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As The Physio World Turns: Provincial PCE Update
By: Nataliya Zlotnikov, MSc, HBSc

Time Waits for No One

Wondering what is happening in the physical therapy licensure world today? 

Anna Di Marco's Quote about the Licensing Exam

Today's update blog briefly outlines what each provincial regulatory body is doing (or not doing) in the face of this continued situation. 

This blog was inspired by PT Anna Di Marco's December 7, 2021 and December 9, 2021 Instagram posts by the same name, "PCE Update - As The Physio World Turns" (included at the end of this blog).

 

You can also take a look at some of our earlier blogs discussing the PCE situation: 

Physiotherapy Competency Exam (PCE), Why It Must Change (Or Not) To Reflect Current Evidence

What About the PCE? Crucial New Research, CAPR Updates, Advocacy & Allyship

 

Quick View 

The table below provides an overview of the changes currently taking place in each province (accurate as of 9 Dec 2021).

The eligibility and exclusion criteria (where available) are provided in the individual provincial sections that follow. 

For more detailed information, please follow the hyperlinked province title in each section to visit the regulatory body's page where the information is provided in greater detail. 

Physiotherapy Colleges - Summary Table


British Columbia

College of Physiotherapists of British Columbia (CPTBC) logo

Eligibility criteria:

  • Interim registrants on the College register as of November 15 2021 are eligible.
  • Capacity is limited.
  • Some eligible registrants will not be able to register based on capacity and priority.

Exclusion criteria: 

  • Interim registrants who have not completed, or have a pending result for, the Qualifying Examination (written examination) as of November 15, 2021.
  • Interim registrants who are subject to any inquiry or discipline proceeding.
  • Interim registrants not currently practising in BC. 

 

Alberta

College of Physiotherapists of Alberta logo

Eligibility criteria:

  • Candidates must have been admitted to the Provisional Register between January 1, 2021, and September 13, 2021, AND 
  • Been registered on the Provisional Register continuously until their attempt at the alternate exam, OR
  • Been on the Provisional Register continuously and have 1 previous unsuccessful attempt at the Clinical Component of the PCE administered by CAPR prior to the pandemic or the Alternate Exam administered by the Continuing Professional Education Unit of the University of Alberta in June 2021. 
  • All candidates must be fully vaccinated. 

Exclusion criteria: 

  • Candidates involved in a current conduct investigation of their physical therapy practice or who have a history of a conduct investigation which resulted in an investigation and recommendations, facilitated resolution, or conduct findings.
  • Former registrants who have exceeded the permitted time period of two years on the provisional register or number of examination attempts permitted for the completion of the Clinical Component of the PCE.

 

Saskatchewan

College of Physiotherapists of Saskatchewan logo

Eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants must have been licensed with the SCPT prior to September 13, 2021.
  • Applicants must have had a minimum of 1,200 hrs of practise under supervision while holding a Restricted License in Sask. and
  • Applicants must not have any prior or outstanding complaint or discipline history.

 

Manitoba 

College of Physiotherapists of Manitoba logo

Eligibility criteria:

  • The Candidate has no current, unresolved complaint(s) against them.
  • They have been on the Candidate Register in Manitoba for a minimum of 12 consecutive mths. with no attempts at the Clinical PCE OR have been on the Examination Candidate Register for a minimum of 18 months. and have had 1 failed attempt at the Clinical PCE.
  • They have practiced a minimum of 1200 clinical hrs in physical therapy within the last year (e.g., from Nov 2020 to Nov 2021) and can show proof of these hrs to CPM.
  • They have an Assessment of Clinical Practice (ACP) evaluation form on file with CPM which has been completed by their supervisor within the last 6 months.

 

Ontario

College of Physiotherapists of Ontario logo

Ontario steps into the arena and announces that the Registration Committee of the CPO approved a policy that will allow some individuals who currently hold a provisional license to apply for independent licensing without successfully completing the PCE.

Eligibility criteria:

  • The applicant has held a Provisional Practice Certificate of Registration in Ontario for at least 12 months.
  • The applicant has practiced physiotherapy in Ontario, delivering patient care, for at least 1200 hours during the past 12 months.
  • The applicant has practiced physiotherapy in Ontario, delivering patient care for at least 600 hours at one Ontario worksite/practice location where their College approved Practice Supervisor also worked at the same worksite/practice location for the full 600 hour period.
  • The applicant has not been the subject of any investigation, or inquiry by the Registrar other than one that has been completed without any action having been taken.

While this is exciting news for some, the eligibility criteria, unfortunately, has created a bridge too long and wide for most of our provisional licensees to cross.

At first glance, the eligibility criteria looks familiar and in line with what is happening in other provinces across the country with criteria requiring 12 months of clinical practice on the Ontario provisional register and 1200 practice hours completed within that timeframe and no history of investigation or inquiry by the Registrar.

Where the criteria falls out of the range of possibility is the additional requirement for the applicant to have delivered “patient care for at least 600 hours at one Ontario worksite/practice location where their College-approved Practice Supervisor also worked at the same worksite/practice location for the full 600 hr period.”

We are in the process of connecting with residents to determine what percentage of the approximately 1000 candidates will qualify to apply for independent licensure with this criteria. If initial responses are indicative of the final outcome, the percentage will be disappointingly low.

Consider this: the provisional certificate requirements DO NOT require“onsite” supervision. Certainly “onsite” does not equate to “direct supervision” . For example, any licensed physiotherapist who has obtained some of their licensing hours in a hospital setting will attest to the fact that there was little direct supervision occurring when supervisors were working on an entirely different ward or supervising other candidates. 

Based on the supervisor criteria, it is currently unknown whether the following groups qualify:

  • Those candidates who have been providing telerehabilitation services;
  • Those candidates whose Practice Supervisors changed clinics, took personal leave (for example maternity leave) during the residency and were therefore in a different location or were replaced by a new clinician;  
  • Those candidates providing home care services where their supervisor is not with them at all times
  • Those candidates working part-time while also pursuing other professional goals such as PhDs
  • Those candidates working at the same clinic as their supervisor, but who's hours only overlap with their supervisor for a small portion of the working week?

Furthermore, there is no indication about how Ontario plans to resolve their issue of those 70 plus candidates who have been most negatively and egregiously affected - those who are not on the provisional register because they failed the PCE once or twice in the past.

While there is reason to celebrate these exemptions, they are a first step. This in no way alleviates the backlog of candidates. There are still hundreds more not eligible for these exemptions who have been waiting as long, or longer, for an opportunity to obtain their physiotherapy license. Candidates who were registered for the June 2020, November 2020, March 2021, and September 2021 canceled exams.

Many questions remain unanswered. The CPO stated that additional information will be posted to the College website on December 14, 2021. The next CPO council meeting is on December 16, 2021. You can watch the live stream on their YouTube channel.

 

New Brunswick 

College of Physiotherapists of New Brunswick logo

Eligibility criteria:

  • Registrants who have been waiting to challenge the Clinical PCE for more than 18 months.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Those who have been waiting to challenge the Clinical PCE for fewer than 12 months.


Nova Scotia 

College of Physiotherapists of Nova Scotia logo

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Registrants must have met all the requirements for provisional registration as set out in S.20 of the Physiotherapy Act and hold a current provisional license in Nova Scotia.
  • A minimum of 12 months has passed since the applicant was initially registered in Nova Scotia as a Resident Physiotherapist.
  • Registrants must have completed a minimum of 1200 practice hours, with 600 of those hours completed under one employer (candidate shall submit a rationale for multiple practice settings in such instances where that is the case).
  • Registrants must have completed a minimum of one Jurisprudence Exam.
  • Registrants must have no past or present disciplinary issues with either an employer, NSCP or other Physiotherapy regulatory body.


Price Edward Island

College of Physiotherapists of Prince Edward Island logo

The below information is not yet available on the PEICPT website, or at least we could not locate it. It was provided to us by Anna Di Marco. 

Prince Edward Island College of Physiotherapy Alternative Plan for Licensing

Eligibility criteria: 

  • Residents must have been on the PEICPT PT Resident registry for >12 consecutive months with no previous attempts at the PCE-CC or been on the PEICPT PT Resident registry for >18 consecutive months if previous unsuccessful attempts at the PCE-CC.
  • Residents must have a minimum of 1200 practice hours in the same practice area (must be direct patient care).
  • Only 1-2 employers
  • Only 1-2 supervisors
  • No past or present complaints made to the PEIPT.

Further details regarding the process will be sent to eligible candidates and their supervisors. 


Newfoundland and Labrador

  • No updates or changes to date.


Quebec

  • No changes as Quebec follows its own credentialing system. 

 

Moving Forward 

We understand that many of you in the community have been continuously and graciously dealing with tremendous uncertainty over the past three years. 

You have remained patient, resilient, and strong. 

Your efforts have brought about these provincial changes; even if they are only temporary. 

These interim changes bring not only progress but also more uncertainty and questions. We are hopeful that in the coming weeks all these questions will be answered. 

 

Yet we are still overjoyed to see changes such as these take place.

At the present moment, they may be only temporary, but perhaps these winds of change will usher in a new season of progress and long-term innovation for our profession. 

 

In solidarity, 

Your Embodia Team

You can find the Instagram posts from Anna Di Marco here and here.

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Date written: 9 Dec 2021
Last updated: 10 Dec 2021

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