Canada’s Physician Assistants (PAs) express strong disappointment in the BC Government’s HHR plan that leaves BC’s PAs on the sidelines.

Published on November 30, 2022

Canada’s PAs called on the BC government to immediately allow BC PAs to practice in the province and help other health professionals tackle the challenges facing the health system. The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA), that represents Canada’s Physician Assistants (PAs), expressed their disappointment with the provinces plan released today, that leaves PAs, a critical health asset being used across Canada unable to practice. PAs are physician extenders who are trained as generalists and can assist with any task within their supervising physician’s scope of practice. In primary care, PAs extend family care practices, in emergency departments, PAs can cut wait times by half and in the surgical ward, PAs can help reduce backlogs. CAPA pointed to jurisdictions across Canada, like Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canadian Armed Forces. They also highlighted the important role that PAs play across the Globe, including in the UK, the Netherlands, and the United States where PAs are a pillar in the health system and playing a key role in helping other health systems tackle the pandemic and the dire need for more health human resources. CAPA’s BC Director, Lisa Stewart, frustrated by the lack of inclusion of PAs in the government’s HHR plan “What will it take for the government to let us practice? Allowing PAs to work in the province will make a significant impact on the health care system here and will immensely benefit patients in need of care”. Surveys done by CAPA have demonstrated that there are PAs who would move to BC to help their colleagues and there are retired CAF PAs who want to help with the HHR challenges in BC. Without explanation, the government continues to refuse to make changes to allow PAs to practice in the province, despite the desperate need. Stewart declared that it’s time BC caught up with other jurisdictions and allowed this innovative and team-based professional to bring their expertise to BC. Every year, thousands of young people who want to train to become a PA are turned away because there aren't enough training spots in Canada. CAPA has been calling on the government to introduce PAs, start a PA training program at the University of Victoria and allow PAs to work to help BC’s overburdened system. About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) CAPA 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: Kristy Corrente, Manager, Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations - or 613-864-6713. — 30 —

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