As Scholars, physicians demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


Physicians acquire scholarly abilities to enhance practice and advance health care. Physicians pursue excellence by continually evaluating the processes and outcomes of their daily work, sharing and comparing their work with that of others, and actively seeking feedback in the interest of quality and patient safety. Using multiple ways of learning, they strive to meet the needs of individual patients and their families* and of the health care system.

Physicians strive to master their domains of expertise and to share their knowledge. As lifelong learners, they implement a planned approach to learning in order to improve in each CanMEDS Role. They recognize the need to continually learn and to model the practice of lifelong learning for others. As teachers they facilitate, individually and through teams, the education of students and physicians in training, colleagues, co-workers, the public, and others. 

Physicians are able to identify pertinent evidence, evaluate it using specific criteria, and apply it in their practice and scholarly activities. Through their engagement in evidence-informed and shared decision-making, they recognize uncertainty in practice and formulate questions to address knowledge gaps. Using skills in navigating information resources, they identify evidence syntheses that are relevant to these questions and arrive at clinical decisions that are informed by evidence while taking patient values and preferences into account.

Finally, physicians’ scholarly abilities allow them to contribute to the application, dissemination, translation, and creation of knowledge and practices applicable to health and health care.


Lifelong learning 

  • Collaborative learning: 1.3 
  • Communities of practice: 1.3 
  • Patient safety: 1.3 
  • Performance assessment: 1.2 
  • Personal learning plan: 1.1 
  • Quality improvement: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 
  • Reflection on practice: 1.2 
  • Seeking feedback: 1.2 
  • Self-improvement: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3


  • Faculty, rotation, and program evaluation: 2.5, 2.6 
  • Formal and informal curricula: 2.1 
  • Hidden curriculum: 2.1 
  • Learner assessment: 2.5, 2.6 
  • Learning outcomes: 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 
  • Mentoring: 2.2, 2.5 
  • Needs assessment: 2.4 
  • Optimization of the learning environment: 2.2 
  • Principles of assessment: 2.6 
  • Providing feedback: 2.5, 2.6 
  • Role-modelling: 2.1, 2.5 
  • Supervision and graded responsibility: 2.3 
  • Teaching and learning: 2.2, 2.4, 2.5

Evidence-informed decision-making 

  • Effect size: 3.3, 3.4 
  • Evidence-based medicine: 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 
  • Evidence synthesis: 3.2, 3.3 
  • External validity: 3.3 
  • Generalizability: 3.3 
  • Information literacy: 3.2 
  • Internal validity: 3.3 
  • Knowledge gaps: 3.1 
  • Knowledge translation: 3.3, 3.4 
  • Quality-appraised evidence-alerting services: 3.2, 3.4 
  • Recognizing bias in research: 3.3 
  • Structured critical appraisal: 3.3 
  • Uncertainty in practice: 3.1


  • Conflict of interest: 4.2, 4.5 
  • Confidentiality: 4.1, 4.2 
  • Informed consent: 4.1 
  • Research: 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.5 
  • Research ethics: 4.2 
  • Research methods: 4.4 
  • Scholarly inquiry: 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5 
  • Scholarship: 4.1, 4.2 
  • Scientific principles: 4.1

Key competencies

Enabling competencies

Physicians are able to: 
  • 1. Engage in the continuous enhancement of their professional activities through ongoing learning
  • 1.1 Develop, implement, monitor, and revise a personal learning plan to enhance professional practice
  • 1.2 Identify opportunities for learning and improvement by regularly reflecting on and assessing their performance using various internal and external data sources 
  • 1.3 Engage in collaborative learning to continuously improve personal practice and contribute to collective improvements in practice
  • 2. Teach students, residents, the public, and other health care professionals
  • 2.1 Recognize the influence of role-modelling and the impact of the formal, informal, and hidden curriculum on learners 
  • 2.2 Promote a safe learning environment 
  • 2.3 Ensure patient safety is maintained when learners are involved 
  • 2.4 Plan and deliver a learning activity 
  • 2.5 Provide feedback to enhance learning and performance 
  • 2.6 Assess and evaluate learners, teachers, and programs in an educationally appropriate manner
  • 3. Integrate best available evidence into practice
  • 3.1 Recognize practice uncertainty and knowledge gaps in clinical and other professional encounters and generate focused questions that address them 
  • 3.2 Identify, select, and navigate pre-appraised resources 
  • 3.3 Critically evaluate the integrity, reliability, and applicability of health-related research and literature 
  • 3.4 Integrate evidence into decision-making in their practice
  • 4. Contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge and practices applicable to health
  • 4.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the scientific principles of research and scholarly inquiry and the role of research evidence in health care 
  • 4.2 Identify ethical principles for research and incorporate them into obtaining informed consent, considering potential harms and benefits, and considering vulnerable populations 
  • 4.3 Contribute to the work of a research program 
  • 4.4 Pose questions amenable to scholarly inquiry and select appropriate methods to address them 
  • 4.5 Summarize and communicate to professional and lay audiences, including patients and their families, the findings of relevant research and scholarly inquiry

* Throughout the CanMEDS 2015 Framework and Milestones Guide, references to the patient’s family are intended to include all those who are personally significant to the patient and are concerned with his or her care, including, according to the patient’s circumstances, family members, partners, caregivers, legal guardians, and substitute decision-makers.


Where are these tools from?

Many of the tools were originally developed for the CanMEDS Teaching and Assessment Tools Guide.

The title codes on the tools are maintained to allow quick cross-referencing between the CanMEDS Tools Guide and this online registry (e.g. T1, T2, A1) 

The tools are part of the Royal College’s commitment to support the roll-out of CanMEDS 2015.

lightbulb in circleTips on using these Tools

  • Many of the Tools are designed to use as-is (i.e. no further work required)
  • Some tools are also available in MSWord format. This allows you to easily manipulate the ‘bones’ of the tool and customize it for your own use
  • When reproducing and modifying the tools, please maintain the footer that acknowledges the source

To maximize the utility of these tools, you should:

  • Clarify the teaching and assessment goals of your specific context;
  • Select the right tools to match the particular needs and goals of your specific context; and
  • Combine Roles and tools in an effective and efficient manner