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CPSA’s accelerated route to registration: Looking back on the first year of the pilot

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March Messenger 2024, Registration | Posted March 14, 2024
Read time: 2 minutes

Early last year, CPSA launched a five-year pilot project to condense the Practice Readiness Assessment (PRA) process into an accelerated registration route for eligible international medical graduates (IMGs). One year into its activation, the accelerated route is catching speed as this option steadily gains exposure and eligible applications continue to be submitted.

What is the accelerated registration route?

The pilot was developed with an intention to evaluate whether eligible IMGs (with training comparable to that obtained from Canadian universities) may begin independently practising in their identified communities faster while continuing to prioritize patient safety. Once an IMG has met eligibility criteria and secured sponsorship, they can move on to the PRA. This is the final step to independent practice in Alberta for those who do not have complete Canadian credentials.

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

The accelerated route waives certain requirements, such as clinical review exams and the first three-month assessment for eligible IMGs, as identified by experts in postgraduate medical training. Qualified IMGs go directly to their identified communities and begin practising independently while completing their Supervised Practice Assessment.

Read about the experiences of Dr. Ogechukwu Graham Nwobe and Dr. Amarachi Acholonu-Nwobe, who have successfully gone through CPSA’s traditional PRA program, and insights from Dr. Martins Agwaze, who underwent the PRA process himself before becoming a CPSA PRA Assessor.

Looking back at the year

In 2022, Alberta initiated 106 PRAs with the traditional route and increased to 135 in 2023. From its launch in 2023 to the year’s end, the accelerated route has resulted in CPSA issuing 181 eligibility letters to candidates. Of this group of applicants, 32 have started their PRA to date. Part of determining eligibility for this option depends on where applicants received their medical training. Approved jurisdictions for varying specialties and requirements currently include Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland and, as of November 2023, the United States.

A focus on patient safety

Although this route condenses the PRA process for eligible IMGs, there is no change in the requirement of all physicians practising in Alberta to adhere to our high standards of care. CPSA continues to support our vision of providing the highest quality of care for all Albertans by requiring eligible candidates to undergo two competency assessments when going through the accelerated process. Other safeguards have also been put in place and in the event that gaps are identified, CPSA’s Continuing Competence Program provides additional support through assessments, courses and/or coaching.


After a successful first year, we look forward to receiving more applicants through this accelerated route and contributing to an increase of eligible IMGs practising in Alberta.

Learn more about this program on the CPSA website

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