Medical Council of Canada



Assessment Review Task Force recommendation

In October 2011, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) published a report that was unanimously approved by its Council: Recalibrating for the 21st century: Report of the Assessment Review Task Force. The report outlines the future vision for the MCC and proposes a series of recommendations, including one addressing MCC examination blueprints. This recommendation states:

The content of the MCC assessment processes shall be expanded by:

  • Defining the knowledge and behaviours in the CanMEDS roles that demonstrate competence of the physician about to enter independent practice.
  • Reviewing the adequacy of content and skill coverage on the blueprints for all MCC examinations.
  • Revising the examination blueprints and reporting systems to demonstrate that the appropriate assessment of all core competencies aligns with the purpose of each examination.
  • Determining whether any core competencies cannot be tested by current MCC examinations, and exploring the development of new tools to assess these specific competencies.

In addition, the third recommendation of the same document focused on the development of an integrated national assessment strategy for physicians in training in collaboration with partner organizations. The introduction of a new Blueprint provides an opportunity to consult extensively and develop new collaborations.

The Blueprint project was launched to address this recommendation.

Subject matter expert panel

To define the Blueprint and content specifications, the MCC invited 12 subject matter experts to provide judgments concerning the content that should be assessed at the two decision points. The subject matter experts represented:

  • MCC Council – including MRA and University membership
  • Certification bodies
  • Medical Education – UGME and PGME deans
  • MCC committees – Central Examination Committee, Objectives committee and test committees

The subject matter expert panel was provided with a series of reports highlighting various facets of physician practice and assessment. A three-day workshop was held in mid-May 2013 to seek consensus and a recommendation for a blueprint and content specifications for MCC Qualifying Examinations. The resulting Blueprint is serving as a framework to assess fundamental core competencies required of physicians at various points along their careers regardless of specialty.

Blueprint consultations and adoption

From June to December 2013, the MCC held consultations with important stakeholder groups on the draft Blueprint. In addition, MCC received feedback from other professional associations via email communications and special meetings.

While the overall Blueprint and specifications were well received, suggestions were offered to improve the definitions and clarify certain concepts.

On Sept. 16, 2014, the MCC Blueprint and content specifications as presented in the Blueprint report were adopted by Council for implementation starting in spring 2018 for the MCCQE Part I and fall 2018 for the MCCQE Part II.