McGill University's medical school is on probation.

One of Canada's most prestigious medical institutions, it received a failing grade from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical schools for not meeting 24 of the 132 accreditation standards.

Those missed standards are mostly related to the school's new curriculum, currently in its second year. They include a lack of data on the effectiveness of service-learning opportunities, undefined definitions of diversity, and differences in teaching time at different university-affiliated hospitals. 

McGill’s medical program has been ranked by Maclean’s University for the last 10 years as the best in Canada – but after receiving the low marks, it now has two years to provide more data and update its programs.

“The issue has to do with procedures that we were not following on a consistent basis and often things that we were not documenting as well as we should,” said David Eidelman, the dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

The categories range from curriculum to administration. Much of the problem stems from transitioning from its old curriculum to the new one, he explained.

“The issue wasn't actually the material that we were teaching, in fact, they pointed out that our new curriculum is both innovative and exciting,” he stated.         

McGill was aware this past February that the review was coming. Although the faculty admits there's no excuse for the slip, it concedes it was also facing several external challenges. 

“We also had issues like a big hospital move,” said Eidelman, “And we had some changes in the health care system that also were distracting.”             

Both faculty and students say the program won't suffer.

“The quality of teaching that the students are getting and the doctors that we're training are still going to be very competent,” said Doulia Hamad, president of the Medical Students' Society of McGill University.

“That's fine,” said Nebras Warsi, former president of the student society. “We know we have a plan to get right back where we were.”         

McGill has 18 to 24 months to fix some of the problems identified by the committee, but it hopes to make some significant progress before that.

“We've put on the website both the letter that we received from the accrediting bodies and the preliminary framework of the plan that we're going to put together, and we have to develop a detailed action plan that will have to be submitted by December,” said Eidelman.

The school will be graded again in 2017.

McGill outlines its problems and plans for improvement in a six-page document:


Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) 2015 Accreditation Action Plan Framework

Read the full Accreditation report from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

2015 June - Mcgill - Full Survey - Accreditation Letter(1)