OMSAS – Referee Requirements

Last updated: July 9, 2019

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Requests for references should be sent to your referees by September 15 to allow enough time for them to submit their reference by the deadline.


  • 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. At least 1 of your 3 referees should be academic- or employment-related and 1 should be personal (non-academic). The third reference can be 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: OMSAS cannot help you select referees.

New for 2020: 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 will no longer be 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.

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Submitting the CAF

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 Confidential Assessment Form (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.

Note: Additional letters are not accepted. If a letter is sent to OMSAS, it will not be forwarded to the medical schools.

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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 U of T, you must provide the contact details of a graduate verifier. This verifier may be contacted 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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Checking the Status of Your References

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

Reference Status

  • Email Sent: Your email has been sent to your selected referee.
  • Form Viewed: Your referee has viewed the CAF.
  • In Progress: Your referee has started to complete the CAF, but has not submitted it.
  • Received: The OUAC has 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 to complete the CAF.

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