Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 8, 2021



The Canadian Red Cross recruits medical “delegates” for overseas medical work, including projects run by the International Committee of the Red Cross in war zones, refugee camps and disaster relief situations. The Canadian branch was founded in 1909, 24 years after military surgeon George Sterling Ryerson first flew a flag with a red cross on it over his medical wagon during the North West Campaign against Louis Riel’s Métis rebellion in Manitoba in 1885. With an annual budget of over $250 million and thousands of volunteers, the Canadian Red Cross is easily the largest and farthest reaching medical aid organization in the country.

Where they work

Canadian Red Cross projects are currently running in Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, China, North Korea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel/Palestinian Territories, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Malawi. Physician members of the Canadian Red Cross’s Emergency Response Unit last year were sent to Mozambique and Cameroon. Delegates who work with branches of the International Committee of the Red Cross may be sent to a number of other locations around the world, depending on conflicts and disaster relief needs.

Who is needed

Primary care physicians, as well as surgeons, obstetricians and gynecologists, anesthetists and pediatricians. Physicians from any speciality are encouraged to get in touch to find out if a position would suit them. At least several years of post-graduate work experience is required, depending on your specialty.


Some missions last for as little as a month, while others can be run for up to two years, depending on the type of work and your availability.

Financial Considerations

Canadian Red Cross physician delegates collect salaries – starting at about $90,000 — based on their experience working in overseas medical aid. Vaccination, travel, housing and medical insurance costs are covered.


(613) 740-1900,