CPM Clinical Exam Update

CPM Clinical Exam Update

October 22, 2021

We would like to provide an update about the Physiotherapy Competency Examination and the approach to be taken by the College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba.

As you are probably aware, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) has attempted to hold virtual examinations in place of the face-to-face competency examinations that were the “norm” in the past. The move to a virtual examination was a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and the resulting Public Health Orders that required people to stay home, stay distanced, wear PPE, not travel, and more recently, become vaccinated.

The virtual exam was attempted in March 2021 and September 2021 and the technology was really not advanced far enough, to make these types of exams run smoothly. Consequently, both the March and September examinations failed and all clinical exams have now been cancelled.

CAPR is now working on initiating a new face to face examination for 2022. We do not know the dates yet and no registrations are currently being accepted.

This situation left a large number of Examination Candidates in a difficult situation regarding their ability to enter the profession as fully licensed physiotherapists. While our number in Manitoba is small, some provinces have a thousand people caught in limbo. CPM had 97 people registered on the Examination Candidate Register up until recently.

The Registrar has been involved in frequent meetings with the other physiotherapy provincial Registrars to discuss what each province is doing, given their current provincial legislation, to get Examination Candidates fully registered.

CPM has looked at collaborating with several other provinces to develop and hold an interim examination. We have talked to a number of people who have been involved with holding previous Physiotherapy Competency Examinations in Winnipeg. However, holding an interim examination in Winnipeg is not feasible. So we looked at other avenues.

Two Manitoba Examination Candidates undertook the September virtual Clinical Examination prior to it being cancelled. The Board of Assessors, which is the committee of CPM which makes registration decisions, were able to get raw score data on the two Examination Candidates and determined that the scores appeared to be high enough to permit full registration on the Active Practice Register. Both Exam Candidates have now transferred their registration and are practicing independently. CPM congratulates both of these registrants as they have been patiently and professionally, waiting for decisions to be made and were in fact two of our longer standing members on the Examination Candidate Register.

Next the Board of Assessors decided to set criteria which would allow them to use Regulation 4 (2) which recognizes prior learning and experience of Examination Candidates. This will be an interim measure to allow registrants on the Examination Candidate Register in Manitoba, who meet certain criteria, to apply for a transfer of registration to the Active Practice Register. Once the Clinical Component of the PCE is again running, this option will not be available to registrants on the Examination Candidate Register. It is meant to be a COVID related interim measure. Should registrants be transferred to the Active Practice Register through this “prior learning and experience” criterion, CPM cannot guarantee that all provinces will accept this examination exemption should the individual decide to move away from Manitoba. However, the individuals will be permitted to practice in Manitoba without having to take the Clinical Component.

The criteria that has been established by the Board of Assessors is as follows:

  • The Examination Candidate has no current, unresolved complaint(s) against them.
  • They have been on the Examination Candidate Register in Manitoba for a minimum of 12 consecutive months with no attempts at the Clinical Component of the PCE OR have been on the Examination Candidate Register for a minimum of 18 months and have had one failed attempt at the Clinical Component of the PCE.
  • They have practiced a minimum of 1200 clinical hours in physiotherapy within the last year (e.g., from November 2020 to November 2021) and can show proof of these hours to CPM.
  • They have an Assessment of Clinical Practice (ACP) evaluation form on file with CPM which has been completed by their supervisor within the last 6 months.

The Board of Assessors may request additional information from the Examination Candidate or the Supervisor when considering applications for the Active Practice Register.

Examination Candidates who have been on the Examination Candidate Register for 11 months or more, will be sent an application form next week to request a change to the Active Practice Register. The Board of Assessors will review the applications at their next meeting to be held in November.

If you are an Examination Candidate who does not receive the application form next week, please contact the CPM office (204-287-8502) as we may not have your current contact information on file.

Council and the Board of Assessors recognize the stress that has been placed on registrants of the Examination Candidate Register through this difficult time. We know that this seems to have taken a long time to get to this point where CPM can offer solutions to the problem. We also realize that the whole system of supervising students and new grads, as well as internationally educated physiotherapists, has been difficult for the University as well as those registrants who supervise the Exam Candidates. CPM appreciates your patience as we work through these difficult decisions.

September 21, 2021

On September 14, 2021, the College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba was made aware that the Board of Directors of the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators made the decision to cancel the virtual clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) due to ongoing difficulties with launching a virtual exam. As of this announcement date, all scheduled dates for the clinical exam are cancelled.

The Council and College is very disappointed with this latest development and the multiple cancellations that have occurred with the clinical examination. We understand that this cancellation adds another layer to an already stressful situation for both Examination Candidates, their families and the physiotherapy community at large.

We extend our sincere apologies to the candidates who we know have worked diligently to prepare for the exam, not once but several times. The ongoing issues and cancellations are unacceptable. Council remains committed to registering Examination Candidates for independent practice as soon as possible.

Since the announcement was made, Council and the Board of Assessors (the registration committee of CPM) has held emergency meetings to look at options to this situation

  • We have consulted with government on amending our Regulations.
  • We have looked at options for finding an alternative exam.
  • We have considered options for licensing if an Examination Candidate has been under supervision for an extended period of time.
  • Legal Counsel of the College has been consulted.

All of these options are being discussed at the moment and Council will need to decide the best solution, at which time, they will announce the road forward.

The Board of Assessors will continue to extend the license of those on the Examination Candidate Register.

The College will do our best to answer your questions and concerns and provide an update as it becomes available.

The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators has committed to providing weekly updates regarding the Clinical Component  – an initiative aimed at providing candidates, our industry stakeholders and concerned members of the public with access to accurate and timely information about their work to relaunch the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam.

August 31, 2021

To view the update for the week of August 31, 2021, click on the image below

August 24, 2021

To view the update for the week of August 24, 2021, click on the image below

August 16, 2021

To view the update for the week of August 16, 2021, click on the image below

August 9, 2021

To view the update for the week of August 9, 2021, click on the image below

August 2, 2021

To view the update for the week of August 2, 2021, click on the image below


July 19, 2021

Watch: Video update from Denis Pelletier and Katya Masnyk

What’s the latest on the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam?

In this short video, CAPR’s new Board President Denis Pelletier and CAPR CEO Katya Masnyk recap their progress.

To view the full update, visit the CAPR website by clicking here

July 12, 2021

To view the update for the week of July 12, 2021, click on the image below

June 28, 2021

To view the update for the week of June 28, 2021, click on the image below.

June 21, 2021

To view the update for the week of June 21, 2021, click on the image below.

June 14, 2021

To view the update for the week of June 14, 2021, click on the image below.

May 19, 2021

To view the update for the week of May 17, 2021, click on the image below.



May 17, 2021

The College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba and in collaboration with the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators, hosted a Town Hall on May 5, 2021 to discuss the
cancellation of the Clinical Exam. A recording of this Town Hall is available below:

If you have any questions, please submit them by email to info@manitobaphysio.com.


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)

  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1.  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.


  1. 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).


  1. 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

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