CPA responds to the discontinuation of the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE)

January 13, 2022

On January 12, 2022, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) announced their discontinuation of the Clinical Component of the PCE and an ‘accelerated focus on innovation’. 

The statement details that CAPR "will no longer be administering the Clinical Component…virtually or in-person in its current form" as an element of the PCE. However, their credentialling of internationally educated applicants will continue in addition to the administration of the Written Component face-to-face and remotely.

The CPA supports this announcement. In March 2021, as part of a national advocacy effort around the PCE, the CPA put forward three asks with the goal of supporting candidates, our members, and our professional partners.  We called on CAPR and the regulators to modernize the system and to suspend the clinical component of PCE. This announcement reflects our national advocacy efforts and members' voices that have called for an improved and innovative nationwide approach to licensure.

The recent announcement is a positive step forward for physiotherapy competency assessment in Canada. However, we know this does not address the existing gaps for candidates still waiting for licensure, especially those who have unsuccessfully attempted the Clinical Component in the past or those who are ineligible for the current interim measures in their region to enter the licensure pathway.  The issues that necessitated this action by CAPR not only impact the innovation of licensure long-term, but they are also immediate and persistent for many candidates waiting in limbo for licenses across the country. This announcement amplifies the importance for the provincial regulatory Colleges to roll out wide-ranging and timely solutions for candidates impacted now, knowing that the face of licensure is on the brink of change. Short-term, inequitable solutions cannot be accepted for our current candidates and future graduates. We cannot ask candidates, the health care system, community clinics and Canadians in need of physical therapists to simply wait for the future of licensure; the pathway to licensure needs a solution now. The physiotherapy assessment process in Canada must be modernized for the long-term in its approach and delivery, with a national approach that ensures patient safety and labour mobility; assessment reform must address the concerns we continue to hear from members and candidates across Canada about the gaps in the current process and the associated impacts.  We strongly feel that this issue has gone on for too long.

Earlier this month, CAPR's Board of Directors also announced that they would be launching a collaborative Evaluation Services Review and comprehensive analysis of current best practices. The CPA has been invited to collaborate on their profession-wide consultation and will be a part of the Evaluation Services Committee to represent the voices of our membership.

We are pleased that CAPR's evaluation review will include a strong stakeholder engagement process. However, the improved approach must include the expertise of candidates as well as other critical stakeholders in the profession who can help provide guidance, informed input, and strategic knowledge that will benefit CAPR's planning process. The CPA will ensure its participation is guided by many voices of all experience types, to ensure stakeholder engagement and consideration is robust.

"Today's announcement by CAPR is welcome as CPA Members have been asking for immediate change to licensure, and this will help to drive forward positive change for the physiotherapy profession," explained JP Cody-Cox, CPA, CEO. “We are hoping this announcement results not only in long-term modernization of licensure but encourages and motivates Colleges to table stronger and more expedient solutions to the challenges facing licensure in the profession, immediately.”

We know that physiotherapy expertise significantly enhances the trajectory of well-being and recovery from injury, surgical procedures, and illness for many Canadians. Therefore, the CPA is in full support of examining best practices for the future of competency assessment and discontinuing the current clinical examination process to ensure Canadians have access to timely high-quality physical therapy in their communities.

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