Summary Timeline of Events

  1. As a result of lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Canada in March 2020, the clinical component of the PCE was cancelled by CAPR. Click here for more.
  2. In response to this cancellation, CAPR confirmed it would be moving forward with its June 2020 in-person PCE clinical exam and would accommodate candidates impacted by this initial cancellation.
  3. In advance of the June exam, CAPR and CPA had open dialogue as CPA and its Branches offered to tackle finding alternative in-person spaces to accommodate the hands-on, in-person practical examination in light of the potential for a second wave of the pandemic and further restrictions and lockdowns.
  4. In June 2020, CAPR cancelled the June in-person exam as a result of the pandemic.
  5. At CPA’s AGM and Town Hall in May and June of 2020, candidates began to voice their displeasure about the cancellations and the lack of transparency and clarity regarding next steps to ensure the exam was available and candidates were able to be licensed.
  6. As a result of those meetings, the CPA became even further involved. CPA hosted a CPA Student Town Hall with CAPR to discuss the current status and next steps, again shared options and willingness for using clinics or Branch relationships to secure in-person exam venues, and more.
  7. In response, the CPA met regularly with a number of candidates and students, both with the senior leadership of the CPA, the CPA Board of Directors, and the National Student Assembly, to ensure candidate perspectives were heard. The National Student Assembly was expanded to include a New Graduate representative for the explicit purpose of giving candidates stuck in limbo a voice. Based on the guidance of these candidates and members, CPA introduced the CPA Member Relief Package – Student Year, to financially support candidates maintaining their membership while they were stuck between student, new grad and Practicing B membership as a result of the cancellations.
  8. In fall 2020, CAPR communicated that they felt they had exhausted all their options for an in-person exam given the uncertainty regarding the pandemic. They identified that they would be moving to a virtual exam, to be launched in March 2021. Click here for more.
  9. The CPA Board, staff, Branches and Divisions were presented the virtual clinical component plan in November 2020 by CAPR and were given the opportunity to ask question, seek clarity and advocate for candidates.
  10. As a result of the November 2020 meeting, CPA and its Branches again offered resource support to CAPR, continued to counsel with affected candidates, and amplified communications from CAPR with members and candidates. While CPA was receiving regular updates, and pressuring CAPR to deliver the virtual exam expediently, CPA continued to assure candidates and members that the virtual exam would be the fastest solution to licensure for candidates.
  11. In February 2020, the CPA facilitated a space exchange through its Facebook community and membership where members with clinics could share their treatment rooms with candidates who needed an exam-appropriate clinic setting for their clinical component. The group gained hundreds of members with many of posts from clinic owners offering candidates space to take the exam. CPA continued to counsel with candidates who sought clarity on the requirements, content and more of the virtual exam – and pressured CAPR to answer candidate questions in a timely way to assure success for those scheduled to take the March 2021 exam.
  12. On March 20, 2021, the CPA was contacted by members as well as CAPR, informing the Association that the exam had experienced a system failure and that the exam that weekend had been cancelled. CAPR later confirmed all scheduled instances of the virtual clinical component for summer 2021 were cancelled while they sought a solution for the issues with the exam platform. Click here for more.
  13. Since March 20, 2021 the CPA’s objective and position has not changed – get candidates licensed as soon as possible. An emergency meeting of the CPA and its Branches on March 20, 2021 resulted in the March 21st statement calling for the suspension of the clinical component of the PCE and the return of candidate fees. This statement was the result of a collaborative meeting of CPA Board, Staff, Branches and the Branch Presidents.
  14. Many Colleges responded (see below) to CPA’s statement, suggesting that the suspension of the clinical component of the PCE was not possible without changing legislation. As well, at meetings of the National Physiotherapy Advisory Group, alternatives to the PCE were tabled that were not considered as the Colleges and CAPR sought to learn more about what went wrong with the virtual exam and explore retrying to deliver the PCE in a virtual format as the “fastest solution”.
  15. Between March and June 2021, CPA issued a number of statements (see below), counselled with hundreds of members and hired a multitude of experts to inform and equip the organization’s actions, as well as advocate on behalf of candidates.
  16. Since CPA’s last statement in June 2021 – where CPA continued to advocate with new CAPR President, Denis Pelletier for a timely, national solution to the delays to licensure – the CPA has done the following:
    1. Continued dialogue and advocacy directly with CAPR on the next attempt to deliver the virtual version of the clinical component of the PCE – the first instance is scheduled for September 8, 2021.
    2. Revived our Facebook Space Exchange for candidates who require clinic space for the exams beginning on September 8, 2021.
    3. Continued to engage with our membership and candidates and take a detailed look at the resources they have provided, including a number of the Non-CPA Updates and Resources listed below: impact statements, surveys, peer-reviewed research, etc. In addition, the CPA has engaged third-party experts to review these pieces, as well as sought responses from CAPR and other stakeholders, on the evidence and sentiments shared in each of these resources.
    4. Hired PR and Communications firm McMillan Vantage who have: had interviews with candidates, had interviews with relevant stakeholders (Branches, members of NPAG, etc), compiled a situation analysis, developed communications and advocacy plans, counseled with the CPA Staff and Board of Directors and more.
    5. In addition to the Communications work, McMillan Vantage has facilitated 2 (with one upcoming) Branch consultation sessions with the lead staff and President of each Branch able to share perspectives, consider options and provide feedback on future advocacy issues related to the PCE.
    6. Hired Proof Strategies Advocacy firm to co-lead (with McMillan Vantage) the development of CPA’s ongoing PCE advocacy and chart out the path to a long-term discussion on the PCE including the engagement of government officials and detailed review of presented evidence.
    7. Hired ACE (a research firm) who have: completed clinic owner interviews to understand the market impact of the delays of the PCE, completed a targeted scan of national and international physiotherapy groups to understand exam issues, executed a rapid review survey to understand the market impact of the delays of the PCE and COVID-19 on access to physiotherapy.
    8. Hired policy and legal experts from Gowlings to recommend regulatory and policy solutions to legislative barriers to outright suspension of the PCE and consider the legal implications of the delays.
    9. Leveraged experts from many of the firms listed above to develop a clearer understanding of labour mobility and the impact of the clinical component delays, alternative measures in differing provinces, and access to services in light of the pandemic on access to physiotherapy in Canada.

The CPA has been very busy since June 2021’s statement, where we heard from candidates directly that they wanted more than statements from the CPA, they wanted action. We took that sentiment and feedback very seriously.

We have a number of plans in the works to leverage all of the information collected above, our stakeholder relationships, and our role in a self-regulated profession, to drive this issue forward to both an immediate and long-term resolution. The CPA, out of the utmost respect for candidates who are preparing to take the exam starting in September, has not made a statement about these ongoing efforts, to give candidates the chance, without distractions, to prepare for September’s virtual session. With that said, our efforts have not stopped and our commitment and position have not waivered – we know that right now the fastest path to licensure is through a successful virtual PCE in September 2021 and beyond. With that said, our long-term objective has matured, and the CPA plans on sharing more details in fall of 2021 on how we’re using the efforts outlined above, and a clear, demonstrable plan of action, to provide leadership and ensure all relevant voices are considered in the review of the relevance, validity and future of the PCE.