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NewsReflecting on the past year and a look at the year ahead

Reflecting on the past year and a look at the year ahead

December 14, 2022

As the year ends, we wanted to reflect on the past year and provide an update on the year ahead. As we prepare for 2023, our organization is building on the opportunities that the significant disruptions of the last two years have presented and considering how our work needs to change in the current health care context.

The team at the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) closely follows discussions on the health care crisis in Canada and recognizes the increasing burden on health professionals in this country. In addition to hosting our own discussions on health care-related topics with stakeholders at the MCC Annual Meeting we are actively engaged in conversations with partners to identify solutions that could, while ensuring efficient and effective standards to safeguard patients in Canada, result in streamlined pathways to licensure for physicians.

While the MCC does not grant licences, we are working closely with the Medical Regulatory Authorities (MRAs) to understand how our expertise in assessment can enable their current and changing needs. We want to minimize redundancy between assessments, including with our partners in certification pathways. 

Working on several projects that will address issues

In line with our current strategic direction, the MCC is working on several grant-funded projects and seeking to improve access to our assessments and services for Canadian medical graduates, as well as for international medical graduates (IMGs) and internationally educated physicians.

Some of our priority projects include:

  • A review of our examination blueprint to ensure core, cultural and emerging competencies are being assessed
  • Improvements to delivery efficiency and the candidate experience of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE Part I), that shifted quickly to a remotely proctored examination in 2020
  • Adapting our Communication and Cultural Competence (CCC) program to include priority non-medical expert topics, and critical realities and perspectives that affect patients and health outcomes in Canada
  • An enhancement of the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination content to ensure it remains relevant for all assessed candidates and involved organizations using this assessment
  • A redesign of mcc.ca with an integration of the physiciansapply.ca portal to provide a single bilingual website with the goal of shifting to a user-focused experience and simplified access to information and candidate portals
  • The development of the first nationally integrated source of data on physicians in Canada
Future assessments

In 2020, the MCC shifted to a smaller, skills-based Council. One of the first strategic exercises launched by the new Council was the initiation of the Assessment Innovation Task Force (AITF).

Though thinking with respect to the future of assessments continues to evolve, we are heeding the advice of the AITF that MCC should “think of itself not as a testing centre, but as an organization whose mission is to use (and develop) expertise in assessment to become a nexus that brings key stakeholders together for the sake of improvements to training, regulation, and practice.”

Our mandate to support safe health care in Canada has always been a guiding force, and we are well positioned to continue with innovation in physician assessment. Recognizing the ongoing importance of non-medical competencies in quality patient care, we will keep exploring whether existing assessment strategies need to be adjusted to ensure that these competencies are being assessed in all pathways to licensure.

We are committed to maintaining our vital work in physician assessment so that all in Canada can receive safe, quality healthcare.