April 26, 2021
The College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba was notified on Saturday March 21, 2021, that due to significant technical challenges, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) was forced to cancel the clinical component of the examination, scheduled for March 20th and 21st, 2021. Since then, CPM has been working with CAPR and other physiotherapy provincial regulators to investigate the problem and determine next steps.
More recently, an announcement from CAPR was issued which stated that the June Clinical component of the PCE was also cancelled. Further, CAPR stated that the currently scheduled clinical exams dates in 2021 are also cancelled but that new dates would be established for 2021.
CPM Council and Manitoba registrants understand the duress that this has placed on the Examination Candidates at a time when COVID 19 has also caused fatigue on this group of people as well as everyone. We are sympathetic to your plight and compassionate to your needs and are attempting to see what CPM can do to assist you.
One of the things we are arranging is a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. We have invited Katya Masnyk the CEO of CAPR to attend to provide up to date information on what has happened with the PCE so far and what are the future plans for the examination. CPM will then address licensing issues and inform you about a recent Council decision that will be of assistance to many of you. You can register for this virtual Town Hall Meeting by clicking here.
This Town Hall Meeting will not be a place to vent your anger and pent-up frustration. It will be an opportunity to get the facts and ask questions in a professional way to assist you to make future decisions about your career and life.
CPM has received a number of questions about the PCE and we will provide information in the following FAQ (which is based on the FAQ from the College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia website)
- Why not eliminate the examination altogether?
Entry to practice examinations in health care professions have existed for many years. It is important to have an independent source of evaluation that applies to health care professionals, whether they were educated in Canada or internationally. The evaluation needs to be fair, relevant to the profession, administratively feasible and psychometrically sound. It provides the public with confidence in a profession. The Physiotherapy Competence Examination has long been regarded as the gold standard, which includes an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) as part of the evaluation process.
Eliminating the examination may not be the best solution for the public or for the profession and the unfortunate situation we all face today should not be viewed as opportunistic. We can look at this as a time to make the physiotherapy entry to practice examination the best and most relevant it can be given the state of education, accreditation and contemporary practice.
- This is the fourth incident involving the examination process. What is being done to overcome the ongoing challenge?
Clinical examinations scheduled for June and November 2020 could not proceed as the examination sites were closed, standardized patients were not available nor were examiners, in many places. So while the clinical examinations were cancelled, the cancellations were in response to public health restrictions related to the pandemic. The March 2021 examination was cancelled for a very different reason (technology issues). The June 2021 and November 2021 examinations have had their dates cancelled. The plan is to work on a virtual Clinical Component in small groups using updated platforms or other proven zoom-based technology in existing centres around the country. There is also a plan to partner with universities and clinics to use other locations to run small, pandemic-safe face to face exams wherever possible.
- We have received many comments such as “CAPR has demonstrated that they are not competent so why are you still working with them?” Here is why.
People have been making this statement on social media and in letters and emails to the College but is not based in fact. CAPR has long been a global leader in the provision of evaluation services including examinations. Their inability to deliver an in-person examination in the context of COVID-19 and the challenges faced in 2020 is not a reflection of CAPR’s competence; it is a result of a confluence of circumstances beyond anyone’s control. While it is true that CAPR failed to provide a virtual clinical examination on March 20 and 21, the circumstances contributing to the failure are not yet clear.
- Is graduation from an accredited entry-to-practice physiotherapy education program in Canada not good enough?
No, is the short answer.
Accreditation of entry-to-practice physiotherapy education programs in Canada is rigorous and very well regarded. The purpose of accreditation is to recognize education programs that meet or exceed a pre-defined, agreed -upon standard of quality, and to support and encourage programs in their own quality improvement activities. The accreditation process seeks to evaluate a program’s effectiveness toward the fulfillment of its mission, the achievement of its goals, and the continuing efforts to enhance the quality of its program and of student learning and experience. Canadian students must graduate from an accredited program because accreditation status assures a quality educational experience (not the personal competence of any graduate).
- Why is the College not acting as per the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) statement?
The CPA called for the CAPR to immediately return all fees collected from candidates. CAPR had already started the refund process before this request was made. Refunds to candidates are underway.
The CPA also called for provincial regulators to “immediately suspend the requirements for a completion of the clinical component of the PCE to be eligible for licensure in every province. This is not as easy as it sounds. Registration requirements are embedded in legislation; legislation is difficult to change and such change does not happen quickly. Regulators cannot just ignore the rules approved by the Ministry of Health.
It is important to note that there are differences between the role of the professional association (CPA) the regulator (CPM) and the national organization of physiotherapy regulators, CAPR.
- CPM has a mandate to protect the public interest. That is why we set entry requirements, we establish standards of practice and we manage complaints from the public
- CAPR provides services to the provincial regulators under their direction. The regulators often say “We are CAPR” because provincial regulators direct CAPR work, approve policies and are elected to the Board of Directors. If CAPR did not exist, provincial regulators themselves would need to do all the CAPR work done on our behalf. Regulation would be much more expensive.
- The professional association, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) and the Manitoba Physiotherapy Association are charged with representing the interests of the profession, advocating for things like scope of practice, funding, workforce issues and more.
Please re-read this notice carefully as these are the facts. Legislative changes cannot be made quickly. Legislation is the pillar of physiotherapists being a self-governing body in each province to protect the public.
Please attend the planned town hall meeting to have any other questions answered.
Respectfully provided and inviting you;
|Council of the College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba|