Religious Supports for Learners
Temerty Medicine is committed to supporting learners’ religious identities. Below is an overview of resources available to learners to support their religious practices during their medical training.
Accommodation for Religious Observances
It is the policy of the University of Toronto that “no student be seriously disadvantaged because of their religious observance”, and planned absence requests for religious observances will be approved accordingly.
Temerty Medicine makes every possible effort to not schedule assessments or mandatory classes on Holy Days, but on occasion it cannot be avoided and opportunity will be given to students to make up the work that they miss.
If religious observances conflict with attendance or due dates for assignments/exams, notify the immediate education supervisors of the activities that you will be absent from so we can make appropriate arrangements for alternate scheduling of assessments or make up of missed work.
For MD Programs learners, please submit a planned absence request form.
The following are examples of requests that students may make to be excused from classes or examinations: Holy Days; on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. for Muslim community prayers; or on the Jewish Sabbath (one-and a-half hours before sunset Friday to one-and-a-half hours after sunset Saturday).
Check out the University of Toronto’s Calendar of Relevant Dates as well as the relevant dates for more information about religious holiday dates. It is important to note that calendar may not include all dates, and that dates may vary, sometimes significantly depending on the type of calendar a community is following. Communities within traditions are diverse and will observe days differently.
Who to contact to answer questions related to religious support
MD Learners in Year 1 and Year 2: Contact information for course directors in Foundations
MD Learners in Clerkship: Contact information for course directors in Clerkship
Postgraduate (PGME) Learners and Fellows: Contact your program or fellowship director
Prayer Space on Campus and Hospital Sites
- Toronto Western Hospital (TWH): 4th floor, Fell Pavilion, Room 108
- Toronto General Hospital (TGH): 1st floor, Gerrard Wing, Room 557
- Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH): Main floor, Room M909
- Mt. Sinai Hospital (MSH): 4th floor, exit through University Ave elevators and turn right, enter through doors right beside the registration/volunteer desk.
- SickKids, The Hospital for Sick Children: 1st Floor, Atrium, Room 1730
- Toronto Rehab Institute (TRI) I University: room 6-204
- Women's College Hospital (WCH): Peter Gilgan Atrium, Room 1415 | Weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. 1st floor.
- If you have badge access, go up to the 10th floor, exit through elevators. It will be the first door to your left.
- St. Michael's Hospital (SMH): 3rd Floor Bond Wing, Room 3-010. Code 1937*.
- Scarborough General Hospital (SGH): Worship Centre on First Floor
- Michael Garron Hospital (MGH): Interfaith Chapel: G-Wing 2 Floor, Room G20070 and Meditation Room: G-Wing 2 Floor, Room G20071
- North York General Hospital (NYGH): Ground floor across from the gift shop. Exit from any elevators and head in the direction of the pharmacy (follow green arrows on the floor) to locate it.
- Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre: ground floor in E-wing across from the Synagogue
- There’s another on the OB floor. Across the triage hallway where patients wait. Exit through the doors that lead to stairs. You’ll find a prayer room in that small hallway. *ask clerk at triage desk to unlock it if it’s locked*
- The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH):
- Humber River Hospital (HRH): main floor across from the Central Elevators
- Etobicoke General Hospital (EGH): Multi Faith Room located at the main level, Room 2006 or Reflection Room located at the main level, Room 2452
- St. Joseph's Health Centre (SJHC): 2nd Floor Morrow Wing, Room 2M20
University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Campus / Mississauga Academy of Medicine
- Spiritual & Faith Spaces on Campus at UTM
- Credit Valley Hospital (CVH): Main level by the Emergency Department Entrance, across from the Orthotic Centre
- Mississauga Hospital (MH): Next to the hospital pharmacy on the main level
University of Toronto St. George Campus
- Medical Science Building, Room 3388A
- Gerstein Science Information Centre, George Connell Space, 1st floor
- Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building, Room B220 and B222
- Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Room 4-409
- Robarts Library, Room 8045, 8th floor
NOTE: Prayer space locations may change. If you notice updates that should be made to the information above, please notify OLA Reception.
Information For Muslim Learners
We recognize that students observing the month of Ramadan may find it extra challenging to write assessments early in the morning or late in the evening due to the demanding changes in their schedule. Closer to the start of Ramadan, the Course Director(s) will outline any alternate arrangements available for assessments during Ramadan.
Hajj and Umrah Support
It is not the University’s role to pass judgment of the necessity of students to partake in an activity that may be central to their faith, but rather to help determine what would comprise reasonable accommodation without causing undue hardship to the activities of the institution. With respect to final exams, the customary practice is to allow for exams to be deferred until the next exam period.
Mask Fitting and Accommodation
According to TAHSN recent guidance, "Where learners are unable to be fit-tested due to any religious or cultural factors, hospitals will make every reasonable effort to accommodate with other alternative PPE as long as it does not cause any health and safety risks".
TAHSN is forming a specific group to look into alternative ways to accommodate facial hair with N95 mask fitting.
Mask-Fit Policies - Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME)
Standards for Religious Attire for Health Care Workers, Learners and Volunteers in Hospital Areas with Sterile Procedures (ASP)
The purpose of the Standards for Religious Attire for Health Care Workers, Learners and Volunteers in Hospital Areas with Sterile Procedures (ASP) is to set out, and harmonize among TAHSN hospitals, standards and shared expectations related to clothing worn by religiously observant individuals acting in hospital Areas with Sterile Procedures (ASP), such as operating rooms.
The information related to standards for religious attire may change or be updated. We will work to keep the information as up-to-date as possible, but please notify us at OLA Reception if you are aware of any updates need to be made to this section.
Other websites with relevant information related to Religious Supports and Accommodations
- Temerty Faculty of Medicine on Campus Faith-Based Resources
- MD Policy on scheduling of classes and examinations and other accommodations for religious observances
- University of Toronto Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policies and Information
- U of T Multifaith Centre for Spiritual Study & Practice
- Interfaith and Spirituality at UTM
- U of T Muslim Students Association - Community Resources
PARO Information Related to Religious Support
"What if I observe a religious holiday that is not listed in the PARO-CAHO Collective Agreement?
Programs have a duty to accommodate religious holidays not listed in the PARO-CAHO Collective Agreement to the point of undue hardship (factors such as patient safety, service requirements and a resident’s training requirements will be considered). If you do need accommodation for religious observation, notify your scheduler as early as possible about your needs so that they can plan accordingly."
See the PARO "Top Contract Questions" FAQs for more information.