Physician Assistants are like adding a top six forward to the hockey team

Insights from Dr. Neil Gibson on working with Physician Assistants.

Dr. Gibson is a clinical professor at the University of Alberta and a General Internist practising critical care at the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert. Having served 32 years in the Canadian Armed Forces, 25 as a Medical Officer, he has first-hand experience working alongside PAs.

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A Breakthrough Year for Physician Assistants

Our Executive Director, Patrick Nelson sits down with CAPA’s Ontario Director,  Sahand Ensafi and Alberta Director, Kirsten Luomala to discuss PAs’ role in Canada’s health care system pre- and post-regulation.

Listen to Santis Health’s podcast here.

Breaking News: Regulation in Alberta Announced

The Alberta Government has publicly declared that PAs will become regulated on April 1st, 2021!  

The much anticipated announcement came during an event held Friday, November 27th when Alberta Health Minister, Tyler Shandro stated that regulation was forthcoming. 

During his remarks, Minister Shandro confirmed the Alberta government’s commitment to building a patient-centered health system to provide Albertans with faster access to quality care. The provinces strategy to increase health care efficiencies includes regulation of PAs, which will enable working to full scope of practice and using skills in a greater capacity. 

Read the official press release here.

BC falls behind other provinces on health care reform

BC falls behind other provinces on health care reform
Calls for introduction of PAs into BC Health System intensify as new government takes office.

British Columbia – October 2020 – Congratulating the Horgan government for their re-election, the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) called for the BC government to follow the lead of most other provinces in Canada and introduce PAs into the province’s health care system.

“I recently moved to British Columbia with my family after working as a Physician Assistant (PA) in the Canadian Armed Forces for 23 years,” said Eric Demers, CAPA’s board of directors, Past President and previous BC Director. “If the province allowed PAs to practice here, myself and others would be able to help fight COVID-19 in our ED’s, hospitals and in long-term care homes. It doesn’t make sense that we can’t.”

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. These highly skilled health professionals can work in any clinical setting to extend a doctor’s reach, complement existing services, and help improve patient access to care.

Around the world and in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and in the Canadian Armed Forces, PAs are already key members of integrated health care teams. However, PAs are not currently recognized in BC and cannot work despite the need for more trained health professionals. A recent study by the Conference Board of Canada reports that if more PAs were working with physicians in Canada wait times would drop, care would improve and the health system could save money.

 “PAs are changing the face of health care across Canada and around the Globe. It’s time to add them to our health care teams in British Columbia,” said Demers.

For more information on CAPA visit

Media Contact: Patrick Nelson
Telephone number: 613-248-2272

About CAPA
The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is a nationally incorporated bilingual professional association that advocates on behalf of its members at the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors which represents Physician Assistants (PA), PA students, and other members across Canada and internationally. CAPA has members in all national regions as well as the Canadian Forces sharing a desire to help develop Canadian health care, and to advocate for the professions’ model of cooperative, collaborative, patient centered quality health care.


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