Physiotherapy Alberta was notified on Saturday, March 20, 2021, that due to significant technical challenges, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) was forced to cancel the clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam, scheduled on March 20th and 21st, 2021.

We acknowledge the burden that the cancellation puts upon candidates who have invested their time, energy, and effort to prepare for this day. We also recognize that examination candidates want answers and our focus in the coming days will be working towards a solution with CAPR to resolve this issue.

On the afternoon of September 14, 2021, Physiotherapy Alberta was notified that the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators Board of Directors directed the CAPR staff to cancel the virtual clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) due to ongoing challenges with its administration. The CAPR Board has directed CAPR staff to focus on the written examination and on getting back to delivering a face-to-face clinical component of the PCE. The CAPR announcement did not include a timeline for when candidates can expect a resumption of face-to-face clinical examination components.   

Click here to read more.

In response to the ongoing disruption in the delivery of the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) administered by the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR), Physiotherapy Alberta’s Council has explored options for an alternate clinical competency examination.

At their May 10th meeting, the Council of Physiotherapy Alberta approved the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation as the temporary alternate clinical competency examination to fulfill the registration requirements established by Section 3(C) of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, for individuals who meet the eligibility criteria established by Council.

Physiotherapy Alberta will be contracting the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Continuing Professional Education Unit of the University of Alberta (the CPE Unit) to administer this alternate examination.

The CPE Unit will administer an Objective Structured Clinical Examination to candidates who meet the eligibility criteria. The examination will:

  • Be an in-person, hands-on clinical examination.
  • Include content domains based on the CAPR PCE examination blueprint.
  • Consist of 12 stations that will be assessed by a global rating of pass/fail and incorporate safety and professionalism flags, similar to the PCE.
    • Six, 10-minute stations.
    • Six, 5-minute stations.
  • Be held on June 11th and 12th, 2021.

Successful completion of the examination will allow candidates to move from the Provisional Register to the General Register of Physiotherapy Alberta. 

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to participate in this alternate examination, candidates must have:

  1. Been on the Provisional Register on the date of March 11, 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization.
  2. Been registered on the Provisional Register for the entire period beginning March 11, 2020 and continuing until their attempt at the alternate exam.

AND

  1. Not previously attempted and failed the Clinical Component of the PCE administered by CAPR.

Exclusion Criteria

The following candidates will not be eligible to participate in this alternate examination:

  • Those who have attempted the Clinical Component of the PCE prior to the pandemic and who were unsuccessful in their attempt.
  • Those involved in a current conduct investigation of their physiotherapy practice or who have a history of a conduct investigation which resulted in an investigation and recommendations, facilitated resolution, or conduct findings. 
  • Those individuals who have exceeded the permitted two-year time-period or number of examination attempts permitted for the completion of the Clinical Component of the PCE.

Physiotherapist interns meeting the eligibility criteria will be individually contacted by Physiotherapy Alberta via direct email by May 17, 2021 with further information regarding the alternate examination, including the examination fee and how to register if they are interested in pursuing this option.

Questions regarding individual eligibility to complete the alternate examination should be directed to Physiotherapy Alberta’s Deputy Registrar, Joyce Vogelgesang (jvogelgesang@physiotherapyalberta.ca).

Important Additional Information

  • Participation in the alternate examination is voluntary.
    • Eligible candidates have the option to participate in the alternate examination process or to remain on the Provisional Register pending the future availability of the Clinical Component of the PCE offered by CAPR. Questions regarding timelines for future PCE availability should be directed to CAPR.
    • Physiotherapy Alberta will extend current Provisional Register practice permits should a candidate choose to wait for their first opportunity to register for and complete the clinical component of the PCE. 
  • The examination will be offered on the dates of June 11th and 12th with candidates attending the examination on one of the two dates.
    • Candidates are advised that they will be assigned an examination day by the CPE Unit, after registration closes.
    • If a candidate chooses to pursue this option, they must be available on both June 11th and 12th, 2021. It is recommended that candidates make the necessary arrangements with their employers now, in preparation for the examination.
    • The examination will be offered in-person, at the University of Alberta HSERC facility.
    • Candidates are responsible for all travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
    • There is currently no plan for a second administration of the alternate examination.
  • The alternate examination is being offered on a cost-recovery basis.
    • The fee for completion is currently being finalized. This information will be included in the email to eligible candidates.
    • A candidate will secure their spot in the examination upon registering and submitting payment of the examination fee in full.
    • Refunds will only be considered for individuals who provide medical documentation or evidence of extenuating circumstances that prevent them from attending the examination at their scheduled date and time.

COVID-19 Indemnity

Participation in the alternate examination is not without risk. Candidates registering for the alternate examination agree to the following:

  • This is not a virtual examination. The examination will involve contact with standardized patients, examiners, and examination administrators.
  • As administrator of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation, the CPE Unit has the authority to determine the public health measures required to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the examination environment. Candidates must agree to follow all COVID-19 public health measures deemed necessary by the University of Alberta.
  • Failure to comply with COVID-19 measures will result in the cancellation of the candidate’s examination and their immediate removal from the examination center. No refund will be issued. 
  • If a candidate should become exposed to or ill with COVID-19 as a consequence to their participation in the alternate examination, and despite the implementation of public health measures by the CPE Unit, neither the University of Alberta, nor Physiotherapy Alberta shall be responsible for any subsequent losses, illness, or loss of life.

Labour Mobility

In the absence of a national examination administered by CAPR, each Canadian jurisdiction has been left to determine the registration requirements for affected candidates in their jurisdiction. Every province is bound by its own provincial legislation and Physiotherapy Alberta cannot control registration decisions elsewhere. 

Candidates must understand that should they choose to complete the Alberta alternate examination this may impact their ability to move to another Canadian jurisdiction in the future. It remains to be seen if other jurisdictions will accept this alternate examination should successful candidates seek registration in a different Canadian jurisdiction at some future date. It is possible that other jurisdictions may attempt to impose barriers to labour mobility should an individual seek registration in that jurisdiction subsequent to their successful completion of the alternate examination in Alberta.

Physiotherapy Alberta does not believe that there are legitimate labour mobility issues created by the implementation of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation; however, other provinces may take a different position. This is a risk that candidates must be willing to accept if they choose to register for the alternate examination.

Physiotherapy Alberta is offering this alternate examination on a voluntary basis to address ongoing delays to the Clinical Component of the PCE; however, candidates will need to decide if this is the best option available to them. Physiotherapy Alberta is not responsible for future labour mobility barriers that may result from a candidate’s participation in the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation.

What can the broader physiotherapy community do to help?

The ongoing PCE delays have been a burden not only for candidates, but also for their employers and supervisors. As Physiotherapy Alberta pivots to enable an alternate examination process, administered by the CPE Unit, the broader physiotherapy community can help.

Employers and supervisors can provide practical assistance to candidates opting to take this examination, by providing support to study as they are able.

Physiotherapists who have helped the University of Alberta Physiotherapy Department or CPE Unit in the past with program related OSCEs, either as examiners or standardized patients, should anticipate that the CPE Unit will need their assistance now. We encourage all physiotherapists on the General Register to consider how they can aid in this process.

The College continues to support the Physiotherapy Competency Examination process administered by CAPR to evaluate entry-to-practice competence.We will continue to work with our partners across the country to ensure the CAPR clinical component examination can be administered safely and consistently in the future.

Click here for FAQs related to the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation.

Why did Physiotherapy Alberta choose to offer the examination in June?

Access to the HSERC building and the standardized patients required to administer OSCE-style examinations is in high demand. The CPE Unit was able to secure the facilities and resources needed to administer the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation in June.

This was the option available to us.

Physiotherapy Alberta has heard from many PCE candidates who are frustrated by the long delays to completion of the Clinical Component of the PCE and calls for Physiotherapy Alberta to act urgently to address the issue. Identifying an alternate examination is a complex process that requires coordination, collaboration, and time. We accepted the first examination dates available to us subsequent to the identification of an alternate examination plan, in order to address these calls for urgent action.

How can the CPE Unit develop a reliable and valid examination in only a month?

While we understand where this question stems from, the fact of the matter is that the CPE Unit is not developing an examination in a month. For over a decade, the CPE Unit has offered an OSCE-style examination that closely follows the examination blueprint and format of the PCE in terms of question design and length. The OSCE developed by the CPE Unit was specifically developed to approximate the PCE for internationally educated physiotherapists enrolled in the University of Alberta’s Bridging to Canadian Physical Therapy Practice Graduate Certificate, to aid their preparation for the PCE.

Universities are in the business of educating and assessing learning. The assessments within the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine educational programming are evaluated consistently through a number of processes such as exam analysis and cohort performance over time to ensure assessments are valid and reliable. This differs from the CAPR analysis as CAPR runs a large volume exam on limited dates which requires a different type of process, specific to that exam format.

As Physiotherapy Alberta has previously stated, we do not believe that the alternate examination is a replacement for the PCE under normal circumstances, due to the psychometric properties, reliability, and validity of the PCE. However, under the current circumstances, and with regards to the candidates who are eligible to take the alternate examination, we believe that the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation can serve as a suitable, objective, valid and reliable alternate to the PCE.

With all the challenges and cancellations that the PCE has faced over the past year, how can candidates be assured that this examination will go forward?

If the past year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. We know that candidates have faced considerable uncertainty and disruption when it comes to the examination process and understand that their faith in an examination coming to fruition has been shaken. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but we are confident in our ability to proceed with the examination at this time due to the following:

  • The University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine has been able to offer in-person labs and practical skills examinations without incident since August 2020, through special permission from the Provost’s Office.
  • This has included the ability to offer programming through the Continuing Professional Education Unit, and the ability to complete several OSCE format exams with Covid requirements.
  • The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine has robust policies and procedures in place to enable in-person instruction and examination. These policies and procedures are based upon Physiotherapy Alberta’s Guidance for Resuming Physiotherapy Practice During a Pandemic, CMOH Orders and Alberta Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Post-Secondary Institutions.  
  • As Jason Kenney stated on May 17, 2021, although Alberta is still in a third wave of the pandemic, Alberta’s “case numbers have stabilized, and our transmission rate is slowing down.” Premier Kenney also highlighted that vaccination rates are rising, and it is anticipated that 50% of the population will be vaccinated by May 18, 2021. All of which will be key enablers to the ability to offer the examination.

However, there are, admittedly, risks to proceeding with the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation. Despite these enablers and positive signs, there is still the risk that the COVID-19 situation in Alberta could change for the worse and that the examination would need to be cancelled. We do not view this as likely, but it is possible.

There is no risk-free option. Individuals will need to weigh these risks for themselves to determine the best examination option for their unique circumstances.

Why did Physiotherapy Alberta choose the eligibility criteria identified?

Since they began considering options for an alternative clinical competency examination, Council’s priority has been to identify an objective, valid and reliable assessment tool for an alternative examination process for those candidates who are currently registered and have been waiting for the clinical examination the longest. Those eligible for the alternate examination have not had the opportunity to attempt the Clinical Component PCE administered by CAPR and have now practiced continuously under supervision in Alberta for 18 months, without incident. Physiotherapy Alberta views this as an important and valid piece of evidence to consider.

The inclusion criteria allow Physiotherapy Alberta to be reasonably assured that a balance is struck between the public interest and the need to allow competent, duly qualified individuals who have practiced without incident to enter the General Register during an unprecedented time of disruption to our usual registration processes.

When establishing the exclusion criteria, Council’s perspective was that it is appropriate that individuals who have been unsuccessful on a prior attempt at the Clinical Component of the PCE be assessed with the same, psychometrically sound, and rigorous examination tool on subsequent attempts.

Finally, Council considered the implications of allowing a candidate with a current conduct investigation or history of a conduct investigation which resulted in an investigation and recommendations, facilitated resolution, or conduct findings to complete the alternate examination, and the impact such a decision would have on public confidence that the College had fulfilled its duty to protect the public. 

What measures will be in place to keep candidates participating in the alternate examination safe from COVID-19?

As part of their discussions, the Council of Physiotherapy Alberta carefully considered the wisdom, safety, and practicality of offering an in-person examination during a pandemic. As part of their deliberations, they considered Physiotherapy Alberta’s capacity to offer a virtual examination when other larger organizations had not been successful in their attempts.

Council also considered the fact that all regulated physiotherapists providing direct patient care became eligible for vaccination on April 12, 2021, and that all Albertans aged 12 and over have been eligible for vaccination since May 10, 2021. As such, candidates, examiners and most, if not all, standardized patients will have been eligible to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination for several weeks prior to the examination date.

Candidates, and many examiners and standardized patients are also physiotherapists who have been providing direct patient care safely with enhanced IPC and PPE measures in place since May of 2020.  Physiotherapy Alberta is confident that candidates and others involved in the examination process understand how crucial these measures are and are willing and able to adhere to these measures in the alternate examination environment.

As administrator of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluationthe Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Continuing Professional Education Unit of the University of Alberta (the CPE Unit) has the authority to determine the public health measures required to mitigate against the risk of COVID-19 exposure in the examination environment. Such measures will include:

  • Use of PPE
  • Routine and vigorous hand hygiene
  • Screening of candidates, examiners, and standardized patients for symptoms of or risks for COVID-19 prior to their admittance to the examination site
  • Cleaning and disinfecting examination stations between candidates
  • Limiting exam station duration to 5 or 10 minutes
  • Using the larger examination rooms available within HSERC to allow for greater physical distancing between candidates, examiners and standardized patients
  • Any other measures deemed necessary to address the risk of COVID-19 and public health orders in effect at the time of the examination

Physiotherapy Alberta and the CPE Unit also advise candidates that although the examination will be an in-person, hands-on examination, candidates will be instructed to limit their direct patient contact to that which is necessary for the task being assessed by an examination station, and to maintain physical distancing at times when skill assessment permits.

How are candidates supposed to study given current restrictions related to in-person gatherings?

We acknowledge that this is potentially a barrier, particularly for those who live alone and do not have family or roommates to practice their skills on. However, we note that most eligible candidates are actively working under supervision, meaning that they have access to patients on a daily basis on whom they have the opportunity to practice and refine their non-technical skills and technical skills related to their area of practice. We also note that within the practice setting, individuals are able to meet and study with colleagues, practicing their entry-to-practice technical skills in areas unrelated to their current practice area, provided that PPE and rigorous hand hygiene are in use.

Assisting with exam preparation is one way that supervisors and employers are encouraged to assist candidates opting to take the exam.

Physiotherapy Alberta has also heard from candidates who have raised concerns about the change from preparing for the virtual examination offered by CAPR in March to the in-person examination offered by the CPE Unit. Given that candidates have spent their academic training practicing their skills in-person on their peers, and that most, if not all candidates, are currently providing in-person care to patients, we do not anticipate that candidates will have significant difficulty preparing for an in-person examination.

However, candidates who find these barriers insurmountable may wish to wait to complete the PCE at a later date, as is their choice.

How will pass/fail be determined?

Stations will be scored on a pass/fail basis, with safety and professionalism concerns factored into the global rating of each station. A candidate must pass 8 of 12 stations in order to pass the examination. If a candidate fails more than 4 stations, they will have been deemed to have failed the examination.

What happens if I fail the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation?

A candidate who passes the examination is deemed eligible to be admitted to the General Register. When Physiotherapy Alberta receives the examination results from the CPE Unit, we will follow our usual registration processes to add successful candidates to the General Register.

If a candidate fails the examination, there are two considerations:

Future clinical competency examination

The candidate returns to the PCE clinical component process. A failure on the alternate examination does not have any impact on CAPR’s processes and rules, including the number of PCE examination attempts a candidate is allowed. The candidate will still have 3 PCE examination attempts.

Registration on the Provisional Register

If a candidate fails the alternate examination, they will remain on the Provisional Register and continue with the PCE clinical component.

The failed attempt at the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation will be counted as one examination attempt for the purpose of administering Section 7(3) of the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, which states “If an applicant fails the examination referred to in section 3(c) a second time, the applicant’s registration is cancelled.”

If a candidate fails one attempt of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation and one attempt of the PCE Clinical Component, the candidate will then have two unsuccessful attempts and will not be eligible to remain on the Provisional Register while completing their next attempt(s) at the PCE. 

How does participating in the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation influence a candidate’s standing with CAPR and their future ability to take the PCE?

From Physiotherapy Alberta’s perspective, a candidate’s decision to pursue the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation should not have any affect upon their standing with CAPR and their “place in line” to complete the PCE. Indeed, a candidate’s examination registration status and the information collected at the time of their registration for the examination is categorized as private information and is subject to the provisions of the Personal Information Protection Act.

In accordance with PIPA, Physiotherapy Alberta will not be releasing the private information collected at the time of registration for the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation to any party other than those contracted to administer the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation, specifically the University of Alberta Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine Continuing Professional Education Unit.

CAPR would not be aware of the candidate’s decision to pursue the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation unless the candidate disclosed this information to CAPR.

When can I expect to know my results from the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation?

 The University of Alberta has advised that they anticipate having results to candidates and to Physiotherapy Alberta within 2 weeks of the examination.

How did Physiotherapy Alberta set the fee for the examination?

The fee for the examination has been set at $750.

Physiotherapy Alberta is committed to offering the examination on a cost-recovery basis. We are not seeking to generate a profit from the administration of the alternate examination. Unlike established examinations, we do not have historical data regarding costs to draw from. As such, we are taking a conservative approach to fee setting, to attempt to mitigate the risk to the organization and to our broader base of regulated members while also seeking to be fair to candidates.

What is labour mobility and why does it matter?

The Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) is an intergovernmental trade agreement signed by all federal, provincial, and territorial governments. Its objective is “to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada and to establish an open, efficient, and stable domestic market”. Chapter 7 of the CFTA addresses labour mobility and aims to enable any worker regulated in one province or territory to become regulated in another province or territory.

Historically, the PCE administered by CAPR has served as an important enabler of labour mobility as all Canadian jurisdictions other than the province of Quebec have adopted the PCE as one of their registration requirements. With the use of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation, Physiotherapy Alberta’s registration requirements will differ from our historical registration requirements and from those employed in other jurisdictions. As such, other jurisdictions may seek to impose barriers to labour mobility for those individuals who wish to gain admittance to the General Register in another jurisdiction through this process. For example, a physiotherapy regulator in another jurisdiction may attempt to argue that there is a material deficiency in skill, area of knowledge or ability of affected individuals.

We do not believe that there are legitimate labour mobility issues; however, this is a risk that candidates must be willing to accept if they choose to apply to complete the Alternate Clinical Examination administered by the CPE Unit. 

Physiotherapy Alberta is required to ensure our registration practices are consistent with the CFTA and accept "permit on permit" recognition where there are no material deficiencies in scope, competencies, and level of independent practice between registration categories between provinces.

Beyond labour mobility, how else might my choice to complete the alternate examination affect my career?

Physiotherapy Alberta’s government mandated role is to determine if a candidate meets the requirements for admission to the General Register and to register qualified, competent physiotherapists. Information is collected through the application process to determine a candidate’s eligibility for admission to the General Register. Section 119 of the Health Professions Act specifies the information that may be disclosed to the public, and this does not include the examination completed.

Our experience is that at the time of hire, employers will confirm that an individual is registered with Physiotherapy Alberta, and which register they are admitted to. Successful completion of the Post-Graduate 2021 Clinical Evaluation will mean that a candidate is eligible to be admitted to the General Register. This may affect their employability in certain sectors and practice settings, and their ability to pursue some continuing education opportunities.

The relevant regulatory consideration is whether you are registered. Physiotherapy Alberta manages that process as this is our government mandated role.

Why doesn’t Physiotherapy Alberta permanently adopt this alternate examination for Alberta Provisional Registrants?

The College has developed this alternate examination specifically to address the needs of qualifying PCE candidates who have been on the Provisional Register for the last 18 months. This is an option available to those who do not wish to wait for their first opportunity to register for and complete the Clinical Component of the PCE.

However, the College continues to support the PCE process administered by CAPR to evaluate entry-to-practice competence. The PCE is the gold standard for entry to practice assessment for physiotherapist interns due to its reliability and validity. As already noted, the PCE is a key enabler of labour mobility for physiotherapists in Canada.

No single Canadian jurisdiction has the resources and capacity to develop and administer an examination comparable to the PCE on its own.

Although Council has heard requests that the PCE, both written and clinical be abolished, and that Physiotherapy Alberta develop a permanent alternative to the PCE, this is not an action that would be taken lightly. Council has committed to reviewing Physiotherapy Alberta’s registration requirements in the future, once current, pressing issues have been addressed.

We will continue to work with our partners across the country to ensure the CAPR clinical component examination can be administered safely and consistently in the future.

Subsequent to the cancellation of the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination on March 20, 2021, Physiotherapy Alberta has been exploring options for an alternative clinical competency examination. Consistent with the Physical Therapists Profession Regulation, any option identified must be approved by the Council of Physiotherapy Alberta.

Council’s priority is to identify an objective, valid and reliable assessment tool for an alternative examination process. Council is engaged in thoughtful consideration of what any decision might mean to the public and to candidates, which means we are unable to rush to a final decision. Council held a meeting on April 11, 2021 to discuss options at which time it was determined that further information was required before making a decision. Council will be scheduling a meeting in the coming days to continue their discussion.   

Physiotherapy Alberta has met with the Government of Alberta many times over the past month. We have been asked to consider the labor mobility implications of any alternative examination process explored. We have also been encouraged to seek alignment with other jurisdictions that may also be exploring alternatives. Such alignment minimizes labor mobility barriers in the future and allows other provinces to have confidence that registration requirements in Alberta are developed with the public interest first.

We acknowledge the affect exam cancellations continue to have on candidates who have invested time, energy, and effort to prepare for the exams, and the frustration caused by ongoing uncertainty around future options. We acknowledge candidates want answers.

Unfortunately, identifying an alternative examination is a complex process that requires communication, coordination and collaboration with government, physiotherapy regulators from other provinces, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) and other stakeholders, all of which requires time. Identifying and adopting an objective, valid and reliable examination is a major undertaking under any circumstance. 

We have heard from many candidates with questions about the eligibility requirements for an alternative examination. When Council met in April, they were reasonably confident that an alternate examination could be identified for those individuals who have been on the provisional register since March of 2020 and have not failed the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination. Therefore, this is Physiotherapy Alberta’s current focus. Physiotherapy Alberta remains committed to sharing information with PCE candidates as it becomes available. 

In response to COVID-19 and disruptions to the clinical exam, Physiotherapy Alberta has extended all Provisional Register practice permits to the end of the current registration year. Physiotherapy Alberta will continue to extend provisional register practice permits until the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination is available, should candidates not be eligible or choose not to complete the alternate clinical exam. 

We encourage you to check the website for updates as this is the most efficient means for us to update interested parties. 

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 the governing Council of Physiotherapy Alberta held an emergency meeting to discuss the ongoing unavailability of the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE) and potential strategies to address the registration delays registrants on Physiotherapy Alberta’s Provisional Register have experienced as a result.

Click here to read more.

Over the past 72 hours Physiotherapy Alberta staff and Council have received hundreds of calls, emails, and social media messages regarding the cancellation of the clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competence Examination. We recognize that emotions are running high and have empathy for those who have been affected by the cancellation. As we stated in our previous message to registrants, we share a common goal of finding answers for provisional registrants. We are committed to finding a resolution to this ongoing problem, one which also addresses the regulatory requirements established by our government mandate.

The volume of messages received has exceeded our capacity to respond to each person individually. Please know that we have read every email, listened to every voice message, and reviewed every social media post.

Click here to read the entire statement.

  1. What happened on March 20th that caused the cancellation of the clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination (PCE)?
  2. Why can’t we toss the clinical exam requirement?
  3. What about the physiotherapist interns who have been unable to practice, and all those COVID patients who need physiotherapy care?
  4. Why isn’t Physiotherapy Alberta advocating on behalf of the PCE candidates?
  5.  Why hasn’t Physiotherapy Alberta complied with the CPA’s demands that the clinical exam requirement be set aside?
  6. But isn’t Physiotherapy Alberta a branch of the CPA and an association?
  7. This is the third incident involving the examination process. What is being done to overcome the ongoing challenge?
  8. CAPR has demonstrated that they are not competent. Why are you still working with them?
  9. Why do we have a clinical exam requirement to begin with? Other professions don’t have a clinical exam.
  10. Is the clinical exam even valid and reliable?
  11. If the clinical examination is so important, why are you doing it virtually?
  12. Why doesn’t Physiotherapy Alberta develop its own exam to meet the needs of University of Alberta graduates and local PCE candidates?
  13. Why doesn’t Physiotherapy Alberta trust the results from the University of Alberta’s own end of program Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), the University of Alberta is an accredited program, isn’t it?
  14. Why can’t my supervised practice hours count towards meeting registration requirements? Why can’t my supervisor vouch for me and "grandfather"/legacy me in?
  15. But I have had to take time off to study and have lost earnings because of my ongoing status as a Physiotherapist Intern.
  16. Will information be sent to current supervising physiotherapists and employers about this current situation?
  17. What would happen if I just didn’t bother to finish the examination process?

Click here to read more

In this episode, Jody and Leanne are joined by Joyce Vogelgesang, Deputy Registrar and long-time staff member of Physiotherapy Alberta, to discuss the history of how we came to be both College and Association, some common misconceptions about our history and role, and our primary mandate to serve the public interest.

We go on to discuss recent legislative changes that mandate that health profession regulatory organizations may not hold themselves out to be both College and Association and may not fulfill association-type roles as part of their work. This change reflects a trend in the world of regulation to require separation between organizations that serve the public interest and those that represent the interests of the profession.

While the details of what this change will mean for Physiotherapy Alberta’s activities are still being reviewed, we know that in the future we will not operate as a dual mandate organization. Fortunately, the legislation provides for an 18-month transition period for the College to devolve itself of association functions.

Click here to listen.

Physiotherapy Alberta has always fielded questions regarding physiotherapist interns and the Provisional Register, with questions relating to everything from the requirements for becoming a Physiotherapist Intern to the ins and outs of supervision and the performance of restricted activities. In the latter half of 2020 the number of questions received increased, presumably due to the delays to the completion of the clinical component of the Physiotherapy Competency Examination due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

This episode provides answers to the most common questions Physiotherapy Alberta receives about this group of Registrants. We discuss the Swiss Cheese Model of safety, and Physiotherapy Alberta’s perspective that the Physiotherapy Competency Examination is one layer within a system designed to make sure that only competent and qualified physiotherapists are providing physiotherapy services.

As time spent in supervised practice passes, most physiotherapist interns will progress in terms of the nature and intensity of supervision that they require to practice safely, but what exactly does that mean? We discuss the differences between direct and indirect supervision and the instances where direct supervision is mandatory at the 6-minute mark of the episode.

We close with a discussion of restricted activities and the rules related to their practice by physiotherapist interns.

Click here to listen.

Physiotherapy Alberta frequently hears from our regulated members, physiotherapists from other jurisdictions, members of the public and other stakeholders with questions regarding our name and role as a dual mandate organization. This Good Practice article will highlight the organization’s history, mandate, strategic partnerships, and upcoming changes to the work that we do. The intent is to address common questions and misconceptions about the role of the organization.

Click here to read more.