Proven health initiative stalled for last decade—New Brunswick lags behind other provinces

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants is asking the Higgs government to fulfil its campaign pledge and hire more physician assistants as part of provincial health reform

FREDERICTON, February 25, 2020—The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) is calling on the New Brunswick government to hire 30 new physician assistants (PAs) to help address the province-wide shortage of health care professionals. The recommendation is part of CAPA’s submission during the public pre-budget consultation process.

“Health workforce staffing is the underlying issue in this health care crisis,” said Kevin Dickson, CAPA’s Provincial Director for New Brunswick. “Our message to Premier Higgs is that the next budget must include measures to establish a pipeline of PAs who have the training and skills to meet patient needs, tackle wait times, and advance team-based care.”

PAs are highly skilled advanced practice clinicians who work under the supervision of a licensed doctor to provide primary, acute, and specialty care in all types of settings. Other provinces, and countries around the world, use the PA model to address unmet needs, decrease costs, and boost the efficiency of the physician workforce.

Unlike other new roles in health care, PAs represent a new workforce that can fill existing vacancies, instead of simply shifting gaps from one profession to another. And with a generalist training, the government can quickly deploy PAs to fill needs across the health system.

CAPA’s 2020 pre-budget submission makes three key recommendations on how New Brunswick should be leveraging the PA profession to benefit patients:

  1. Provide health authorities with funding earmarked to hire an additional 30 PAs over the next three years, at a cost of approximately $3.6 million.
  2. Expand the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick’s regulation of PAs to allow PAs to work in all clinical settings and beyond the direct employment of a regional health authority.
  3. Work with physicians, health system leaders, and municipalities to identify the clinical settings and communities where PAs should be deployed to have the greatest impact on patient access to care.

“New Brunswick is stretched to capacity,” said Dickson. “If the government is serious about innovation in health care, it’s crucial to add more PAs to bridge the gaps in care and improve the services we all depend on.”

Additional Information

Reports from the Conference Board of Canada on the role, effectiveness, and value of physician assistants:

About the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants 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:

First Canadian PA to undergo formal training in advanced POCUS

Point–of-Care Ultrasound at SHN is changing Emergency care for the better

Danielle Lucky is passionate about helping people. It’s why she loves working in the Emergency department (ED) – where people come when they need help the most. When a patient walks into the ED, providing them with the care they need, as fast as possible, is crucial.

This year, Danielle became the first physician assistant (PA) in Canada to undergo formal training in advanced point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). At Scarborough Health Network (SHN) an innovative new program geared towards expanding the use of POCUS, is training highly skilled PAs, like Danielle, to do just that…read more on the Scarborough Health Network website.

Announcing Physician Assistants for Research, Scholarship and Education in Canada (PARSEC)

Recently, the Canadian Physician Assistant Educator Association (CPAEA) has undergone a name change and is now known as Physician Assistants, for Research, Scholarship & Education in Canada (PARSEC).

The change comes as the organization expands its work beyond supporting PA education. PARSEC supports PA research, scholarship and education across Canada, and is committed to fostering collaboration and a community of practice among PAs. Read more in the official announcement from PARSEC below or visit their website.

Physician Assistants for Research, Scholarship, Education in Canada (PARSEC)

PARSEC is an association of individuals with a shared vision and commitment to Canadian PA research, scholarship, and education. For many years, the Canadian Physician Assistant Educator Association (CPAEA) supported PA education. Given the growth of the profession across Canada, we recognized a need to renew.

The term “parsec” is a unit of measurement in astronomy that considers the time and future location of an object.

PARSEC reflects that how we practice, how we learn, and how we educate PAs is in constant motion and
must consider future outcomes and interests as the profession moves forward.

PARSEC Objectives:

  1. Support PA research, scholarship and education in Canada.
  2. Encourage collaboration and a community of practice among PAs.
  3. Advocate for high quality PA educational standards and continuing professional development opportunities.
  4. Foster the professional and academic development of the Canadian PA profession.

Proposed Activities of PARSEC:

  1. To support an annual University based PA Research Workshop (alternates between educational sites) that helps establish a foundation of research and garners research interest in the PA profession.
  2. To support a forum for the presentation and dissemination of PA research to foster a community of practice.
  3. To support the developing of academic scholarship and promotion of educational standards to ensure the ongoing quality of Canadian PA education.


Funding for this non-profit association is dependent on donations and member support. Membership is open to any interested individual or organization. Contributions can be made directly to PARSEC or through CAPA.

CAPA 2020 Call for Speakers

The Canadian Association of Physician Assistants Annual Conference is scheduled for October 15 to 18 in Fredericton at the Delta Hotel Fredericton. The annual conference is the largest PA continuing professional development event in Canada.

The deadline for abstract submissions is Thursday, March 12, 2020.

For complete details, please see our Call for Speakers.

Bringing medical care to remote mining camps

Back in the day, when major mining properties were being discovered, workers would follow. Town sites would pop up. Think of Cobalt, Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Elliott Lake.

Merchants, engineers, bankers, lawyers, teachers, and even homebuilders would arrive to set up shop. So would doctors. There was always someone getting hurt or getting sick.

Things have changed. Often as not, when new mining properties are discovered these days in a remote area, it means a temporary residential camp is created. Workers are brought in on rotation with schedules of 14 days on and 14 days off, for example.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the need for medical professionals. Whether it’s a small mining camp just a few hours out of town or a complete open pit mine operation situated on the remote James Bay muskeg, medical services are always in demand.

That is one of the things that inspired Timmins physician Dr. Tony Kos to provide a unique service to the mining industry – contract medical services known as Remote Emergency Medical Services Inc. (REMSI)... read more in Northern Ontario Business.

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