OMSAS – Referee Requirements

Last updated: July 5, 2021

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You should send requests for references to your referees by September 15, 2021, to allow enough time for them to submit their reference by the deadline. Check the Document Tracking page in your application frequently to ensure that all documents were received by the appropriate deadlines.


  • It is your responsibility to review the referee requirements for each program that you apply to.
  • OMSAS cannot advise you in selecting referees.

Referee Selection

You are required to ask 3 different individuals to provide a reference on your behalf:

  • 1 academic- or employment-related,
  • 1 non-academic and
  • 1 of your choosing.

Select referees who have extensive personal knowledge of you and, as a result, are in a position to answer the Confidential Assessment Form (CAF) questions.

Note: In order for referees to provide uniform information that admission committees are specifically looking for from the reference process, each of your referees will be asked to fill out a CAF. It is your responsibility to inform your referees that they must fill out the CAF, and that additional letters of reference are not accepted.

On the CAF, your references will be asked to respond to the following:

  1. Would this applicant make a good physician?
  2. Rate the applicant on each of the following attributes:
    • Communication skills
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Professionalism (e.g., commitment to ethical practice, standards of behaviour and accountability to others)
    • Empathy (e.g., demonstrating consideration of others’ perspectives)
  3. Identify and comment on 1 area of improvement for the applicant.
  4. Share any other information you feel may be relevant to a medical school’s admission committee.

Referees are not allowed to submit an additional letter. We will send only the CAF to the medical schools.

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Submitting the Confidential Assessment Form

Ensure that your referee is prepared to use the online form before entering an email address.

Once you add a referee, click “Send Email” to notify them about completing their online CAF in a protected environment.

Your comments to the referee should include your contact information, so they will be able to reach you if necessary. It is your responsibility to ensure that OMSAS receives your reference by the deadline.

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Checking the Status of Your References

You can check the status of your references under the “Actions/Status” column in the Referees section of your application.

Reference Status

  • Email Sent: Your email was sent to your selected referee.
  • Form Viewed: Your referee viewed the CAF.
  • In Progress: Your referee started the CAF but did not submit it.
  • Received: The OUAC received the CAF from your referee.

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Referee Resets

You may reset your reference as long as the referee has not started the CAF.

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Queen’s Combined MD/PhD or MD/MSc Programs

If you are applying to the Queen’s University Combined MD/PhD program or MD/MSc programs, you must have additional references submitted for the MD/PhD and or MD/MSc portion of your application.

This includes 2 additional confidential letters of recommendation (to be submitted under separate cover) focusing on your research accomplishments and potential to become a physician-scientist (in addition to the 3 recommendation letters that are required for the MD application).

Further information is provided in your OMSAS application.

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University of Toronto MD/PhD and Graduate Applicants

If you are applying to the University of Toronto’s MD/PhD program, you must have additional references submitted for the MD/PhD portion of your application.

If you are a graduate applicant to the University of Toronto, you must provide the contact details of a graduate verifier. The University of Toronto may contact this verifier to confirm your degree type and program completion date. The verifier may be either your graduate supervisor or graduate program administrator. The University of Toronto will contact them directly.

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