When we initially launched our calls to action on March 21, 2021, the concept of ‘suspending the PCE requirement’ was not well received. The CPA is of the opinion that it is possible to suspend the PCE, and for provincial and territorial colleges to implement an alternative licensing solution.

Exam Alternatives

Since the exam cancellation, CPA has advocated for many of the proposed solutions to the problems plaguing entry to practice and licensure across the country. One solution proposed a two-pronged approach to assess candidates impacted by the delays, based on the different risk profiles within those groups:

  1. Supervisors would conduct an assessment (authorized by the regulator) in the workplace of candidates who have passed the written component of the PCE and who have been supervised for a period of one year. The assessment would then be provided to the regulatory college.
  • Competency-based checklists, such as the Canadian Physiotherapy Assessment of Clinical Performance (ACP), already exist and are in use for clinical placements.
  • Where a competency has not been performed or observed, the supervisor would communicate with the regulator that more information is required (see item 2 below).
  • The candidates deemed successful could then become eligible for an independent license as per the provincial regulator’s decision.
  1.  Frequent, in-person “mini-assessments” of the clinical exam across Canada could be deployed for those candidates who have previously failed the clinical component of the PCE, and for internationally educated individuals.

This is an elegant, fair solution to a situation that is placing an unimaginable burden on candidates, is embarrassing for the profession, and limits health care access for Canadians. This solution allows regulators to use their legislative realities and still expediently license candidates across the country.

Legislative Application

Even though regulations requiring the PCE vary among the provinces, there are clear, immediate paths to suspend the PCE requirement. The CPA is of the opinion that from province to province the legislation and regulations can be interpreted in a way that allows for innovation in the licensure process including the suspension of the clinical component of the PCE in favour of an alternate examination approach (such as the option just described).

ProvinceLegislation & Regulations
YukonHealth Professions Act, s 2, Regulation OIC 2007/19, ss 1 “approved physiotherapy program” and “competency examination”, 4, 13, 18
Yukon Website
British ColumbiaHealth Professions Act, RSBC 1996 Chapter 183, ss 19 (m-m.4), 20
CPTBC Bylaws, ss 1 “examination”, 43
College Website
AlbertaHealth Professions Act, Chapter H-7, ss 28, 29
Alberta Regulation 64/2011 Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, 3
College Website
SaskatchewanThe Physical Therapists Act, 1998, Chapter P-11.11, s 19
SCPT Regulatory Bylaws, ss 1 “recognized competency examination” and “recognized educational program”, 4
College Website
ManitobaThe Physiotherapists Act, CCSM c p65, s 9
Physiotherapists Regulation, Regulation 204/2001, ss 1 “examination”, 4
College Website
OntarioSs 4 and 94 of the HPPC, s 11.1 of the Physiotherapy Act; s 11 and 19 of the General Regulations
College Website
QuebecRegulation respecting the diplomas issued by designated educational institutions which give access to permits or specialist’s certificates of professional orders, chapter C-26, s 184, 1st par, s 1.14
Ordre Website
New BrunswickPhysiotherapy Act, ss 3, 5, 14, 15
Regulation 2 – Registration and membership Regulation, s 5 and Schedule B
College Website
Nova ScotiaPhysiotherapy Act, Chapter 22 of the Acts of 1998, ss 4, 6, 19
Nova Scotia Physiotherapists Registration Regulations, s 19
College Website
Prince Edward IslandRegulated Health Professions Act, Chapter R-10.1, ss 4, 12, 96
Registered Health Professions Act General Regulations, s 1 “Physiotherapy Competency Examination”, 13
College Website
Newfoundland & LabradorPhysiotherapy Act, 2006 SNL 2006 Chapter P-13.1, ss 3, 9, 12
Newfoundland and Labrador Regulation 60/07, s 4
College Website