Competencies for the PA Profession


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.

CAPA has established and maintains the national standard of practice for PAs and provides the National Certification Process through the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC). Accreditation Canada offers 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 Armed Forces Health Services to provide a full spectrum of medical care. Civilian PAs are practicing in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta and in Nova Scotia.  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 these documents 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.

The following documents provides the Competency Framework (EPA-PA Competency Framework NCP 2021 and CanMEDS-PA NCP 2015).  Both of these documents were developed for entry-level Generalist PAs in Canada.  They defines how and under what circumstances the PA may exercise their competencies within the health care system, they are relevant to a practice in any health care setting or role.

EPA-PA Competency Framework (download PDF)

CanMEDS-PA (download PDF)