Medical Geneticists

A medical geneticist is a physician consultant who has successfully completed an accredited residency program or fellowship in Medical Genetics and Genomics and is licensed to practice in Canada and in the particular province/territory in which they plan to practice.

To practice in Canada, an individual needs to obtain the Licenciate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) as part of the requirements. As of June 29, 2021, individuals with the LMCC are eligible to be included in the Canadian Medical Register based on criteria available at: Briefly, this includes 1) being a graduate from a Canadian medical school accredited via the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, internationally (as listed in the World Directory of Medical School available at: ) with a sponsor note indicating it is acceptable in Canada or as part of the United States School of Osteopathic Medicine; 2) Pass the Medical Counsel of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE Part I); and 3) at least 12 months of an acceptable clinical postgraduate medical training.

There are 6 accredited English speaking residency programs for Medical Genetics and Genomics and 1 French speaking residency program. The information about the individual residency programs can be found on the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) website ( ). Availability of residency spots for international medical graduates vary and are updated on the CaRMS website in the fall of the match year.

An alternative route to becoming a medical geneticist in Canada is to complete a Canadian College of Medical Geneticist (CCMG) fellowship in Medical Genetics and Genomics in either Clinical Genetics or Clinical Biochemical Genetics. This route would only be applicable to individuals who have already completed residency after medical school.

  1. A) A 3-year CCMG Fellowship Training in Clinical Genetics for MDs who have already completed 3 years of postgraduate medical education in a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) (or an equivalent international program as recognized by the Royal College) and/or Collège des Médecins du Québec (CMQ)-accredited residency program. This route is designed for an MD who has, or intends to, complete a primary specialty such as Pediatrics, Obstetrics or Internal Medicine and wants to obtain expertise in Medical Genetics and Genomics. See
  2. B) 2-year CCMG Fellowship Training in Clinical Biochemical Genetics (Metabolics) for MDs who have already completed 3 years of postgraduate medical education in another residency program and 1 year if they completed Medical Genetics and Genomics. This training is intended for MDs whose primary focus is diagnosing and treating inborn errors of metabolism.

A medical license through one of the provincial or territorial colleges is then needed to practice in that province or territory. Regulatory requirements may vary according to the province/territory and individuals should contact provincial licensure organizations to enquire about the requirements. In addition, if one has trained outside of Canada, you will also need to check with the province/territory college to confirm licencing requirements.

Laboratory Geneticist

Laboratory geneticists are clinical scientists who oversee molecular genetics, cytogenetics or biochemical genetics diagnostic testing laboratories. Laboratory geneticists have both service and administrative roles in diagnostic test interpretation, consultation, assay development, and quality compliance; many positions also include academic roles in teaching and research with an affiliated university.

Although historically molecular genetics and cytogenetics were separate training programs, recently this program was combined into a joint Laboratory Genetics and Genome Diagnostics training program. Thus, new laboratory geneticists are CCMG certified in either Laboratory Genetics and Genomic Diagnostics or Laboratory Biochemical Genetics, following completion of a CCMG-accredited training program, review of credentials and passing relevant CCMG examinations. Training programs are 2-3 years in duration and trainees complete much of their training “hands-on”, embedded within a diagnostic testing laboratory. Training programs are available at various clinical testing sites across Canada (, however intake and available funding vary considerably between sites. Admission into fellowship training programs is highly competitive; mandatory prerequisites include either a PhD or MD degree, most candidates will have additional postdoctoral training or clinical experience with a focus on human genetics.

Genetic Counsellor

You need to first complete a Master’s level training program in Genetic Counselling. There are 5 Master’s of Science Genetic Counselling programs in Canada:

University of British Columbia – Vancouver, British Columbia

University of Manitoba – Winnipeg, Manitoba

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

McGill University – Montreal, Quebec

University of Montreal (French) – Montreal, Quebec

These Master’s programs usually involve a combination of course work, clinical rotations and an independent research project (thesis or capstone).

After finishing the Master’s level training program, individuals must write an examination to become certified. There are two certification exams that are typically acceptable in Canada- either the exam for the Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling or the exam for the American Board of Genetic Counseling

Canadian Board certification lasts 10 years. The American Board certification lasts 5 years. Genetic Counsellors need to then be re-certified (either by exam, or a combination of work experience/professional development credits). In order to be hired as a genetic counsellor in Canada, one must be board-eligible or board certified (usually one of the Canadian or American is enough).

For more information, see:

Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors:

Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling

National Society of Genetic Counselors:

American Board of Genetic Counselors:

Laboratory Technologists

Clinical laboratory technologists carry out the day to day wet-lab testing and data analysis in molecular genetics, cytogenetics, and biochemical genetics diagnostic testing laboratories.

To become a molecular or cytogenetics technologist, most clinical testing labs require Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science (CSMLS) certification in Clinical Genetics. There are two training programs in Canada, which prepare technologists for the CSMLS Clinical Genetics certification exam: The BCIT Clinical Genetics Technology program (Clinical Genetics Technology, Advanced Diploma, Full-time – BCIT ) in Burnaby, British Columbia and the Michener Institute Genetics Technology program (Genetics Technology Program – The Michener Institute) in Toronto, Ontario; both programs are intensive and admission is highly competitive.

The BCIT Clinical Genetics Technology program is a 13-month program, which includes 7 months of practical training at different clinical testing laboratories within the province; admission requires a BSc in a life science or related discipline.

The Michener Institute Michener Institute Genetics Technology program is a 2-year program that includes a 12 week simulated clinical course and 18 week practical clinical placement; admission requires either a BSc degree or Medical Laboratory Technologist diploma with completion and minimum performance requirements in Human genetics and Molecular genetics courses.

To become a biochemical genetics lab technologist, applicants train through the general laboratory technologist stream. There are several general training programs across Canada, all of which include a practicum at affiliated hospitals and private labs. Once training is completed, successful completion of national certification exam is required for certification by the CSMLS. CSMLS-certified technologists typically undergo additional on-the-job training in the specialized laboratory skills required for biochemical genetics testing.