August 19, 2020 (Ottawa, Ontario) – The CPA recognizes that students and new grads are a vital part of our membership. Not only do they represent the future of the profession, but they represent future Board members, volunteers, Division Chairs, researchers, and visionaries, setting the direction for the profession of the future.

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the physiotherapy community, and student and new grad members were not left unscathed. Classrooms, clinical placements, competency examination schedules, and more were turned upside down and, as a result, the challenges of navigating a new career has been made infinitely more difficult. Throughout the pandemic, the CPA has often wished for more information and better answers for our members – this has never been more true than it is for our students and new grads.

Following the CPA AGM 2020 and CPA Town Hall in June, where our student and new grad members voiced a number of concerns, the CPA, alongside our National Student Assembly, sought to learn as much about the challenges facing new grads and students in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as possible. In addition to conversations that were ongoing with the National Physiotherapy Advisory Group about the steps being taken to address these concerns, the CPA has opened an active dialogue with student and new grad leaders representing the voice of our young membership across the country.

The CPA thanks its students for their dialogue, understanding, and openness as we navigate the systems and processes that the CPA influences through targeted advocacy work and collaboration. In addition to contributing to a forthcoming statement with our National Physiotherapy Advisory Group coalition members, we’re proud to announce a number of initiatives we’ve been working on to support our student and new grad members:

  1. National Student Assembly Expansion: First, the CPA is expanding the role of the National Student Assembly to include New Grad members. The NSA has been a critical voice for the CPA in understanding the needs of new grads in the current landscape. The NSA will begin communicating with both Student and New Grad members through its communications and will continue to voice the concerns of this cohort of members.
  2. Student Relief Year: In addition, the CPA, in partnership with the National Student Assembly, has identified a new member relief offering our support to students and new grads in these challenging times.

    As announced in the President’s Message on May 7, the CPA has developed the CPA Member Relief Package 2020 to address the economic impacts of COVID-19. As issues began to arise that are specifically affecting the CPA’s graduating student and new grad members, the CPA has been working in conjunction with the National Student Assembly to identify ways to lighten the load on students and new grads navigating this new reality.

    Due to the postponement/cancellation of scheduled Physiotherapy Competency Exams, the CPA and the Branches will be extending complimentary student membership for the upcoming membership year (October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021) for students who have graduated in 2019 or 2020 but who have not had access to competency exams. These memberships will be extended automatically on September 30, 2020.

    As soon as graduating student members need to purchase professional liability insurance, they can upgrade to the ‘New Grad’ membership category for 50% off membership and insurance by logging in to their CPA account and clicking on Upgrade Membership. The students will pay a pro-rated fee until the end of the membership year (September 30).* Whether or not students upgrade to the ‘New Grad’ membership category during the next membership year, these students will also be eligible for the ‘New Grad’ membership category for the membership year of October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.

    This will ensure that these graduating student members are still able access the benefits of a CPA membership for free until they are able to practise, including a COVID-19 Hub to support members as we navigate this complicated new reality.

  3. CPA Student and New Grad Town Hall: The CPA is proud to announce that, with its partners at the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, they will be hosting a Town Hall for student and new grad members to hear from CAPR on the latest updates related to COVID-19 and ask questions. The CPA is finalizing a date in August 2020 for this town hall and will circulate more details directly to students and new grads through a National Student Assembly correspondence as soon as the information is available.

We want to thank our Student and New Grad members, the future of the profession, for their support, dialogue, and resilience through trying times.

If you have questions related to the CPA Member Relief Package 2020 – Student Relief Year, please contact


*If the student needs to upgrade to the New Grad category before September 30, 2020, they can renew for the new membership year right after that (at the New Grad rate) from the Account Centre by clicking on Renew Now.