INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL PAs
Where can PAs work in Canada?
PAs are currently able to work within the public healthcare system in five provinces: Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and a pilot project in Nova Scotia, no other provinces allow PAs to practice at this time. Each province has handled the introduction of PAs differently. We recommend that you review the Legislation page on the CAPA website regarding legislation in each province as some provinces have some alternate streams that can apply to PAs trained internationally.
The profession is regulated in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Alberta by the colleges of physicians and surgeons in these provinces and PAs currently practicing in either of these provinces must be registered with their respective provincial College.
In Ontario, Bill 283, Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario’s Health System Act, will amend the Medicine Act, 1991 and allow PAs to be regulated under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). On June 1st, 2021, Bill 283 passed third reading in the Ontario Legislature. Following this on June 3rd, the bill received Royal Assent, when the Lieutenant Governor signed the bill, officially making it law. We are working closely with government and CPSO to establish regulation for PAs in Ontario. Currently there is no regulation that states a PA must be certified; however, certification (CCPA or PA-C) may be required at the discretion of an employer.
In Nova Scotia, the government has launched a pilot project at the Nova Scotia Health Authority for three PAs to work in orthopaedic surgery to help tackle hip and knee surgery wait times. CAPA continues to advocate for broader integration of PAs across Nova Scotia’s health system, as well as regulation of the profession.
Who is eligible to challenge the Canadian PA Certification Exam?
Please consult our website for guidance on the general requirements, eligibility criteria, policy and procedure for the PA Certification Exam.
How do I apply to a Canadian PA education program?
All questions related to education should be directed to the Canadian universities which offer PA education programs. We do not answer questions regarding admissions criteria, curriculum, or clinical rotations. A link to each program can be found on our website.
Canadian certification Exam
In order to be eligible to write the Physician Assistant Certification Council of Canada (PACCC) PA Cert Exam you need to be a member of the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants (CAPA) and be a graduate of a Canadian PA program recognized by PACCC (currently the Canadian Armed Forces PA Program, University of Manitoba, McMaster University and the Consortium of PA Education (University of Toronto, the Michener Institute and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine) OR be a graduate of an Accreditation Review Commission (ARC) PA program in the United States and be certified by the National Commission of Certification for Physician Assistant (NCCPA). No other international programs graduates are eligible.
Even if you have earned a medical degree, you must still graduate from a program recognized by PACCC (in Canada the CAF PA Program, University of Manitoba, McMaster University and the Consortium of PA Education) or an ARC-PA accredited program in the US to take the Canadian PA Cert Exam.
Scope of Practice and PA profession overview
The EPA-PA defines how and under what circumstances the PA may exercise their competencies within the health care system. The EPA-PA is relevant to a practice in any health care setting or role.
For a complete overview of the PA profession in Canada, including education, certification, regulation, maintenance of competency, scope of practice, standards of practice, and liability coverage please see our Information Brief.
How do I find employment opportunities in Canada?
All CAPA members have access to a members-only Job Listings page on our website. If you are not a member of CAPA, you can also search popular employment sites like Indeed or contact organizations directly.
How do I join CAPA?
You can join CAPA by registering online. See our membership rates for pricing information.
Working in Canada: General resources