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 supports policy development in order 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, with the support of its subcommittees, exercises the authority delegated to it by Council and assists Council in overseeing Royal College discipline standards, assessment matters, accreditation decisions and lifelong learning activities.

To fulfill this mandate, the CSE is engaged in the following key tasks:

  • Collaborates with its subcommittees on the development of specialty education-related strategies for Council’s consideration;
  • Approves policies to meet Royal College’s specialty education goals from residency to retirement, unless the policy or amendments represents a significant change in policy direction or will have a significant impact on Royal College Fellows or candidates;
  • Reviews and approves nominations for Academic Certification. Decides (or delegates authority to decide to its subcommittees) 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;
  • Makes recommendations to Council on the direction of Royal College continuing professional development programing;
  • Considers recommendations from the Committee on Specialties for discipline recognition and dispute resolutions and where appropriate, recommends decisions for approval to Council;
  • Informs Council of any strategic decisions made by stakeholders that could impact the Royal College mandate; and,
  • 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.


The CSE has seventeen (17) voting members, including the chair. The Chair is appointed from among the members of Council (Bylaw 22, Article 15.1.1) and is a member of the Executive Committee of Council. 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; and
  • Two sitting Council members, in addition to the CSE Chair.

The CSE also includes the following eight (8) 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
  • One (1) non-voting member 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.

Committee members should possess the ability and willingness to meet the strategic directions of the Royal College and the willingness to participate effectively in committee meetings.

Term of Office

The usual term of office of the chair is two years, renewable once (maximum of four years).

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 CSE usually meets three times per year. Business may be conducted electronically at the discretion of the committee coordinator and Chair.

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 may download a copy of committee materials for the sole purpose of participating in committee work. All downloaded materials must be deleted once the related committee work is completed. The Royal College retains copies of committee materials should committee members wish to access them at a later time for related work.

Committee work product

In the course of performing their committee duties, committee members may produce or contribute to materials, content or other work products. These work products and the related intellectual property will be owned by the Royal College. The Royal College is open to discussing other ownership arrangements for specific projects. Alternative arrangements must be confirmed in writing by the project contributors and the Royal College.

TOR record

Most recent resolution: Resolution No. 2023-2024-15
Previous resolution(s): Resolution No. 2021/2022-09, Resolution No. 2020/2021-12, Resolution No. 2019/2020-18
Approved by: Council
Approval Date: September 6, 2023
Approval path: GC, Council
Effective date: September 6, 2023
Date of next review: Spring 2025
Royal College Office: OSA
Version status: Approved