Is it time to replace high-stakes exams with graduated licensure?


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COVID-19 disrupted the medical licensing examination system in Canada. During the pandemic, exams delivered by The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) were delayed, canceled or adapted, disrupting the lives of hundreds of physicians.

However, those challenges prompted many to rethink the historical approach to medical licensure in Canada.

In this episode, Drs. Brent Thoma and Teresa Chan discuss their proposal to shift away from all-or-nothing examinations and towards a system of graduated licensure. They are two authors of a recent CMAJ commentary entitled Replacing high-stakes summative examinations with graduated medical licensure in Canada.

Dr. Thoma is an emergency and trauma physician in Saskatoon and an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Chan is an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, where she is the Associate Dean of Continuing Professional Development.

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