If you are considering immigrating to Canada, you probably know that you will require an Immigration Medical Exam—also known as an IME—provided by a specially certified doctor (called a Panel Physician). But how do you find and select the doctor that will provide you with this key exam for the immigration process? Here, our Ottawa and Orleans doctors explain some resources and considerations to keep in mind when choosing a Panel Physician.
As part of the immigration process in Canada, you will be instructed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to have an Immigration Medical Exam performed on you by a certified Panel Physician. This medical exam is required of all immigration applications for permanent residency and for some applications for temporary residency.
When visiting a Panel Physician for an Immigration Medical Exam, you will need to bring in different documentation depending on your status. When you book an appointment, make sure to check the specific documents you need so you have time to gather them and have them on hand for when you actually visit the Panel Physician. But how do you find a Panel Physician to provide you with the IME?
All Panel Physicians are registered and certified with the IRCC and are kept in a registry on their website. You can search this registry by country and then find a list of Panel Physicians in that country.
Some countries don't have any available Panel Physicians, so it's a good idea to start your search here if you are in one of these countries so that you can begin to make plans about how to get access to one. This tool is especially helpful if you are interested in having an IME conducted before you arrive in Canada as part of the Express Entry Program.
Since you can search by country, you will be able to have a list of all the Panel Physicians that are readily available to you before arriving and, from there, you can select the one that is most convenient for you.
If you are searching for a Panel Physician after being instructed by a Border Services Officer to have an IME conducted within 30 days of entering Canada, you can also use this resource to find a shortened list of Panel Physicians in your province.
While it may seem somewhat obvious, after you have identified a few of the most conveniently accessible Panel Physicians to you, you should look them up on Google. This will allow you to figure out how easy it actually is to get to each of them and will also give you a chance to find out more information about their practices. You will also be able to find their opening hours. If a Panel Physician's clinic isn't open at the times you are able to get to them, then they aren't the right option for you.
A Google search will also give you a chance to read some reviews of the Panel Physicians you are considering. While negative reviews on their own shouldn't influence your decision, if a Panel Physician's practice doesn't have many good reviews at all after many years of operation that may be a sign to look into your other options.
Call Your Prospective Physician
Finally, after narrowing down you choices, call a Panel Physician you are strongly considering and ask any specific questions about their process of administering an IME that you might have. This can include office policies, timelines and more.
This call can also serve as your chance to book you appointment once you are sure that they are a good fit.