In the short time that continuing competence programs have been in existence, health regulators’ understanding of different programming strategies has changed.

Physiotherapy Alberta’s Continuing Competence Program, in its current design, has been in place since 2011.  We’ve learned a lot during the last six years. Council has had numerous conversations about the future of the program, we held an Imagineering Event last fall (as the name suggests to “Imagine” what our Program can and should be), and most recently conducted a survey to collect data from members about their experience with the current Program. All this work and data led to Council’s decision to modernize the Program by increasing the range of options for members to demonstrate competence and incorporating emerging evidence on risks and supports to competent practice in health professionals.

While the Program is being re-designed from top to bottom, some of it will seem familiar as we are recycling some strategies from the existing Program that work.

All members on the General Register must continue to participate in the current Program activities (Reflective Practice Review and Jurisprudence) until the new Program is launched which we anticipate to be October 2018.

Physiotherapy Alberta recognizes that competent, quality practice requires a partnership between itself and member physiotherapists. We cannot re-design the Continuing Competence Program without input from members. Re-designing the Program will take several months and will be done in stages. This webpage is dedicated to keeping physiotherapists informed of the Program re-design and gathering feedback on the proposed changes as they unfold.

Visit this webpage often. The timeline below outlines when information will be added to the website and when we will be asking for member feedback. Because of the compressed timeline, to launch the Monitoring and Development component in October 2018, sometimes there may be short timelines for member feedback, but never less than 30 days.

Program elements form the foundation of a program. Not only do they guide program development, they are also the yardstick used when an organization wants to evaluate what it did and why. Council has developed the following elements to guide the Continuing Competence Program’s re-design.

Program Philosophy: vision for the Program

The Continuing Competence Program promotes, supports and monitors the delivery of quality physiotherapy practice by mitigating risks and supporting healthy physiotherapist practice.

Assumptions about our member Physiotherapists: beliefs ‘assumed’ to be true in the future

  • Physiotherapists are self-directed, motivated adult learners.
  • Physiotherapists can self-monitor and participate in activities to support healthy, competent practice.
  • Physiotherapists continually seek out current evidence to evolve practice and improve the quality of their practice.
  • Physiotherapists should use results from both self and externally administered assessments to evolve and improve practice.
  • Physiotherapists should strive to achieve improvements in their individual professional skills but also in patient care and practice environments.
  • Physiotherapists are accountable for participating in continuing competence reporting and assessment activities to Physiotherapy Alberta.
  • Physiotherapists are expected to evolve their practice competence though ongoing learning and participation in activities that assure competence.

Assumptions about Physiotherapy Alberta: beliefs ‘assumed’ to be true in the future

  • Physiotherapy Alberta is expected to regulate their members in the public interest.
  • Competence is multifaceted and multidimensional and therefore no one Continuing Competence Programming strategy alone is sufficient to ensure all domains of professional competence are addressed.
  • Physiotherapy Alberta must work with a broad number of stakeholders including other regulators, employers, educators, government and member physiotherapists to ensure quality and competent physiotherapy practice.
  • There is shared responsibility for competent professional practice between member physiotherapists and Physiotherapy Alberta.
  • Standards, competency profiles and external criteria are important benchmarks for quality physiotherapist practice and physiotherapy service delivery.
  • Physiotherapy Alberta leads in being a knowledge creator and curator about Alberta physiotherapy practice standards, rules and regulations and physiotherapy best practices.
  • The Continuing Competence program should be applicable to all physiotherapists regardless of geographical location and job role.
  • The Continuing Competence Program should support quality practice across the continuum of a physiotherapist’s career, monitor risks and assess competencies and practice.
  • Quality is demonstrated through safe, effective and ethical practice.

Guiding Principles: norms, rules and values that help guide the development of the Continuing Competence Program

  • Quality Focused - designed to mitigate risks to competent physiotherapist practice and to support physiotherapists’ healthy practice and healthy physiotherapy practice environments. Supports improvements in practitioner knowledge, patient care and health systems.
  • Flexible – provides a variety of choices and evidence-informed tools to meet the needs of Physiotherapy Alberta and physiotherapists working in diverse practice areas and settings.
  • Streamlined - expectations are clearly laid out and communicated using a variety of strategies to enable physiotherapist accountability for meeting requirements.
  • Standards and Evidence-Informed – acknowledges that standards of practice, competencies and emerging evidence are pillars to quality patient practice. Relies on data to inform program improvements.
  • Educational and Practice Relevant – assists physiotherapists to self-monitor, learn and enhance their individual competence and professional practice. Provides evidence-informed tools to ensure physiotherapist competence and the provision of safe and effective care.
  • Integrated – program strategies are designed to complement and build upon Physiotherapy Alberta’s quality initiatives, its regulatory objectives and other quality practice initiatives physiotherapists undertake in their professional workplaces and spaces.
  • Responsible – administratively feasible while meeting legislative requirements. Engages physiotherapists in program development and evaluation.

Program Design Features: features built into the Continuing Competence Program

  • Focuses on practice risks and supports and their relationships to healthy competent physiotherapist practice.
  • Involves multiple strategies to meet a variety of purposes.
  • Provides a menu of choices to provide for the self-monitoring and assessment of practice.
  • Builds upon strategies members currently use to enhance competence.
  • Integrates workplace learning strategies and practice improvement activities of Physiotherapy Alberta’s and member physiotherapists.
  • Includes competence and workplace assessments from external parties.
  • Is administratively feasible.
  • Utilizes change management strategies to support physiotherapists’ understanding of and compliance with the program.

Program Purpose/Goal – a statement outlining the intent of the Program which realistically addresses the ideal state

The Continuing Competence Program monitors and supports the delivery of quality, safe, effective, and ethical physiotherapy services by competent physiotherapists by focusing on practice risks and supports.

Click here to provide feedback on the Program Elements.
Deadline date for feedback is August 15, 2017.

The new Program will have three main components. Monitoring & Development, Assessment and Performance Verification. Council has approved the model in principle and over the next three years each component will be fully developed. We are working on the Monitoring & Development component first as this will replace our current Reflective Practice Review, and will be implemented in October 2018.

Once Monitoring & Development is launched, Council and staff will focus their attention on the Assessment and Performance Verification components. We expect it will be spring of 2019 before we will have any design details on these two components for member feedback; until then the only information we can share with members is the component concept.

Continuing Competence Program Re-design 2017 – 2020


Monitoring & Development [replaces and recycles reflective practice review]

  • Members will participate in College-led and self-led activities associated with competent quality practice.
  • Annual activity with reporting requirements.
  • Audit of submissions.
  • Applies to all members on the General Register.

Assessment [ in past Jurisprudence and Reflective Practice Records audit were included here]

  • Assessment screen for the Performance Verification component.
  • Periodic activity.
  • Selection criteria to be determined.

Performance Verification [recycles Practice Visits]

  • Concept may be subject to change.
  • Assesses performance in relation to practice context.
  • Periodic activity – less frequent than Assessment and limited to fewer physiotherapists.
  • Remediation will be supportive, educational and improvement focused.

Click here to provide feedback on the Program components.
Deadline date for feedback is August 15, 2017.


In developing the Monitoring & Development component the following principles were considered:


  • Strives to incorporate existing strategies physiotherapists use to improve their practice including workplace projects and experiential learning (i.e. collaboration, mentoring).
  • Strives to incorporate Physiotherapy Alberta’s quality improvement projects.


  • Increases the range of approved activities and choices for members to meet program requirements.


  • Incorporates research evidence showing which activities support competent practice and areas of risks.
  • Incorporates results from the 2017 Member Survey showing, in addition to completing the jurisprudence exam, patient care reflection and formal learning goal, other activities physiotherapists find valuable for improving their competence.

Educational and Practice Relevant

  • Strives to find a balance between encouraging participation in member-led, self-directed practice improvement activities and requiring participation in College-led prescribed quality improvement activities.

Key Points about the Monitoring & Development Component

Only the concept is presented. The types and number of activities to be completed each year will be further defined by Council in September and member feedback sought from September 15 to November 3, 2017.

  • Annual Activity
  • Combines College-led and member-led activities
  • Combines elements of performance or practice assessment and practice enhancement
  • Two categories divided into 4 buckets of activities
  • Physiotherapists on the General Register must participate in a range of self-led and College-led activities identified as contributing to competence
  • Activities listed are examples—in September Council will discuss specifics of the activities in the four buckets.


Click here to provide feedback on the Monitoring & Development Concept.
Deadline date for feedback is August 15, 2017.

The types and number of activities to be completed each year will be further defined by Council in September and member feedback sought from September 15 to November 3, 2017.

What does annual reporting to Physiotherapy Alberta look like? Council will discuss at their September meeting and member feedback sought from September 15 to November 3, 2017.

Program rules set out the policies for the program. Each component will have its own set of rules. The Health Professions Act and Physical Therapist Professions Regulations require that Council approve program rules for the Continuing Competence Program.

Council will discuss at their November 2017 meeting and member input sought from December to February 9, 2018.

Physiotherapy Alberta will conduct a records review to ensure compliance with the Monitoring and Development requirement. Council will discuss at their November 2017 meeting and member input sought from December to February 9, 2018.

The concept for the Assessment Component is as follows:

  • Assessment screen for the Performance Verification component
  • Periodic activity
  • Selection criteria to be determined

The assessment component will be developed in 2019 and member input sought at that time.

The concept for the Performance Verification Component is as follows:

  • Assesses performance in relation to practice context.
  • Periodic activity – less frequent than Assessment and limited to fewer physiotherapists.
  • Remediation will be supportive, educational and improvement focused.

The Performance Verification component will be developed in 2019 and member input sought at that time.