Frequently Asked Questions

Since the Ontario government announced the deregulation of tuition fees in 1997 for specific undergraduate professional programs, medical school costs have continued to climb at an alarming rate. In fact, tuition has risen over 350% since deregulation.The way that medical students are trained has also changed. Since the elimination of the rotating internship and the establishment of family medicine as a specialty, all graduates now go directly into a residency program, and can no longer moonlight with their general licenses during their residency.
It is in the best interest of the profession and the public that the most qualified students reflect our demographic reality. One day, these medical students will join you as your colleagues. As one recipient put it: “As my debt continued to rise, I felt my anxiety regarding how I was going to pay it back rise along with it. It often felt like I was in this journey alone. When I found out I had been selected as the recipient of a bursary, it not only relieved some of my financial burden, but also gave me a sense of connection with my future colleagues.”

Self Selection:

Our worry is that many qualified students will self-select out of medicine to avoid the significant debt that would be incurred over years of training. Qualified students who must travel to medical school from rural and northern areas, or those who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds, may not even apply due to “sticker shock.”

Choice of Practice

High debt loads may dictate to students where and what type of medicine they will practice. Longer training programs, often in disciplines that are already underserviced (such as obstetrics, neurology, anesthesia, and general surgery), may be passed over in favour of specialties that facilitate quicker entry to practice, and hence quicker loan repayment.

Rural Areas

Physician supply is already severely constrained in rural and northern practice. High debt loads may discourage graduating students from seeking the additional training needed for rural practice. Some students may choose to move to the United States, perceiving a greater opportunity for higher remuneration, lower income tax, and the ability to be debt-free in a shorter period of time.

There are two programs currently offered by the Ontario Government to assist Medical students.

Final Year Medical Student Bursary Program

Provides a bursary of $750 per month to undergraduate medical students in Ontario medical school for the 12 months of their final year of medical school.

Resident Loan Interest Relief Program

Provides eligible Ontario medical residents with repayment assistance on government student loans.

During their Ontario medical residency, the participant is exempt from making payments of principal. In exchange – the applicant must first sign an agreement for 5 years of Return of Service to Ontario after residency and a Medical Resident Loan Agreement. The loan enters full repayment after residency.

The OMSBF provides financial support, through non-repayable bursaries, to students in need, regardless of their year in school.

OMSBF Bursaries are awarded on the basis of economic need only, taking into consideration overall debt load and government student loan status.The universities assess financial need using the same formula employed by the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to determine who is eligible for student loans.
Yes, fundraising efforts have also been directed toward soliciting private sector funds, including corporate donations and sponsorship of the annual golf tournament. However, it is critical that we continue to raise funds from within the profession. Our success in attracting corporate donors is related to the number of physicians who donate to the OMSBF. The private sector has told us that they would be more willing to contribute toward the Fund if they see the same commitment from physicians.

Donors and Sponsors

Thank you to our lead donors and sponsors for their support:

Principal sponsors ($500,000+)

President ($250,000-$499,999)

Ambassador ($100,000-$249,000)

  • Academy of Medicine Ottawa
  • AstraZeneca Canada Inc.
  • The Late Doris C. Boes
  • The Family of the Late Arnold A. Boes
  • Essex County Medical Society
  • Sun Life Financial