Physician assistants will gather in Niagara Falls, with sights set on expansion across Canada

As Canadians from coast to coast struggle to access health care services, Canada’s PAs will meet to call on governments to make better use of the profession

NIAGARA FALLS, October 25, 2019 — More than 200 physician assistants (PAs) will gather in Niagara Falls from October 24 to 27 to discuss some of the biggest issues in health care and to call on provincial governments to use the profession to make health care services across the country more accessible and affordable.

“Canadians are rightly fuming about hallway health care, a lack of access to health care professionals, and endless waits for emergency and surgical services,” said Eric Demers, President of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants. “Integrating PAs in team-based care is one of the best ways we can tackle these challenges and work together to improve access, improve outcomes, and control costs.”

PAs are highly skilled advanced practice professionals who work autonomously under the supervision of a licensed physician to extend productivity and allow more patients to be seen. They provide primary, acute, and specialty care in all types of clinical settings.

“PAs have been successfully integrated in the Canadian military for more than 50 years and in many provincial health systems for almost a decade,” said Demers. “It’s time for the remaining provinces to do right by their citizens and lift the barriers that prevent us from contributing, especially in places like British Columbia and Atlantic Canada that are crying out for help.”

Last month the Nova Scotia Health Authority announced it will add PAs to its orthopaedic surgery team in an effort to lower wait times for hip and knee surgeries. But with doctor shortages leading to frequent emergency department closures in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and diminished access to primary care across many parts of Canada, it’s clear that there is a widespread need for PAs.

The CAPA Conference is the largest annual event that brings more than 200 PAs together to enhance their clinical skills and discuss their role in some of the biggest issues that confront the health of Canadians. Some key conference sessions include:

  • “Stop the Bleed” — described as “the CPR of the 21st century”, this workshop teaches everything you need to know to stop bleeding during a mass-casualty event (October 24).
  • Welcome Remarks from Sohail Gandhi, President of the Ontario Medical Association (October 25).
  • Opening plenary on burnout among health care professionals featuring Dr. Ann Collins, President-Elect of the CMA, Major Stuart Russelle, PA National Practice Lead for the Canadian Armed Forces, and Kirsten Luomala, a neurosurgery PA and CAPA’s Director for Alberta (October 25).
  • Day two plenary featuring Brian Goldman, distinguished emergency medicine physician and renowned host of CBC Radio’s White Coat, Black Art (October 27).

Other key topics that will be addressed include opioids, medical assistance in dying, and the cannabis landscape since legalization.

Media are invited to attend sessions and interviews with presenters can be arranged in advance or during the conference. To learn more about the conference, please view the online program for details.

About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is the national voice of physician assistants in Canada. We support quality standards and competencies and help establish the profession within the national health care framework. Learn more:

Media Contact: Andrea Tiwari, Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, or 613 614 6863.