Royal College Contributor – Orientation & Support Resources

Welcome and thank you for contributing your skills and talents to the Royal College!

For almost 100 years, passionate professionals such as yourselves have been contributing in service of the Royal College’s vision of advancing learning for specialist physicians to deliver the best health care for all.

Fellows were an integral part of the Royal College back when it was founded in 1929, and remain so today. Our 100th anniversary is in 2029, which means you’re contributing during the Royal College’s Centennial Decade!

About the Royal College

We partner with patients, Fellows, residents and others in the health care community to:

  • Lead specialty medical education, assessment and accreditation standards;
  • promote the specialist physician role through research, advocacy and health policy;
  • enable specialist physicians to adapt and continuously improve; and
  • foster patient trust and confidence in specialist physicians.

Together, these elements both provide the foundation and set the aspirations of the Royal College, and have guided the development of our new Strategic Plan 2021-2023

Read highlights in our Annual Review.

Overview of Governance and closer look at our Committee Structure.

Quick links to our policies, procedures and guidelines

   Royal College Policy on Conflicts of Interest (Competing Interests)

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada seeks and depends on the involvement of members and others who are active in many spheres of professional life, particularly education, clinical care, and administration. These individuals also have personal interests which may include those of family members and close associates. Occasions will arise when the personal and professional interests of individuals may have actual, potential or apparent influence over their judgment and actions on behalf of the College and its programs. These competing interests, commonly called “conflicts of interest,” cannot always be eliminated but they can be managed to assure that the trust of the public, Fellows, those in training, and the employees of the College is honoured and maintained. Having competing interests is not evidence of wrong-doing but the maintenance of trust requires that real and even apparent or potential conflict must be addressed.

This policy applies to activities undertaken on behalf of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. It is intended to address competing interests in those who are acting in good faith but whose judgment may come under other influences. Examples might include personal advantage through academic or career advancement, financial gain, or benefit to family, friends, or colleagues. The interests of another institution such as a university or professional society may also be influences on judgement or conduct.

This policy is also meant to complement the ongoing application of specific conflict of interest policies in the Offices of the Chief Executive Officer, Education, Financial and Administrative Services, Human Resources and Professional Development and codes of conduct adopted by the Royal College (e.g., Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, Update 2004).

This policy does not address intentional misconduct or criminal activity.

Recognizing that declaration of a conflict is not the same as resolving it, disclosure is still the first step in managing competing interests. A second step is to recuse and absent oneself from decision making when competing interests are strong enough to have the potential to influence judgment.

The following are examples of situations which will inevitably lead to the perception of conflict.

Members of committees should not contribute to decisions which affect themselves, their institutions or close colleagues.

The Accreditation and Credentials Committees already have such policies which may serve as examples.

Members of awards committees should not be considered for awards during and for an appropriate period after their terms on the committee. Being absent from a meeting is not adequate separation.

Members of nominating committees should not themselves be nominated during or for an appropriate period after their term.

Some limitations must be placed on the employed staff of the College.

Except for ex officio membership, staff members and their immediate families should not be appointed to College committees.

Staff members and members of their immediate family should not be principal applicants grants and awards from the College and should not derive any direct financial benefit from grants in which they are co-applicants.


  1. All members of Royal College committees, including Council and Executive, and all members of the Royal College staff should at all times consider whether they may have competing interests in exercising judgment and in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
  2. The Royal College should provide guidance through distribution of this policy to all new staff and committee members. At the beginning of each new term and as required in the conduct of committee business, committee chairs should raise the subject of competing interests, with examples, and ask committee members and staff to be mindful of potential conflicts. A statement committing committee members to declaration of actual or potential conflicts will be incorporated into the “RCPSC Acceptance of Committee Appointment Form.”
  3. Those who perceive that they may have a competing interest that might be regarded as influencing their judgment or actions should disclose it to the chair of their committee or, in the case of staff, to their appropriate supervisor or director.
  4. Chairs of committees should disclose potential competing interests to the members of the committee or the relevant Director.
  5. Members of Council should disclose to the President.
  6. Members of the Executive Committee of Council and the CEO should disclose to the President or to the Executive Committee.
  7. When a competing interest is declared, the chair of the committee and senior staff will help the committee or staff member to determine an appropriate course of action. For committee members, consultation with the members of the committee concerned should be considered. In most cases, leaving the room while the matter concerned is discussed will be an adequate solution.
  8. If a member of a committee or staff member is aware of a competing interest on the part of another person that has not been declared the potential for conflict should first be discussed with that person. Failing resolution in that discussion, the conflict should be disclosed in good faith and confidentially to the chair of the committee or appropriate senior staff member. When the chair of a committee has an undeclared and unresolved potential conflict, the Royal College President should be notified.
  9. Failure to disclose a competing interest that may result in the perception or apprehension of improper influence on decision-making in Royal College business should be addressed in the first instance by the committee concerned. If the situation is not resolved by such consideration, the matter should be referred through the CEO for arbitration by an impartial panel drawn from members of Council.

Approved by Council, September 2007 (Resolution No. 2007–38)    

Understanding the Risks of Cyber Security

We at the Royal College are concerned by cyber security threats, and would like to offer you some suggestions that will reduce the risk of your computer being compromised. In addition to using up to date anti virus and firewalls on your computer, please consider these tips to protect yourself against attacks that your anti-virus can’t prevent.

Public Wi-Fi

Exercise caution when using public wi fi, especially in coffee shops, airports or hotels. Wi fi is an easy target for cybercriminals.

  • Do not access sensitive data when using public wi fi
  • Avoid logging into sites that require passwords
  • Verify the name of the correct wi fi network with staff who provide it
  • Turn off wi fi or turn on ‘airplane mode’ when you’re not using it
  • Sign up for and use a personal VPN service, if possible


Hackers send emails and pretend to be a credible company or individual, in order to get the recipient to share confidential or personal information.

  • Never share confidential information
  • Be wary if you sense an urgency in the email
  • Delete emails from strangers
  • Verify that the link actually points to the correct site before clicking

External storage

Cybercriminals specifically target USB drives and portable storage devices.

  • Do not use it unless you know the origin of the drive
  • Do not store sensitive data on USB drives
  • Encrypt the data on the USB drive
  • Use separate USBs for personal & business
  • Always store them in the same place to minimize the risk of losing them
  • *Required reading for first timers

What to expect before you start

We want you to be comfortable with your role and responsibilities & clear on the support you will receive from us. Your primary contact is here to support you, and will work with you to ensure that you have everything you need to be successful. Speak with your contact about your needs.

Before you begin, you can expect that your primary Royal College contact will make sure that you receive information covering:

  • Overview of your Committee’s priorities and Terms of Reference, or overview of your project/initiative;
  • Your specific role, term and the context of your role within the Royal College (including expectations, boundaries and limits);
  • Any role-specific policies you need to read;
  • A list of the other members on your committee, working group, or project team
  • Workplans, deliverables, timelines;
  • What will be expected of you in your first meeting;
  • Background reading or prep material; and
  • Any software programs (e.g., Webex, Zoom) that you will need to use in your role.
  • Individual units, committees and project teams may offer additional resources, such as matching you with a mentor or providing access to learning modules relevant to your role.

Thank you for your commitment to the Royal College and specialty medical education. We look forward to welcoming you to the team!

History and Heritage

You’re playing a crucial role by being a part of 90+ years of Royal College history where dedicated physicians and health care collaborators continue to envision, lead, shape and re-shape and medical education and better patient care in Canada.

In June 1929, an act of Parliament established the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to stimulate postgraduate study and promote higher standards of medical service with the establishment of two divisions: Medicine and Surgery. Initially Certification and/or Fellowship was limited to professors of Medicine, Surgery, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Now, the Royal College recognizes almost 100 specialties, subspecialties, special programs and Areas of Focused Competence (AFC-diplomas).

The first final examinations in General Surgery and Medicine were administered by the Royal College in 1932. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, there was significant expansion into new disciplines recognized by the Royal College at the certification and Fellowship levels.

Other key milestones in the Royal College’s development include:

  • the approvals of hospital programs and facilities for specialty residency training in 1947, a first step in the organization’s accreditation activities;
  • the addition of the Royal College’s role in advancing health and public policy in its Letters Patent of Continuance in 1972; and
  • the establishment of the Royal College Canada International (RCI) in 2011 to serve as the Royal College’s mechanism for facilitating international initiatives.

Learn more in the History and Heritage section. Just as you evolve your specialties to meet modern specialist and patient needs, we are committed to evolving how we support your contributions by providing an equitable and inclusive environment. Read the Roadmap for more.