiting electives.

 

Help Desk Support

The AFMC Student Portal Help Desk provides bilingual assistance to students and site administrators with technical issues related to the Portal.

Note: All questions regarding elective offerings will be handled by the elective teams at each faculty of medicine; please consult the Institution for their contact information.

The Help Desk is available Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Eastern Time). Click here to visit the Help Desk website. 

July 7, 2020 - Eligibility criteria for the partial refund 

As determined by the AFMC Board of Directors, comprised of the Deans of the 17 Canadian medical schools, please note only students who were unable to complete any of their scheduled visiting electives in Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the AFMC Student Portal registration Fee Partial refund. Students who meets any of these criteria aren’t eligible for the partial refund: 

  1. You have a past confirmed elective on the portal.
  2. You have an application cancelled due to reasons other than Covid-19. 
  3. You had no scheduled (confirmed) elective cancelled due to Covid-19.

July 3, 2020 - Portal Fee Refund Statement