Alberta Health Minister Responds to Calls for PA Regulation

On Friday, May 8 we were thrilled to see Minister of Health Tyler Shandro and UCP MLA Shane Getson discuss physician assistants in the Alberta legislature.

This follows our April 23 letter and briefing note to the Minister recommending an earlier timeline for regulation and identifying how PAs could be better leveraged during the pandemic. We also reminded the government that PA regulation aligns with the McKinnon Report recommendations to maximize the scope of practice of other health care professionals.

New study identifies factors that support and restrict Ontario’s use of PAs

In a new open-access study published in BMC Health Services Research author Dr. Kristen Burrows et al. explore the integration of PAs across multiple health settings and aim to help policy makers understand the role of PAs in complex adaptive systems.

Ontario introduced PAs in 2006 to address wait times, improve access to and continuity of care, and add a flexible resource to the workforce. But misaligned policies around reimbursement and incentives are resulting in diverging interests among physicians and PAs.

“PAs are playing a vital role in the delivery and support of healthcare within a multitude of settings as adaptable and collaborative team members focused on person-centered care. As the PA profession continues to expand into new jurisdictions, findings from this study help fill existing knowledge and practice gaps regarding the role of PAs. Documenting the central role of PAs will continue to inform the design and dissemination of research in order to optimize health care system efficiencies though PA integration.”

Ontario MPP Laura Mae Lindo calls on province to include PAs in pandemic support

In a video message posted today, MPP Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre) voiced her support for the recognition of physician assistants (PAs) as frontline health care workers during COVID-19.

CAPA member Sarah Flanagan, a certified physician assistant practicing at Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre in Kitchener, wrote to MPP Lindo about the continued exclusion of PAs from the list of health care workers who are eligible for additional “pandemic pay” support.

In her message, Sarah said, “It is beyond disheartening that my profession remains excluded from the provincial recognition of our role in providing frontline care during COVID-19. PAs are absolutely on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

Sanctuary is the largest dedicated refugee health centre in Canada and Sarah leads its Prenatal Care Program. While the rest of the clinic has shifted to mostly virtual care, Sarah’s prenatal patients, newborns, and small babies still largely need in-person assessments so she is in the clinic making sure their needs are met. Although her patients are asymptomatic, she wears PPE and goes through a strict decontamination protocol between patients to ensure her safety and the safety of her patients.

As the national voice of PAs in Ontario and across Canada, CAPA continues to strongly advocate for the recognition of PA contributions. To learn more, read our statement and meet some of our frontline heroes fighting COVID-19.

Medical clinic opens in Port Colborne amid pandemic

Niagara South Family Medicine is a one-stop clinic in Port Colborne that opened in April 2020 to meet the needs of the Wainfleet, Port Colborne, south Welland and west Fort Erie areas. PA Laura Bettger is an integral team member working under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Remington. She has built a growing patient roster and deals with women’s health and baby health care, primarily…read more in the St. Catharines Standard.

CAPA Letter to Premier Ford on Exclusion of PAs From Pandemic Support

May 1, 2020

Dear Premier Ford and Deputy Premier Elliott,

We are writing today regarding your government’s continued exclusion of physician assistants (PAs) as frontline health care workers who are eligible for temporary pandemic payments.

Your policy is an excellent measure that supports a wide range of health care workers who put their lives at risk every day during COVID-19. But we are disheartened that PAs remain excluded from the list of eligible workers, even following your clarification on April 28 where you rightly added paramedics, respiratory therapists, mental health and addictions workers in hospitals, and public health nurses.

We feel it is important for you to understand the impact of your decision on the morale of frontline PAs who are working under the most challenging circumstances that many have ever faced, just like their MD, RN, NP, and RT colleagues. I encourage you both to read the attached messages from our colleagues that describe in detail what they are doing for Ontarians.

PAs are some of the most flexible health care professionals working in our health system today. Our profession has been quickly mobilized to meet the evolving needs of emergency departments, cancer centres, surgical practices, long-term care residences, and many other clinical settings. And we have no doubt that as the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, we will all step up in new ways, whenever we are called upon, for the citizens of Ontario.

During the past month we have seen your government act quickly to address this crisis and we are all grateful for your decisive action and empathy. We are asking you today to do the right thing by making Ontario’s PA workforce eligible for the pandemic support.

We would be pleased to speak to you or your staff at any time. And again, on behalf of our members we thank you for your leadership during this very difficult period.


Leslie St. Jacques, CCPA

Sahand Ensafi, CCPA
Provincial Director, Ontario

Patrick Nelson
Executive Director

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