CPD activity toolkit
Relationships with speakers and sponsors

Know the ethical standards

All continuing professional development (CPD) activities accredited for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program credits must meet the Canadian Medical Association’s Guidelines for Physicians in Interactions with Industry. and the National Standard of Support for Accredited CPD Activities.

How to mitigate conflict

When planning an event or session, it is imperative to be aware of the potential for a conflict of interest when acquiring sponsorship. The following information can help minimize bias or conflict of interest in events or sessions.

  • Financial sponsors: Arm’s length relationships

It is important to keep an arm’s length relationship with financial sponsors to ensure that bias is minimized during the educational event. The Canadian Medical Association’s policy Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry (Update 2007) (21-24) indicates:

All funds from a commercial source should be in the form of an unrestricted educational grant payable to the institution or organization sponsoring the CME/CPD activity. (Section 26)

The term “unrestricted” educational grant is problematic for commercial sponsors that are under legal obligations to ensure any financial support provided is directed to a specific event or activity. Therefore the Royal College is recommending the use of the term “educational grant” to refer to financial support provided to a specific event. Organizations providing financial support to accredited CPD events cannot have any role or influence over any aspect of the CPD planning process. Physician organizations that receive “educational grants” should provide a statement of account to each sponsoring organization for how funding was allocated or spent.

To make sure there is no confusion with sponsors regarding funds, a letter should be sent to the sponsor(s) indicating that funds will be received in the nature of an educational grant.

  • Speakers: Disclosure is essential

When speakers disclose potential or apparent conflicts of interest, this allows each participant to make an informed decision regarding any potential bias in the information being presented. Speakers may either verbally disclose conflicts of interest or provide written documentation of their relationship with financial supporters in the event brochure.

See a sample conflict of interest disclosure form.

Contact us

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
Email: cpd-accreditation@royalcollege.ca