Specialist Recognition

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A doctor speaking to a patient

Council has approved an updated Specialist Recognition policy that clarifies eligibility requirements, streamlines content and is more concise and user-friendly.

The policy sets out the criteria that a physician must meet in order to be recognized as a specialist by the College. Distinct from registration, such recognition by the College permits the physician to hold themselves out as a specialist. Additionally, external agencies such as, OHIP, hospitals, and WSIB, rely on the College to confirm whether an individual is considered a specialist.

One of the drivers for change was ongoing concerns that the language and spirit of the policy were open to misinterpretation, as physicians were applying for recognition in instances when they did not qualify.

Additionally, since the policy was last updated, Registration policies were introduced to recognize specialist certificate obtained by means other than examination. This development has been recognized in the updated policy.

 The language of the policy has been updated to include:

  • A preamble explaining the purpose of the policy
  • Expansion on the criteria necessary to qualify under each of the existing routes to Specialty Recognition, resulting in two additional routes for the sake of clarity
  • Clarification that specialists trained outside of North America must have training that is comparable in duration to a RCPSC/CFPC program
  • Increased clarity around the conditions leading to expiry of the CPSO specialist recognition

The changes also saw the updated policy no longer separate family medicine from other specialties and adopt the policy redesign format introduced in 2018 that enhances clarity without meaningfully altering the core content.