How to Identify a Physician Organization

A Checklist

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A physician organization is defined by the Royal College as a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through

  • continuing professional development,
  • provision of health care, and/or
  • research

The physician organization is accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through a governance structure that enables the membership to vote on strategic directions and initiatives of the organization as a whole.

Examples of physician organizations:

  • faculties of medicine
  • hospital departments or divisions
  • medical societies, associations and academies
  • physician research organizations
  • health authorities not linked to government agencies
  • Canadian provincial/territorial medical regulatory authorities (MRAs)

This definition excludes:

  • pharmaceutical companies and their advisory groups;
  • medical and surgical supply companies;
  • medical device companies;
  • communication companies: and,
  • other for-profit organizations and ventures/activities.

Examples of other groups that are not considered physician organizations:

  • disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations
  • government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • medical education or communications (MEC) companies
  • for-profit online educators, publishing companies or simulation companies
  • small groups of physicians working together to develop educational programming

If you are able to check each criterion, the organization meets the definition of a physician organization.

Name of Organization:

  • ☐  The organization is not-for-profit.

    Refer to the Canadian government website for federal corporations

  • ☐  The organization has a governance structure such as a Board of Directors.

    Refer to the “About Us” section on their website.

  • ☐  The organization has a membership comprised of individual specialist physicians?

    Refer to the “Membership” section on their website.

    • ☐  Membership goes beyond receiving a newsletter.
    • ☐  There is a membership that is not solely comprised of the Board of Directors.
    • ☐  There is defined criteria on who is eligible to be a member.
    • ☐  There are defined expectations of members such as payment of dues.

  • ☐  The organization is accountable to a membership comprised of individual physicians.

    Refer to their website to determine if they have an annual general meeting for their membership.

    • ☐  The membership can vote at regularly scheduled meetings, such as annual general meetings, regarding strategic direction of the organization as a whole.


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CPD Accreditation Coordinator
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
774 Echo Drive
Ottawa ON K1S 5N8
Telephone: 613-730-2587; toll-free 1-800-668-3740, ext. 587