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Regulation of PAs

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Physician assistants (PAs) are skilled health care professionals who provide a broad range of medical services within health care teams under the supervision of a physician. PAs act as physician-extenders to complement existing services and aid in improving access to health care.

What is a PA’s scope of practice?

A PA’s scope of practice will reflect their supervising physician's scope of practice and is determined by the PA’s own knowledge, skill, and judgment. This means that each PA’s scope of practice will vary according to a number of factors, including the individual’s education, training and experience.

Why are PAs being regulated in Ontario?

PAs have been working in the Ontario health care system since 2007. Since then, successive provincial governments in Ontario have been exploring different forms of oversight with CPSO, in response to requests from the PA profession. In 2019, the government expressed interest in pursuing a more robust form of regulation. CPSO proposed a model of oversight, which ultimately led to the establishment of a new physician assistant registrant class under  CPSO.

Regulation by CPSO will help ensure safe and quality health care for patients. PAs will be required to meet clearly defined registration requirements and standards, which include having the necessary “knowledge, skill and judgment” to practise and to use the protected title “Physician Assistant."

When will PA regulation take effect?

CPSO will begin accepting applications for registration in early 2025 and begin regulating PAs on April 1, 2025. Individuals who wish to practise as a PA must be registered by April 1, 2025. From that date, only PAs registered with CPSO will be permitted to use the title “Physician Assistant” in Ontario.

Will regulation change the way that PAs currently practise?

No. CPSO is preserving the status quo because the existing relationship between physicians and PAs, anchored in the delegation framework, is well established and has been working effectively for many years. A delegation model also enables flexibility by allowing PAs to work with multiple physicians and practise in multiple settings.

Are PAs authorized to perform any controlled acts independently?

No. PAs can only perform controlled acts through delegation and with appropriate supervision by a physician, as set out in CPSO’s Delegation of Controlled Acts policy.

More Information

If you have additional questions, please contact [email protected].