New Emergency Circumstances Practice Registration Class Developed

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As required by a new Ontario government regulation, CPSO developed draft amendments to the Registration Regulation under the Medicine Act, 1991, setting out a new Emergency Circumstances Practice registration class.

The proposed regulation grants Council the power to determine when emergency circumstances exist, taking into consideration whether it is in the public interest to make the class of registration available.

In February, CPSO’s Executive Committee approved the release of the draft amendments for a 60-day public consultation, ending April 10, 2023.

In April 2022, the government passed Bill 106, the Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2022 which, among other things, amended the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 to reduce barriers to registering with and being recognized by Ontario’s health regulatory colleges. To support this goal, in October 2022, a regulation was approved, requiring all 26 Ontario health regulatory colleges to create a new emergency registration class. The intent of the regulation is to give the colleges a regulatory mechanism for issuing licenses where typical registration requirements (e.g., examinations) are disrupted.

While CPSO demonstrated significant flexibility during the pandemic, adjusting to delays or challenges physicians in training were experiencing, the government sought to give all colleges the authority and ability to act in this manner through regulation.

The colleges’ regulations must specify:

  1. the emergency circumstances that will cause the class to be open for issuance and renewal; 
  2. that the certificates of registration expire no more than one year after issuance, but are renewable for the same period of time, with no limit on the number of times they may be renewed as long as the emergency circumstance persists; and
  3. the circumstances in which a member of the emergency class may apply for another registration class and be exempt from at least some registration requirements that would ordinarily apply.

CPSO’s draft regulation amendments establishing the new Emergency Circumstances Practice registration class mirrors approaches in existing classes (e.g., Supervised Short Duration and Temporary Independent Practice certificates), setting out minimum requirements that must be met (in this case, a degree in medicine, a year of postgraduate medical education at an accredited medical school, and an undertaking to practise under supervision).

The regulation further specifies that the certificate is issued for one year, which the Registrar may renew while emergency circumstances persist.

After emergency circumstances end, members of the Emergency Circumstances Practice class have the option to transition to an Independent Practice certificate within the year, if they obtain certification by the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The regulation will be enacted by the end of August 2023.