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Specialist Recognition Criteria in Ontario

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Approved by Council: April 2005
Reviewed and Updated: November 2011, September 2022

 

Purpose

In order to practice medicine in Ontario, an individual must hold a valid certificate of registration issued by the College. Specialty recognition is distinct from registration.

The Ontario Regulation 114/94 provides that no member shall use a term, title or designation relating to a specialty or subspecialty of the profession in respect of their practice of the profession unless the member has been,

  1. certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in a specialty or subspecialty of the profession to which the term, title or designation relates;
  2. certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada in a specialty or subspecialty of the profession to which the term, title or designation relates; or
  3. formally recognized in writing by the College as specialist in the specialty or subspecialty of the profession to which the term, title or designation relates.

This policy sets out the criteria that a physician must meet in order to be recognized as a specialist by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

 

Scope

This policy applies to individuals who have met the criteria for registration and have been issued a certificate of registration to practice medicine in Ontario.

Under this policy, the College will recognize specialty titles only in areas for which specialties and sub-specialties are granted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

This policy does not apply to physicians who hold certification by Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada who are requesting sub- specialist recognition at a time when the sub-specialty examination is available.

Specialist recognition granted under paragraph 3 above is tied to the physician’s practice in Ontario and will automatically expire upon expiry of the physician’s certificate of registration.

The determination as to which specialists should be paid as specialists under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan will be made by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of Ontario.

 

Policy

A physician who meets any of the requirements below will be recognized by the College as a specialist:

  1. holds certification by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; or
  2. holds certification in family medicine by the College of Family Physicians of Canada; or
  3. holds specialist certification, obtained by examination, by the Collège des médecins du Québec; or
  4. holds certification by a specialty member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and:
    1. ABMS certification was obtained by examination, and
    2. ABMS certification was obtained following successful completion of postgraduate specialty training in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and
    3. undertakes to participate in a practice assessment organized by the College one year after having been granted specialist recognition; or
  5. holds a restricted certificate of registration authorizing academic practice in Ontario, and:
    1. has successfully completed specialty training and obtained certification as a specialist by the certifying body in the country where the individual completed their training, by an organization outside of North America that recognizes medical specialties, and
    2. the organization which recognized the applicant as a medical specialist did so using standards that are substantially similar to the standards of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and
    3. holds a full-time academic appointment at a medical school in Ontario at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor or full professor; or
  6. has completed a minimum of one year of independent or supervised practice in Ontario, and:
    1. has successfully completed specialty training and obtained certification as a specialist by the certifying body in the country where the individual completed their training by an organization outside of North America that recognizes medical specialties, and
    2. the organization which recognized the applicant as a medical specialist did so using standards that are substantially similar to the standards of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada, and
    3. has successfully completed a practice assessment that has been directed by the Registration Committee; or
  7. hold a restricted certificate of registration in Ontario that has been issued under the College’s Restricted Certificates of Registration for Exam Eligible Candidates policy, and:
    1. have received written confirmation from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada of current eligibility, with no pre-conditions, to take the certification examination on the basis of satisfactory completion of a Royal College-accredited residency program in Canada or a Royal College recognized program outside of Canada; or
  8. hold a restricted certificate of registration in Ontario that has been issued under the College’s Restricted Certificates of Registration for Exam Eligible Candidates policy, and:
    1. have received written confirmation from the College of Family Physicians of Canada of current eligibility, with no pre-conditions, to take the certification on the basis of satisfactory completion of a College of Family Physicians of Canada- accredited residency program in Canada or a College of Family Physicians of Canada recognized program outside of Canada.
 

Endnotes

1. The physician shall be solely responsible for payment of all fees, costs, charges, expenses, etc. arising from request for specialist recognition.