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CPSA launches accelerated registration route for eligible internationally-trained physicians

Media Release, Registration | Posted January 16, 2023

Edmonton, AB – CPSA has launched a five-year pilot project that will condense the Practice Readiness Assessment (PRA) process for international medical graduates (IMGs) with training comparable to that obtained in Canadian universities. The goal of the pilot is to evaluate whether eligible IMGs may begin independently practicing in their identified communities faster, while still ensuring patient safety is the top priority.

“Access to health care continues to be a challenge for many Albertans,” says Dr. Scott McLeod, CPSA Registrar and CEO. “We know physician recruitment is complex and while we’re just one piece of the puzzle, CPSA is committed to ensuring our role in licensing physicians and physician assistants is done as efficiently as possible without compromising patient safety.

“I’m proud to say that Alberta already leads the country in PRAs, having initiated over 100 last year. I’m hopeful this accelerated route will allow IMGs to begin practising in their communities sooner, and also support our partners’ work in attracting physicians to our province.”

CPSA’s traditional Practice Readiness Assessment consists of two parts: a three-month Preliminary Clinical Assessment where the candidate works under direct observation in the medical practice of a CPSA-approved assessor, and a three-month Supervised Practice Assessment where the candidate practises independently in their identified community, providing medical services to Albertans.

The five-year pilot project waives certain requirements, such as clinical review exams, and the first three-month assessment for IMGs that have comparable training to that obtained in Canadian universities, as identified by experts in postgraduate medical training. Those who qualify will now go directly to their identified communities and begin practising independently while completing their Supervised Practice Assessment.

“We need to look at every option to help build up our health care workforce, including streamlining processes to recruit internationally trained physicians and other professionals,” says Jason Copping, Minister of Health. “Alberta is the most welcoming province in Canada for International Medical Graduates, and this initiative will help build on that leadership by reducing the time it takes for them to meet the requirements for licensure and begin practising in communities that urgently need them.”

While CPSA recognizes this change alone won’t fix the physician shortage in Alberta, we feel it’s an important step in the right direction.

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