The successful completion of the clinical component of the physiotherapy competency exam (PCE) is required by most physiotherapy regulators for entry to practice in Canada. This exam, administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR), has not been delivered since November 2019. Since that time, CAPR has attempted to deliver the clinical component of the exam without success; three subsequently scheduled exams were cancelled in 2020 and in 2021 due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic and technical issues in the exam delivery platform. Following the most recent cancellation of the PCE in March 2021, CAPR announced that a ‘clinical component relaunch’ would see the exam delivered virtually by CAPR later in 2021.
Exam delays have resulted in a backlog of >3,000 physiotherapy candidates seeking entry to practice across the country, with most impacted candidates concentrated in Ontario. There are substantial concerns regarding access to physiotherapy services for the public, in addition to longer term profession-wide impacts, considering these delays.
Since March 2021, the CPA has been actively advocating through numerous mechanisms, with our partners in the provincial Branches, for the physiotherapy regulatory colleges to consider alternatives to the clinical component of the exam during the pandemic situation. The CPA’s goal is to expediently enable licensure for the impacted candidates and to ensure that safe, competent physiotherapy service delivery to the Canadian population is not impeded, especially during a global pandemic.