Health Professionals from across Canada call on Quebec Government to let them help

Canada’s Physician Assistants say it’s time for Quebec to introduce PAs into the health system to help reduce wait times and improve access

QUÉBEC CITY November 11, 2022 With the National Assembly in view from their three-day conference, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) called on the provincial government to introduce physician assistants (PAs) into the health system to help reduce wait times, overcrowded emergency departments and surgical backlogs.

With emergency room occupancy rates in Québec exceeding capacity, CAPA pointed to the opportunity that exists for PAs to help and supply some immediate support to the province’s health workforce. There are almost 1000 PAs working in health care settings in Canada, including in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, who play important roles in hospitals, emergency departments, primary care settings and across most specialties.

“With the health care system in the province under incredible strain, there should be no clearer sign that Québec needs to catch up with the rest of the country and bring PAs into the fold,” said Kevin Dickson, CAPA president. “In other jurisdictions, we have seen the impact PAs have on increasing access to care, improving patient satisfaction and generally, reducing pressure on the wider system.”

PAs are clinicians who are educated in the medical school model and practice medicine under the direct supervision of a licensed physician, often within a multidisciplinary health team.

“Doctors throughout Québec have expressed enthusiastic support for working with PAs,” said Guillaume Couture, CAPA’s Alternate Director of Québec. “They know that with the help of PAs, they can improve the care they provide. There are retired military PAs here, who could help support the health system! We can integrate this model of care in Québec.”

Quick Facts

  • Almost 1,000 PAs practice across Canada in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
  • PAs are practicing across the Globe including in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and more.
  • Family medicine, emergency medicine, surgical specialties, psychiatry, geriatrics, and general medicine are among the many clinical settings where Canadian PAs are well-established.
  • In an Ontario study on the utilization of PAs, 71% of physicians working with PAs reported that the PA had a positive impact on patient throughput, with higher results in the non-hospital settings than in the hospital settings.


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.

For More Information

Kristy Corrente




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

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.

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