Announcing the CPA’s Future of Licensure Project

To say the past two years have been a challenge for the profession of physiotherapy with respect to licensure and competency assessment would be an understatement.

Since the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s statement with respect to the first cancellation of the PCE in March 2020, to now, our position has not changed – the burden of the profession’s ineffectiveness to manage licensure through the pandemic cannot be borne by candidates. Today, the CPA is proud to announce a new initiative designed to elevate candidate perspectives and leverage their experiences alongside the perspectives and feedback of our members, to drive forward the dialogue on urgent, long-term and national solutions to the issues plaguing licensure and competency assessment in physiotherapy in Canada.

In the spirit of collaboration and effectiveness, throughout this crisis, the CPA has continued to work with its Branches to develop and distinguish our unique roles in supporting the profession in addressing the licensure crisis. Together, we want to ensure the national scope and long-term future of competency assessment and licensure is tackled effectively, and the ongoing provincially-based challenges with interim licensure solutions are addressed jurisdictionally.

This critical distinction, combined with collaborative efforts and aligned objectives, has resulted in movement on all three of CPA’s most recent advocacy asks with respect to licensure and competency assessment and has driven the development of the new CPA Future of Licensure Project. 

The CPA’s Three-Asks from September 2021

In September 2021, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association released its three-point ask regarding the ongoing challenges with the administration of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) and the delays to licensure across the profession. This three-point ask was just the latest advocacy step in a long list of actions taken by the Association to support the profession in tackling this challenge since the initial cancellation of the PCE in March 2020.

The CPA’s three-asks in September 2021 were:

  1. Return candidates’ exam fees.
  2. Suspend the PCE requirement.
  3. Modernize the system.

In late January 2022, the CPA confirmed that all of its asks had begun to be addressed.

  1. Return candidates’ exam fees: Refunds were issued to candidates for the PCE by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR)
  2. Suspend the PCE requirement: CAPR discontinued the Clinical Component of the PCE forcing Colleges across the country to develop interim solutions to licensure delays.
  3. Modernize the system: CAPR announced the development of an Expert Advisory Panel a group that will support and provide recommendations to CAPR’s Evaluation Services Committee in their accelerated efforts to tackle the future of competency assessment within Canada

Through the last 6 months, as we’ve reached these key milestones, we know the results of our asks haven’t resulted in the holistic, national solution our members and the profession are demanding. Similarly, we know the interim solutions across the country are not addressing the needs of candidates still waiting for independent licensure. That’s why, as our Branches continue to work hand-in-hand with their College peers to address any short-comings of the interim solutions being tabled for candidates and resident/intern physiotherapists jurisdictionally; the CPA is eager to announce the next step in our national advocacy efforts related to licensure and competency assessment: the CPA’s Future of Licensure project.

The CPA’s Future of Licensure Project

The CPA recognizes that the future of licensure is a critical dialogue for the profession, resulting from gaps exposed through the pandemic. The time is now to demonstrate the importance of diverse thought, innovation and evidence-based decision making as we consider and implement long-term solutions that prioritize access to care for patients and increase the availability of physiotherapists.

To that end, the CPA will strike an independent, time-limited Future of Licensure Taskforce comprised of sector and candidate leadership who will serve as a conduit for members to be included in a national dialogue on physiotherapy entry to practice requirements through an inclusive stakeholder engagement exercise. The CPA will leverage the reach of its large, broad membership to prioritize the inclusion and representation of the physiotherapy community, especially candidates, in driving this conversation nationally. The Future of Licensure Taskforce will consist of diverse voices, representing perspectives and knowledge from across the physiotherapy community and the continuum of education and practice.

Fueled by environmental scans, numerous consultation opportunities for members of the profession, and their own diverse experiences, the Taskforce will help qualify and report on the experiences of the profession through the licensure crisis and will identify barriers and opportunities to achieve a national approach for the future of entry to independent practice. This project will result in the development of a report and recommendations, which will be shared with CAPR’s Expert Advisory Panel to complement their process, our provincial stakeholders that are responsible for licensure, as well as guide our ongoing discussion with our partners demonstrating the Association’s role in contributing profession-wide perspectives to the conversation about the future of licensure pathways for physiotherapy.

The intention of the CPA’s Future of Licensure project is to expand the perspectives considered in the development of a long-term solution for physiotherapy competency examination and licensure moving forward, challenge preconceived notions, examine the evidence on competency assessment and demonstrate to our members current and future, that we are taking meaningful, relevant and tangible action on the future of licensure discourse. It is critical that decisions made by the profession regarding the future of licensure recognize that a national solution that enables labour mobility and national standards of care is imperative not only to our members but also to access and health outcomes for Canadians.

What’s Next

Starting in April 2022 and spanning the next several months, the CPA will:

  • strike the Future of Licensure Taskforce,
  • offer a series of virtual consultation events to gather experiences and insights from the profession,
  • host a summer Town Hall on the topic of the future of licensure and competency assessment,
  • complete an environmental scan of best practices in competency assessment,
  • and, finalize a Future of Licensure report and recommendations.

For more information on the ongoing developments related to the CPA’s Future of Licensure project contact