Last Updated on May 30, 2024

Our core Pre-Residency Program (PRP) is mandatory for candidates who have been accepted into a specialty residency training program in Ontario.

Completed at Touchstone Institute, PRP takes approximately two to three weeks and consists of the following:

  • Interactive Classroom sessions –Monday to Friday during business hours
  • Online modules

Lectures cover key competency areas as well as topics in communication, law and ethics, privacy, confidentiality, and challenging situations.

Enrolling in PRP

Candidates who match through the CaRMS process will be contacted by Touchstone Institute within two weeks of the CaRMS match date and will be asked to indicate their preferred choice of dates.

Please note: While we strive to ensure your transition to residency training is smooth at meets your needs, we are not able to accommodate every date request.  It is important that before undergoing the Canadian Residency Matching Service, you are aware and prepare to be available for all potential program dates as you could be assigned to any of the four iterations.  Touchstone Institute is committed to ensuring you have as much notice as possible to arrange pertinent life matters accordingly.

ACLS certification

PRP includes ACLS certification training, held over one weekend at the Michener Institute in Toronto. Candidates will receive a registration form from Touchstone Institute on confirmation of their attendance in PRP. It is the responsibility of each participant to complete the registration form and send it directly to the Michener Institute before the deadline of their preferred session. If a participant’s ACLS certification is up to date, they do not need to complete the training. ACLS materials will also be available for learners and can be picked up from Touchstone Institute during business hours. Please ensure to bring your proof of enrollment when picking up materials.

2018 Program Dates

  • April 9 – April 20
  • May 28 – June 8
  • June 11 – June 22
  • July 16 – July 27


Core Curriculum

In-class sessions are led by physician facilitators and include simulated patient scenarios where appropriate. Candidates can tailor their learning to their own schedule by accessing content through our online learning system.

Physician-Led Sessions

  • Tips for IMGs and CEAs
  • Prescribing in Ontario
  • Ethics
  • Clinical Encounters
  • Resident as Teacher
  • Navigating Boundaries
  • Sexual History Taking
  • LGBTQ Health
  • Patient-Centred Clinical Method & Experiential Learning
  • Indigenous Health
  • Breaking Bad News & Medical Error Disclosure
  • Rural Health
  • Challenging Situations, Counselling & Management
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Consult Note & Intro to EBM
  • Interprofessional Teams
  • On Call & Emergency Skills
  • Pediatrics (elective)
  • Communication (elective)
  • Psychiatry (elective)
  • Internal Medicine (elective)

Online Modules

  • Physicians Role in Death
  • Medical Competency
  • WSIB

When Will I Find Out Which Session I Am Expected to Attend?

Candidates who match through the CaRMS process will be contacted by Touchstone Institute within two weeks of the CaRMS residency program match date.

Family Medicine Matches:

If you are matched to a Family Medicine residency program in Ontario, your dates will determined in discussion between you and your program. Upon confirmation from your program, we will connect with you with further detail about the Pre-Residency Program.

All other specialties:

If you are successful in matching, your postgraduate office will forward us your information and we will subsequently contact you with pertinent program information. Your programming dates will be assigned to you by Touchstone Institute.

Please note: While we strive to ensure your transition to residency training is smooth at meets your needs, we are not able to accommodate every date request. It is important that before matching, you are aware and prepare to be available for all potential program dates as you could be assigned to any combination of the four iterations.  Touchstone Institute is committed to ensuring you have as much notice as possible to arrange pertinent life matters accordingly.

What Will Happen if I Fail the PRP?

PRP is designed as an orientation program which provides international medical graduates with an unparalleled opportunity to ensure they have access to and can practice foundational skills and knowledge that will be required for a successful medical residency in Canada and Ontario. As PRP is and orientation program, it is not evaluative in nature; however, a report of each participant’s attendance records, simulated patient encounter scores, MCQ scores, participation rate and completion of online modules will be passed on to your post graduate and program offices.

If I Am a Canadian citizen, Do I Have to Participate in the PRP?

Welcome back home! Although you are a Canadian citizen, you have successfully completed your training in a healthcare system which invariably has its own nuances, guidelines, legal considerations, etc.  Accordingly, every internationally trained physicians accepted to a specialty residency training program in Ontario is required to complete the PRP.

Can I Apply for Exemption from the PRP?

In certain specialized circumstances, candidates may contact their program director and apply to be exempt from the program before beginning residency should they meet specific criteria of training experience in a Canadian healthcare system. Touchstone Institute does not grant exemptions directly to candidates.

Will I Be Able to Access the Interactive Online Modules Before I Arrive in Canada? Are there any Other Learning Materials that I Can Review Online Before My Arrival?

We will be contacting you via email to provide you with the necessary details to access our online Learning Management System (LMS) at least one week before you begin the program. You can expect to retain access to the LMS well after your participation in the program.

There is no pre-studying or review required before attending the pre-residency program. Online modules are available once the program begins.

Can I Select the Elective Content That Interests Me? How Does the Elective Content Become Part of the Curriculum?

The majority of our programming is designed to be applicable for any physician entering training in Ontario.  In addition to our core curriculum, we are pleased to offer four elective in-class sessions; Pediatrics, Communications, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry during the program. These sessions are held over lunch and it is required that learners attend two of the four sessions.

We also provide you with optional sessions over lunch to meet with the CPSO, CMA, PARO and OMA during the program. If you are unable to attend the lunch session or would like to learn more about the services on your own time, you will also be able to access information through these agencies websites.

How Much Time Should I Plan to Set Aside Each Day for My Participation in the Program?

We are thrilled to have you as a part of our program! In order to attain full benefit from the program, your attendance for the full 2 weeks (or 3 weeks if you’re in Family Medicine) is mandatory. A typical day runs from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm. You will engage in one session in the morning and a different session in the afternoon, with a in each session.

We certainly understand that while you are participating in our program you may also be handling challenges related to your career and/or personal life that can take precedence;  we request that any and all absences from the program by approved in advance by your PGME office and that written approval be forwarded on to us prior to your absence.

I’m Looking Forward to Learning from Experienced Canadian Physicians. What Does “Facilitation” Mean?

The integration of physicians in our program is a key aspect of your learning in the program. Physicians are integrated in a multitude of ways, leading to a very blended model.

  • In-Class Sessions: All of our in-class sessions are developed and instructed by physicians who are subject matter experts and heavily involved in the medical community in Ontario. Many of these classes also involve various aspects of facilitation, which can include discussions with your peers, large group simulations and small group simulations.
  • Large-Group Simulations: Large-group simulations simulate patient encounters in a classroom setting. Physician instructors then debrief you on the simulated encounter to enhance your engagement with the session content.
  • Small-Group Simulations: In small-group simulations, learners engage in a one-on-one patient encounter in a clinical examination room. A physician facilitator will be present to provide specific feedback on the encounter and the strengths and challenges associated with the encounter.
  • Online Modules: Three online modules will be released once the program has begun and will need to be completed by learners by the end of the program.

For more information about program delivery, download the PRP Program Guide.

I Understand the Interactive Learning Sessions Will Include Feedback. How Will I Receive This Feedback from the Physician Leader or Facilitator?

Feedback is integral to our programming. Physicians use a form to provide you with feedback on your:

  • Patient-centered communication skills
  • Professionalism
  • Health Advocacy
  • Overall as a medical expert

If you are the learner involved in the patient encounter, you will be provided with a copy of all the feedback that is captured by a physician facilitator. Additionally, the physician facilitator will verbally debrief the encounter with you.

Will There Be a Final Evaluation Report or Exam? If So, Who Will Have Access to My Results?

The program does include various forms of evaluation; however, the evaluation is formative in nature. Our goal is to ensure we provide you with

  • Information on your strengths
  • Opportunities to improve
  • Resources in order to ensure your readiness for your residency here in Ontario

The following program evaluations are designed to enhance your understanding of your skills in relation to those that you will continue to develop in residency.

Small-Group Simulations

Throughout the program, you will also participating in our small-group simulations, which provide you with specific feedback on your skills.

Online Quizzes

Each week, you will complete online multiple choice quizzes (MCQs). Questions are based on the key concepts from in-class material. The answers will be provided to you immediately after you finish the quiz for reference.

Final Report

A report – which includes your MCQ scores, online module completion and attendance – is provided to your program director to ensure they are able to tailor your residency experience accordingly based on your strengths and opportunities to improve.

For more information about program evaluation, download the PRP Program Guide.

What Happens If I Have Difficulty with Some of the Core Curriculum or Online Modules? Will My Instructor or Facilitator Be Able to Help Me with Parts of the Curriculum That I May Find Challenging?

Our physician instructors, physician facilitators, and online facilitators are dedicated to your comfort with the content to ensure your success both in the program and as you progress onward. If you ever have challenges or questions, the instructors or facilitators will be pleased to provide you with additional support.

Additionally, you have the option to request an academic advisor. Upon request, we will provide you with confidential academic advising from a physician who is actively involved in our programming and the medical community in Ontario. Your academic advisor will be able to provide you with advice on the program, residency and any other matters you may have questions about. They are truly dedicated to ensuring your success in our program and in residency. You will be scheduled with an advisor for one meeting, and you are encouraged to continue discussions with them as the program progresses. If you wish to take advantage of academic advising, please let us know during the program,

Will the PRP Prepare Me for My Specific Specialty?

With over 80 specialties and subspecialties in Ontario, the PRP focuses on addressing core competencies and subject areas that are applicable for all specialties during your transition to residency training in Ontario.  Accordingly, the sessions are not designed to provide you with details about your specific specialty, but they will provide you with the core competencies required to successfully transition into your training.   If you match or are interested in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or Psychiatry, we welcome you to attend the associated electives that will provide you with more specialty specific information to compliment your core learning.

Will I Be Receiving Information About My Residency Position or Site-Specific Training?

Touchstone Institute maintains strong relationships with all of the medical schools in Ontario and our staff are more than pleased to assist you with any questions or help that requires the involvement of your matched school. If you approach or email any members of the team, we are happy to work with you in connecting you to the appropriate individuals to answer specific queries regarding your residency position or site.

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