International medical graduates can take advantage of Practice-Ready Assessment that is consistent and comparable across the country.
Beginning January 1, 2018, a fee will be introduced to support the ongoing work and ensure sustainability of the Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA) initiative. PRA is a pathway to practice in Canada that involves examinations and an over-time (up to three months) clinical assessment. This pathway determines whether internationally trained physicians (IMGs) are safe and competent to practice in Canada.
The beginning of 2018 marks a milestone for PRA. That’s the date a six-year project to develop a model with a set of common standards, tools and materials for PRA programs across the country comes to an end, and the initiative becomes operational. This initiative ensures that all PRA programs operate in a comparable manner across provinces and territories.
The project has met several important goals. These include tools and a training program for clinical assessors, rigorous selection assessments, an online orientation portal for candidates focusing on communication and cultural competence, and a research agenda.
The development phase of pan-Canadian PRA has been funded by Health Canada and the Medical Council of Canada. As well, many other organizations have donated their time and effort to the project, including provincial/territorial PRA programs, certification colleges, medical regulatory authorities and ministries of health. But the funding comes to an end with the wind-up of this phase.
However, there will still be costs for the pan-Canadian program to:
The Committee that oversees the program decided to cover these costs on a “user-pay” basis. In setting the fee, the Committee looked at other professions such as nursing and engineering, in which candidates pay fees for in-practice assessments. As well, they looked at exam and assessment fees paid by Canadian medical graduates, which are at a similar level.
The fee will be incurred whenever a candidate enters the PRA clinical over-time assessment period.
These measures were adopted to help programs be flexible, to accommodate differences among programs and to make the fee fair to candidates. The program has been developed to be economically sustainable and will continue to evolve to meet jurisdictional needs on an ongoing basis. Candidates’ fees will help maintain a strong, comparable pan-Canadian PRA process that helps high-quality candidates move into practice.
For more information about the benefits of pan-Canadian PRA to IMGs, regulatory authorities, and patients, see the video “What is NAC PRA?”