What Is a Panel Physician and What Do They Do?

What is a panel physician and what do they do?

Embarking on the journey of Canadian immigration is a multifaceted process, with various entities playing pivotal roles. Among these essential players are government-approved panel physicians, integral in conducting medical examinations for prospective immigrants.

We delve into the qualifications, responsibilities, and the complex medical examination process conducted by panel physicians.

Who are Panel Physicians?

A panel physician is a medical professional approved by the Government of Canada to perform medical examinations, known as Immigration Medical Exams (IMEs). IMEs are mandatory for individuals applying for immigration to Canada, including permanent residents, students, temporary workers, and certain visitors.

By undergoing these assessments, applicants contribute to the Canadian government’s efforts to maintain a healthy and secure population.

Qualifications of Panel Physicians

To ensure the precision and reliability of their assessments, panel physicians must meet specific qualifications mandated by the Canadian government. These qualifications serve as a guarantee for the reliability of health assessments conducted on immigration applicants.

Here, we outline the essential qualifications:

  • Medical Degree: Panel physicians are required to hold a valid medical degree from a recognized institution. This foundational qualification establishes their core understanding of medical principles and practices.
  • Licensing: Panel physicians must hold licenses to practice medicine in the province or territory of operation, aligning with Canada’s decentralized healthcare structure. Compliance with local regulations and standards is imperative.
  • IRCC Approval: Panel physicians require approval from IRCC to conduct immigration medical exams. This endorsement indicates their adherence to the standards and requirements established by immigration authorities.

Responsibilities of Panel Physicians

The role of panel physicians in the Canadian immigration system is essential, encompassing various duties to evaluate and ensure the health of immigration applicants. Here, we explore the significant contributions of these healthcare professionals:

Conducting Medical Examinations

One of the primary responsibilities of panel physicians is to conduct thorough medical examinations for individuals applying for immigration status in Canada. These assessments evaluate applicants’ health status, offering essential insights into their well-being.

Medical tests and exams conducted by panel physicians include:

  • A Non-Invasive Physical Examination: This process entails gathering important information about the applicant’s weight, height, hearing, eyesight, heart and lung sounds, blood pressure, abdomen, limb movement, and skin condition. The exam excludes the genital and rectal regions.
  • Mental Status Examination: These are required for applicants over 75 or with certain medical conditions. It is not an IQ test and necessitates no preparation.
  • Chest X-rays: Mandatory for applicants over 11 years old, often available on-site at most locations.
  • Creatinine Testing: Necessary for applicants over 15 or those with pre-existing kidney disease.
  • Urinalysis: For applicants over five years old.
  • Testing for Syphilis and HIV: Required for applicants over 15 years old.

Completing Medical Forms

Panel physicians must meticulously complete the required medical forms. These forms serve as detailed documentation, comprehensively portraying the applicant’s medical condition.

Details on physical health, mental status assessments, test results for infectious diseases, and other relevant information provide an understanding of the applicant’s health. The accuracy and thoroughness of these forms are crucial for informed decision-making in the immigration process.

Communicating with IRCC

After completing the various medical tests and examinations, the crucial step of reporting the results to the IRCC follows. This meticulous process ensures the immigration authorities have comprehensive information to assess an applicant’s eligibility.

Submission via eMedical Program

The panel physician utilizes the eMedical program, an IRCC-approved, secure, and efficient platform, to submit the immigration medical exam results. Using this electronic submission, precision, protection, and an efficient conveyance of data directly to the immigration authorities are guaranteed.

The physician submits the results of the IME within 5 to 10 days after they complete the examination. Timely submission of results is essential for ensuring the smooth operation of the immigration process and expediting the overall evaluation of an applicant’s eligibility.

Referrals for Further Evaluation

When the initial medical examination raises concerns or uncertainties, panel physicians can direct applicants toward supplementary medical or specialist evaluations. This measure enhances the precision and thoroughness of the overall assessment process.

Panel Physicians and Immigration Decisions

Panel physicians do not make decisions regarding immigration applications. Their role is limited to conducting immigration medical exams and providing comprehensive reports to the IRCC. The IRCC determines immigration eligibility based on the IME results and other information submitted with the application.

Choosing a Panel Physician for Your Immigration Medical Examination

Understanding the roles of panel physicians helps applicants grasp the immigration process. By following protocols and choosing experienced panel physicians, applicants contribute to a streamlined immigration system that benefits individuals and the nation.

Applicants don’t have to schedule their medical exams with a panel physician solely based on proximity to their residence. Whether you live in Cambridge but work in Oakville, or anywhere else in Canada, you can choose any panel physician for your medical exam.

Keep the following in mind when accessing a list of panel physicians:

Complete Exam Availability

Many panel physicians do not offer complete immigration medical exams in one location. Often, applicants arrive at a clinic to complete their exam, only to discover that many tests are unavailable at that location.

The clinic claims to offer immigration medical exams, but only a few tests can be done there. Applicants must go to other locations in the city for blood tests or chest x-rays, leading to a lengthy and tedious process of travel and waiting in long lines.

Inquiring about the location of other tests at a panel physician clinic will help you choose one that saves you time, especially if you are looking to return to work or have other engagements after your exam.

At Immigration Medical Toronto, we complete all examination steps and tests in a single visit, all located in the same building, resulting in an efficient process that saves you time.

Fee Transparency

Most panel physicians disclose their fees on their websites as all-inclusive or separate prices for each test.

Ensure you inquire about total test fees to make an informed comparison across clinics, as some may not fully disclose the total cost or each test requirement. At Immigration Medical Toronto, all our prices are inclusive, fully transparent and listed on our website.

Fees may vary based on the client’s age, with younger clients having lower medical costs due to fewer required tests than older clients.

Special Considerations

Some individuals may have specific preferences, such as being examined by a female panel physician or language preference. If such considerations are important, contact Immigration Medical Toronto, as we have female physicians available, as well as physicians who speak various languages including, English, French, Cantonese, Mandarin, Persian, Dari, and Farsi fluently.

Please verify the availability of a panel physician by contacting the clinic directly or checking the information provided on official websites.

Urgency of Examination

If there is an urgency for the immigration medical examination, inquire about the clinic’s availability. Check for the earliest online appointment through their website, or contact them directly to secure a timely assessment. At Immigration Medical Toronto, we often have same-day and next-day appointments.

Geographic Flexibility

While proximity is a factor, applicants don’t have to choose a panel physician based solely on location. Considering clinics in different areas allows for greater flexibility in securing earlier appointments and accommodating personal schedules.

Immigration Medical Toronto has convenient locations at major transit hubs along the TTC Subway Line 1 and 2 at Queen’s Park, College and Broadview stations.

Immigration Medical Toronto: A Reliable Choice for Your Visa Medical Needs

Embarking on your immigration journey is a significant step, and ensuring a hassle-free process begins with a thorough immigration medical exam.

At Immigration Medical Toronto, we deliver high-quality service at a competitive fee, providing prompt appointments and catering to specific preferences. Fully eMedical enabled, we expedite the submission process. We submit results within ten business days to IRCC for a swift and hassle-free experience.

For more information about booking your immigration medical exam with one of our panel physicians, book directly on our website here, call Immigration Medical Toronto at 416-463-2438 or contact us here.

Our dedicated team of panel physicians appointed by IRCC with over 30 years of experience is ready to assist you.

We have streamlined our processes to ensure that you have an efficient and pleasant immigration medical exam. To begin, book an appointment with the link below!

Book an immigration medical exam