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What is the National Advanced Skills Training Program for Rural Practice?

This program will fund the delivery of training opportunities to upskill practicing rural physicians, including specialists, enabling them to meet specific community needs and help reduce the need for patient transport out of communities to receive these services. Examples of training to improve skills could include addiction, diagnostic procedures, emergency medicine, general surgery, obstetrical care, and anesthesia.

Why was the National Advanced Skills Training Program created?

Equitable access to health care is a growing concern for rural, remote and Indigenous communities, so SRPC is addressing the issue with the launch of the National Advanced Skills and Training Program for Rural Practice. The goal of the program is to support recruitment and retention and reduce physician shortages in the most underserved communities in Canada.

Where does the funding come from?

The SRPC, the national voice of Canadian rural physicians, has received funding from Team Primary Care for this project. Team Primary Care, co-led by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Health Workforce Network in partnership with over 65 health professional and educational organizations across Canada, is an interprofessional project of the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.

How do physicians apply?

Rural physicians apply online on the SRPC website. They will identify their own training needs and select or develop learning opportunities to meet their needs. More information and the application can be found here.

How does the program work?

Physicians identify their training needs and identify or develop learning opportunities to meet their needs. They will then fill out the application, providing this and other information. (See hyperlink here)

Once physicians are accepted into the program, the program will:

  • provide funding for rural physicians and preceptors for advanced training and skill enhancement in order to meet the medical needs of their community
  • reimburse short-term locum service so that physicians in rural areas can receive advanced training
  • foster a network of opportunities and/or collaborations to mentor rural physicians
  • collaborate with universities through their rural training programs to identify available programs for enhanced skills

How many physicians will receive funding for training?

The goal is to provide funding for 166 practicing rural physicians in 13 provincial/territorial jurisdictions.

How soon after applying will physicians find out if they will receive funding?

Additional staff has been hired to work on the grant project to expedite the implementation of the of National Training Program funding. SRPC cannot anticipate how many physicians will apply but the applications will be reviewed and physicians will be notified as quickly as possible.

When does the program start and end?

Physicians may submit an online application now. The project ends March 31, 2024, but the funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis so it is advisable for physicians to submit their application as soon as possible.

What does the funding include?

  • Rural physicians will receive a daily stipend of $1,000 per day to cover income loss, plus locum coverage ($1,000 per day) and preceptor costs ($250 per day) in addition to reimbursement for travel and accommodation.

What kind of training does the project support?

Practicing rural physician training:

  • can be from one to 30 days in length
  • must be relevant to the approved training plan
  • will typically be based on small-group or one-on-one training with a preceptor(s) but may include courses that directly relate to this plan
  • must occur in Canada
  • must not be funded by another source
  • may be virtual or hybrid given it is difficult for many physicians to leave their rural communities

What are the eligibility criteria?

  • Physicians must be a current SRPC member.
  • Physicians must have practiced in a rural community for a minimum of six months in the past year.
  • Physicians may be practicing in more than one rural community.
  • Physicians will have a demonstrated commitment to rural practice and will be expected to provide services in a rural area after training for at least six months.
  • The application must be accompanied by a letter of support from the hospital chief of staff or regional medical director confirming the skill is needed in the community.

Where can I find the application?

The application can be found here at

Will the program be available in French?

Yes. As this program will be offered nationally, opportunities will be available to physicians practicing in English or French communities, and partnerships with academic institutions will be developed to enhance training in the language and context of the physician’s preference, so they are best equipped to serve their community.

How does the program address equity, diversity and inclusion?

The SRPC strongly believes in social accountability, and core to our mandate is to assist our members in providing access to care for all populations, regardless of where they live.

What is Team Primary Care?

Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada, Team Primary Care is an interprofessional project co-led by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Health Workforce Network, administered through the Foundation for Advancing Family Medicine in partnership with health professional and educational organizations across Canada.