Terms of Reference
Committee on Specialty Education


The Committee on Specialty Education (CSE) is a standing committee of Council. It reports to Council through the Executive Committee of Council (ECC). It develops policies to enhance the quality and effectiveness of the Royal College’s lifelong learning continuum and evaluation and assessment processes in order to maintain the Royal College’s high standards.

Responsibility and Authority

The CSE is responsible for ensuring integration among all components of specialty education through oversight of its various subcommittees: Specialty Standards Review Committee, Committee on Specialties, Accreditation Committee, Professional Learning and Development Committee, and Assessment Committee. To fulfill this mandate, the CSE is engaged in the following key tasks:

  • Develops policies to meet the specialty education goals of the Royal College across the continuum, from residency to retirement;
  • Harmonizes the activities of its subcommittees and sets policy for overarching issues;
  • Has authority for awarding attestation to trainees completing special programs;
  • Has authority for final decisions on appeals and applications that are deemed to be related to specialty education at the Royal College as per the relevant appeal and application policies within each subcommittee;
  • Has strategic responsibility for MAINPORT and resident ePortfolio;
  • Delegates specific responsibility and authority for various aspects of the lifelong learning continuum to its subcommittees, as outlined in the terms of reference of those committees;
  • Monitors the functioning of its subcommittees through regular, periodic reports from the chairs of those committees;
  • Provides guidance to the Office of Specialty Education on policy issues; and
  • Approves the policy and determines acceptability for the granting of Academic Certification, consistent with regulations promulgated by Council.


The CSE has 15 voting members, including the chair. The composition of the committee includes:

  • Chair, Committee on Specialties;
  • Chair, Accreditation Committee;
  • Chair, Assessment Committee;
  • Chair, Professional Learning and Development Committee;
  • One (1) member from the Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ);
  • Two (2) Postgraduate Deans,
  • One (1) Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Dean,
  • One (1) Specialty Resident representative, as selected from two nominees from Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC);
  • One (1) Specialty Resident representative, as selected from two nominees from the Fédération des médecins residents du Québec (FMRQ);
  • One (1) public member; and
  • Three (3) Fellows at large. To ensure balance of the committee, these three Fellows should be chosen to include: at least one Specialty Committee Chair, at least one community-based physician, and at least one physician with a focus on Continuing Professional Development.

The CSE also includes the following nine (9) non-voting members who may attend meetings as observers but shall not be counted for the purposes of establishing quorum:

  • Chair, Program Director National Advisory Committee;
  • CPD Chair, National Specialty Society;
  • One (1) non-voting member from the AFMC;
  • One (1) non-voting member from the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC);
  • One (1) non-voting member from the Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS); and
  • One (1) Specialty Resident representative from RDOC
  • One (1) Specialty Resident representative from FMRQ
  • Two (2) non-voting members from the CMQ.

Key Competencies and Characteristics

Generally, committee member attributes should include a broad perspectives; both geographically and on the system of specialization in medical education and practice, and be able to demonstrate a clear understanding of effective medical education policy with respect to the structure and function of the system of specialization in medical education and practice. Committee members should also demonstrate an understanding of the interactions between various disciplines within the system of specialization in medical education and practice.

Term of Office

The usual term of office of the chair is two years, renewable once (maximum of four years). As a standing committee of Council, the chair is appointed from among the current members of Council (Bylaw No. 20, Article 15.1.1).

The usual term of office for members is two years, renewable twice (maximum of six years), except for the chairs of the Committee on Specialty Education’s subcommittees, whose terms are each two years, renewable once (maximum of four years), and for the voting specialty residents, whose terms are each one year, renewable twice (maximum of three years). The terms of office take effect as stipulated so long as the member’s total years of service on the committee do not extend beyond 10 years.

All terms shall begin and end at the time of the Annual Meeting of the Members when vacancies need to be filled.

The chair and all voting members of the committee require appointment by the Executive Committee of Council (or the CEO if it is a midterm appointment). Non-voting members do not require approval of the ECC or the CEO.


The CSE usually meets twice per year. Business may be conducted electronically at the discretion of the committee coordinator.

Quorum consists of a majority of the voting members of the committee (i.e., 50% plus one). The chair is counted as a voting member in constituting quorum. However as the presiding official of the committee, the chair does not move motions. Furthermore, the chair shall only vote when the vote is conducted by secret ballot. Every question shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast. In the event of a tie vote, the question shall be defeated. When a committee is called to make a decision outside of a meeting by e-ballot, the same rules apply.

Appointment to a Royal College committee carries significant responsibilities, and all committee members are expected to adhere to the Volunteer Code of Conduct. In addition, committee members are required to maintain absolute discretion and not divulge, re-produce, or release any confidential information except when authorized by the Royal College. Committee members are permitted to download a copy of committee materials for use solely for the purposes of the Committee. All downloaded materials must be deleted once used for the intended purpose.

Advisory Relationship with the Program Director
National Advisory Committee

Co-chaired by a staff member of the Royal College and the Program Director member of the Committee on Specialty Education, the Program Director National Advisory Committee (PDNAC) provides input to the Committee on Specialty Education via the participation of its chair as a non-voting member.

Last approved by Council on June 20-21, 2019
(Resolution No. 2019/20-18)