Scope of Practice & National Competency Profile


The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is a national professional organization that advocates for physician assistants (PAs) and represents its membership across Canada and globally. It is committed to fostering development of the physician/ physician assistant model to assure quality care for Canadians. The Scope of Practice and National Competency Profile are created with the support of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) as a resource for PA’s, Supervising Physicians, Educators, Legislators and other health professionals.

CAPA has established and maintains the national standard of practice for PAs and provides the National Certification Process through the Physician Assistant Certification Council (PACC). The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) offers conjoint accreditation of PA training programs with CAPA. By guiding educational programs and assisting legislators, CAPA’s goal is to provide efficacious health professionals to the Canadian public, and foster the development of the profession nationally.

Historically the PA’s role was developed within the Canadian Forces Health Services to provide a full spectrum of medical care. Civilian PAs are practicing in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and in Alberta.  This model is being increasingly used to help meet the pressing demand for quality medical care around the world. In the U.S. Physician Assistants have been assisting in meeting this need since the 1970’s. In addition, health care planners and administrators in many countries worldwide have utilized similar models or are starting to explore this health care profession.


CAPA’s objective in the development of this document is to communicate to the public and to the PA profession a set of standards that all physician assistants are expected to acquire for entry to practice. It is intended to help employers, PAs, physicians, educators and others to understand the breadth and depth of practice for PAs in Canada.

This document provides the Scope of Practice Statement and the National Competency Profile, developed for entry-level Generalist PAs in Canada.  The Scope of Practice Statement defines how and under what circumstances the PA may exercise their competencies within the health care system. The PA scope of practice is relevant to a practice in any health care setting or role.

CAPA Scope of Practice and National Competency Profile (download PDF)