Canadian CCFP Exam COVID-19 Plan

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Family Medicine trainees in their final year of post-graduate training across Canada are set to write their final qualifying exams this spring. These residents have made profound sacrifices in their lives over the last decade, particularly within the last twelve months, to arrive at this point. 

COVID-19 is an unprecedented, unforeseen occurrence. In addition to the stress of our upcoming exams, many of us play a critical role in essential front-line management of this virus. This morning we received communication regarding the postponement of our examinations. It seems more than likely we will not be able to finish the exam in its entirety until Fall 2020 with results not being made available until Winter 2020. A number of changes have taken place over the past 2 weeks and while it was inevitable that changes to our examination were going to be made, we did not anticipate this much of a delay. 

I fully appreciate that this is a major public health concern and I also appreciate that CFPC has to take steps to protect the public. As physicians, we all have an obligation to the public especially in healthcare matters I have considered and acknowledged that responsibility. Nonetheless, we do not believe this to be an acceptable solution with respect to us finishing our examinations. As previously mentioned, considerable personal sacrifice has been made to get to this point. From a personal standpoint, many of us have already spent months preparing for our lives post-residency. Flights have been booked, apartment leases have been cancelled, vacations with loved ones have been planned, and we have committed our future to various locations across the world. Houses have been sold and moving companies have been hired. From a career standpoint, fellowships, locum opportunities and clinic leases have already been arranged. We have mortgages and loans to pay off without any definite timeline of when we will be able to fully practice. 

We propose the following options that would allow us to proceed in proving competency in our fields and progressing with our careers as planned, while simultaneously mitigating the risks of this pandemic.

1) If the written examination is unable to be carried out we feel that our performance in our residency rotations with endorsement of supervising physicians should hold weight in determining our eligibility for full licensure. 

2) The oral examination should be administered via a telecommunication method if not able to be completed in person.

3) If a telecommunication method is not feasible, the residency training programs should be entrusted to administer the oral examinations to their residents.

4) If solutions 1, 2 and 3 are not achievable, the residents should be exempt from exam components requiring travel. That is, residents should be considered successful without writing our examinations. 

I understand that there are 681 CARMS Family Medicine Residency spots per year. When you sign this petition, please indicate your site and year. In addition, we are happy to have the support of our peers, colleagues and supervisors.

We appreciate your efforts and commitment to post-graduate training and assessment.

Sincerely,

Dr. Zaakir Jiwa PGY2 Family Medicine