Canadian Federation of
Medical Students

Position Papers

What are Position Papers and Policy Documents?

These documents are evidence-based resources that identify the Canadian medical student perspective for a variety of health systems issues. These documents guide our advocacy efforts.

  • PPPosition Papers: These are comprehensive documents that not only explore an issue of importance to the CFMS but outline an official stance of the CFMS membership and include organizational recommendations.
  • PSPolicy Statements: These are brief documents that highlight a position of CFMS membership toward an issue of importance but operate primarily through endorsement or rejection of a movement, organization or legislative material.
  • DPDiscussion Papers: These are comprehensive research documents that provide background information on a topic of interest and explore it, particularly from the medical student perspective. These papers are used primarily to serve as an education resource for said topic. They do not hold opinions and in fact, should explore all sides of a matter.

For more information, please see the Committee on Health Policy Terms of Reference.

How can I contribute?

Any CFMS member is welcome to submit a Policy Document or Position Statement for approval by the General Assembly.

First. Please review our Tools and Guidelines for Position and Policy Paper Development​.

Second. Interested in writing something? Take a look at the our existing documents in our advocacy tracker (updated April 27, 2018). Here you’ll see documents that are passed, as well as documents that are currently in-progress. Contacts are available for in-progress papers, in case you want to reach out/get involved.

Third. Have an idea? Check out what the policy paper submission process looks like with this hip infographic, and gauge if this is something that would fuel your initiative.

Fourth.Set on this path? Submit a Statement of Intent with your idea. Got a team? Collectively submit one form, and list names in the form. The Committee of Health Policy and National Officer of Health Policy will contact you in regards to your inquiry.

Fifth.Once we get back to you, feel free to refer back to this site for resources! Check our new templates for each paper here as well.

Archived Policy Documents and Position Papers

To view our archived policy documents and position papers, see Archived Policy Documents and Position Papers

Questions?

For more information please contact our National Officer of Health Policy, Shanza Hashmi, at [email protected] or our VP Government Affairs, Yipeng Ge, at [email protected]

Current Policy Documents and Position Statements


Search Form For Position Papers


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Recently Passed at AGM 2017 - Ottawa, ON

  • 2017 Personal Day Policies at Canadian Medical Schools
  • Summary

    Summary coming soon

    Status

    Status coming soon

    Contact Person(s)

    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2017 Support of Medical Student Parents in Undergraduate Medical Education
  • Summary

    Summary coming soon

    Status

    Status coming soon

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    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2017 Support for Unmatched Canadian Medical Students
  • Summary

    The ratio of available residency spots to Canadian medical students has declined steadily since 2009, and the number of unmatched medical students has increased. The CFMS endorses: 1) Unmatched graduates of Canadian medical students are an inappropriate outcome of the match process 2) For every 100 Canadian medical student applicants there should be 120 residency spots, as per the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) recommendations 3) Every Canadian medical school must develop deliberate and well-considered policies to support unmatched medical students.

    Status

    New paper, passed AGM 2017

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    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2017 Curricular Advocacy
  • Summary

    Summary coming soon

    Status

    Status coming soon

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SGM 2017 - Winnipeg, MB

AGM 2016 - Edmonton, AB

  • 2016 Medical Assistance in Dying
  • Summary

    CFMS supports the right to a dignified end of life and that medical students should be educated on end of life care, interactions with family members and associated legislation with medical assistance in dying.

    Status

    Last updated AGM September 2016

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    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2016 Human Trafficking
  • Summary

    Human trafficking is a relevant concern for Canadian HCP with severe effects on health and wellbeing of victims. Medical students and HCP are not adequately trained to recognize and assist victims. This paper advocates for curriculum incorporation of elements of raising awareness, providing validated screening tools and teaching how to identify and counsel vulnerable populations.

    Status

    New paper, September 2016

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    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2016 CFMS Professionalism
  • Summary

    This position paper endorses professionalism principles established by the RCPSC, namely affirming that medical students will adhere to the following: 1) Behave with honest, integrity and respect for diversity, 2) Demonstrate commitment to socially responsible care, 3) Adhere to professional standards and physician-led regulation, and 4) Demonstrate commitment to physician health and well-being

    Status

    This position paper is to form the basis for discussion of matters related to professionalism at internal and external meetings

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SGM 2016 - Montreal, QC

  • 2016 Supporting Clinician-Scientist Training in Canada
  • Summary

    Given the important role that clinician-scientists play in advancing evidence-based medicine, clinician-scientist training in Canada should be strengthened. Challenges currently encountered by clinician-scientist trainees include financial barriers, length of training, and lack of mentorship. In order to help address these challenges and strengthen translational research in Canada, the CFMS should: (1) Support efforts to collect data on clinician-scientist training program enrollment and outcomes, in order to be able to make evidence-based decisions and thus more effectively administer clinician-scientist training programs; (2) Support the existing call for the CIHR to re-establish funding for MD/PhD trainees and create a national oversight body for clinician-scientist training programs; and (3) Support closer integration of clinician-scientist trainees with their colleagues in medical training during research phases of their training.

    Status

    As of Spring 2016: (1) The Clinician Investigator Trainee Association of Canada (CITAC), in collaboration with UBC and the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation (CSCI), is currently in the process of collecting data that could help inform decision-making regarding the administration of clinician-scientist training programs. (2) Several organizations and programs across Canada are calling for the CIHR to either re-establish funding for the MD/PhD programs or create an alternative funding program.

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  • 2016 Rural and Remote Maternity Care
  • Summary

    Rural areas in Canada face a double burden of decreased access to maternity care and increase in need (more pregnancies and often higher risk due to social factors. Low risk delivery locally in rural settings should be an option when possible. In order to improve rural and remote maternity care CFMS recommends (1) Promoting awareness and support for rural practice (2) Organizing mentorship for students interested in obstetrics/rural medicine (3) Encourage interprofessional and community collaboration to optimize future service delivery

    Status

    N/A

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  • 2016 Position Area Summary Statement: Access to Medical Education
  • Summary

    N/A

    Status

    N/A

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  • 2016 Organ and Tissue Donation in Canadian Undergraduate Medical Education
  • Summary

    The Canadian organ and tissue donation system relies heavily on physicians, who 1) identify and refer possible donors; 2) sensitively approach the caregivers of the deceseased; and #) provide appropriate patient education about consenting to organ donation. However, meidcal students and physicians posess limited knowledge for maximixing procurement rates. Despite this, organ and tissue donation is notably absent from most Canadian medical school curricula, posing a significant risk to the safety of patients and the public. This paper recommends the integration of a standardized, evidence-based course on organ and tissue donation into undergraduate medical curricula across Canada, responding both to the relevant LMCC objectives and the need for physicians to be able to provide effective counselling of patients and families.

    Status

    "*Note that this paper is not categorized on the cfms website (it is only listed under the ""recently added"" papers). Likely a good fit for the ""Public Health"" category? The appendix of this paper includes an example of the 3 hour curriculum satisfying LMCC objectives on organ donation in Quebec, which is endorsed by a number of provincial and national organizations. This paper encouraged the implementation of a similar curriculum in medical schools across Canada. It is not known whether this has been implemented at other schools across Canada (this would be worth looking into but would require directly contacting the schools or students from each school). To the best of my knowledge there is not a similar curriculum at the University of Calgary (my medical school). "

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    NOHP(s)

  • 2016 Medical Student Performance Records in Canadian Medical Schools
  • Summary

    This position paper summarizes the results of a nationwide survey on student perceptions of the Medical Student Performance Record (MSPR) document. Results were used to inform the recommendations put forward, which include: 1) Modification of the MSPR to minimize overlap with other CaRMS application documents, 2) Making medical students aware early in their training of the existence and prupose of the MSPR, and 3) Standardization of information collected on the MSPR by all medical schools across Canada

    Status

    A 2014 study (DOI: 10.3402/meo.v19.25181) on the heterogenity of information included on MSPR concluded that the information included in MSPR varied significantly between medical schools and concluded that standardization may be necessary in order for fair comparison to be made. However, no further action has been taken on this issue.

    Contact Person(s)

    NOHP(s)

  • 2016 Less is More: Integration of Resource Stewardship in Medical Education
  • Summary

    Resource stewardship is a concept focused on improving the quality of patient care by reducing the use of unnecessary medical testing and treatment, which is associated with false positives, increased patient anxiety, and preventable patient harm. As physicians control 80% of healthcare costs, it is crucial for medical students to learn and adopt practices in alignment of resource stewardship principles. The CFMS recognizes the importance of integrating resource stewardship into medical school curricula, and has created a list of behavioral recommendations for trainees aimed at creating a medical culture that celebrates the attitude of “less is more.” Going forward, there exists many opportunities to promote and support student-led initiatives focused on resource stewardship.

    Status

    The University of Toronto has been a pioneer in the incorporation of resource stewardship into their curriculum, working closely with Choosing Wisely Canada (CWC) to integrate it within all four years of their MD program. Other schools have also begun to do so, with many initatives being championed by students, such as the Students for Antimicrobial Stewardship Society. The CWC has also launched the STARS campaign, in which two medical students from each school are selected to champion the principles of resource stewardship at their school. In 2014, Canadian medical students and the CWC collaborated to create an online module for the Institute for Health Care Improvement titled "An Introduction to Quality, Value, and Cost in Health Care", which is the most popular non-mandatory module.

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    NOHP(s)

  • 2016 Climate change and global health: Training future physicians to act and mitigate
  • Summary

    Climate change poses several indirect hazards to human health, such as increasing incidence of vector-borne infectious diseases, cardio-respiratory related conditions and similar non-communicable diseases, as well as major disturbances to food and water systems. At particularly high risk are vulnerable populations such as the Inuit, who continue to witness firsthand current effects of climate change on their personal and ecosystem health. This is seen in greater trauma-related physical hazards due to melting ice, decreased stability of infrastructure due to melting permafrost, food insecurity, increased exposure to infectious disease through the sudden introduction of invasive species, water shortages and potential malnourishment. Meanwhile, direct impact of heat and air quality will likely be highest in Vancouver and Toronto, where annual cost of premature mortality risk attributable to climate change is expected to add up to $6.2 billion annually. Mitigation measures such as air quality control can result in health co-benefits that offset cost of carbon policies by 1050%, whereas infrastructure modifications such as public transportation and urban settlement can further decrease risks of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

    Status

    The health community, through public and private institutions, is currently focusing on four overarching adaptions: researching health effects of climate change (through Health Canada, Canadian universities, etc.), activities at the federal, regional and health institutional level that directly or indirectly protect health, assessments of current levels of health adaptions in response to climate change, and communication of climate change health risks to the public. Health professionals who have participated in climate change advocacy have made significant contributions towards mitigation measures, such as air pollution research led by the CMA resulting in the decision to the phase out of coal-fired electricity in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Furthermore, health professionals have been involved in building assessment tools for tracking levels of health adaptions in response to climate change, such as the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), heat alert response systems, and health vulnerability assessments. However, more work could be done to assess the effectiveness of such adaptions. At the undergraduate and postgraduate level in medical education, environmental health is one of the learning objects in Canadian medical education, but is not comprehensively explored. A successful example to look at when modelling climate change related medical education may include the work of the Sustainable Healthcare Education Network, which is a group of clinicians, students and academics in the UK dedicated to preparing health professionals for working in a low carbon health system.

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    NOHP(s)

  • PP 2016 Advocacy and Leadership in Canadian Medical Student Curricula
  • Summary

    In light of the need for medical students to develop their advocacy and leadership skills to be better prepared to advocate for the health needs of the patients and populations they serve, this paper calls for the creation of a mandatory Advocacy and Leadership Curriculum (ALC) in Canadian medical schools. This document is intended as a comprehensive resource for the CFMS and its members to support the integration and evaluation of ALCs in Canadian medical schools to enhance their social accountability. This paper includes proposed curriculum details such as the three spheres of health advocacy (patient level, institution level, and population level), advocacy preceptors, and health advocacy projects. Moreover, this paper includes several theoretical, skill-based, and application-based Learning Objectives that ALCs should address; a sample curriculum; sample competencies; and proposed implementation and evaluation guidelines.

    Status

    As of March 2016: While many medical students learn about the social determinants of health, little is taught in medical schools about the advocacy and leadership skills needed to act on this understanding of social issues in medicine. Some medical schools have faculty-supported advocacy curricula (e.g., the LEAD program at the University of Toronto) and some student-led health advocacy activities currently exist (e.g., lobby days). However, there is still a pressing need for increased social accountability in medical schools.

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Medical Student Affairs

  • PP 2014 Mental Health for Medical Students
  • Summary

    N/A

    Status

    N/A

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  • PP 2014 Resources to Support the Learning Environment for Clinical Clerks
  • Summary

    This paper puts forward a number of policies on creating a safe and supportive learning environment for clinical clerks at Canadian medical schools. The three key recommendations advanced are: 1) Medical schools and hospitals should provide adequate resources to clerks to support learning, 2) Medical schools should support clerks in their personal and professional development, and 3) Medical schools and hospitals should update their policies concerning the safety and security of clerks

    Status

    The policies surrounding clerkship in Canada are medical school-specific, and there currently exists no national guidelines on the learning environment of clinical clerks in Canada

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  • PP 2014 Medical Student Health and Wellbeing
  • Summary

    Paper is well written has the following recommendations pertaining to mental health and career development: 1) Canadian medical schools (and student-led organizations) should develop formal and informal wellness support initiatives. 2) Canadian medical faculties should promote safe learning environment for all medical students. 3) Medical schools should develop and promote accessible, realizable and standardized accomodation policies for medical students in each phase of UM training 4) Support research exploring wellness in learning and evaluation of mental health and wellness

    Status

    The paper addresses a very current wide-spread concern at medical schools. There have been various school specific initiatives, but also province wide initiatives such as the Ontario medical students association's wellness retreat. There is a mental health communique at UofT, Faculty Wellness Program at UOttawa. I believe the next steps can be for the CFMS to endorse school specific mental health programs and by bringing light to them, encourage other schools/organizations to take part.

    Contact Person(s)

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Accessibility to Healthcare

Access to Medical Education

Medical Education

Public Health

Professional Ethics

Health Equity

Competencies for UGME

Health & Human Resources