Specialty Committee Chairs’ Update

November - December 2021

Specialty Committee Chairs’ Workshop 2021

On behalf of the Specialties Unit and the Office of Specialty Education, we would like to thank all of the chairs and chair-elects that attended the 2021 Specialty Committee Chairs’ Workshop. This was the second edition of the fully-virtual workshop. While we expect to be together in-person in 2022, we are taking the lessons learned so we can prepare for a hybrid workshop and tailor the sessions to the needs of both in-person and virtual participants. The slide decks from all of the presentations and resource materials prepared for you were available on the Chime site until December 15. Please note that only chairs and chair-elects have access to the site. Please reach out to your specialty committee administrator if were unable to retrieve materials, or did not have access.

In spring 2022 the Specialties Unit will reach out to all chairs and chair-elects to participate in the planning of the workshop and join the planning subcommittee. Please consider joining the subcommittee and assisting the Specialties Unit with preparing a relevant and engaging program.

Returning to in-person meetings

We have heard from many of you and your committee members about your enthusiasm for a return to in-person meetings. The Royal College has set April 1, 2022 as the date after which in-person meetings can again be scheduled and supported. While this is the planned date currently, it is possible that it may change depending on public health directives. We will provide updates if a decision is made to adjust the date.

At the Specialty Committee Chairs’ Workshop in November, important details were highlighted regarding the return to in-person meetings.

On-site at the Royal College

  • Not before April 1, 2022.
  • The Royal College Vaccination Policy will be in effect from November 29, 2021. Proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within past 72 hours will be required in order to enter the Royal College headquarters.
  • Meeting room capacity is currently limited due to public health spacing guidelines. This may still be the case when in-person meetings resume, which will have an impact on our overall capacity to host on-site meetings.
  • The Royal College is upgrading the audio-visual technology in our meeting rooms to improve the experience for those participating in meetings virtually.

Off-site meetings in Ottawa or in conjunction with a national specialty society meeting

  • Not before April 1, 2022.
  • Public health guidelines will impact the capacity of meeting rooms, and will likely vary by province/territory.
  • Vaccination requirements will depend on the venue.
  • Audio-visual technology, internet stability, and costs will vary by venue. We may not be able to support hybrid meetings of the same quality as can be expected of meetings hosted at the Royal College. 

If you are considering an in-person meeting after April 1, 2022, please contact your administrator at specialtycommittees@royalcollege.ca to coordinate the details.  Your administrator will send a save-the-date to your committee, however travel booking for eligible members via the Royal College’s travel service Encore Travel will not start until 2022.  We ask that members do not book travel once the save-the-date is sent, the Specialties Unit will send instructions on how and when to book travel in the new year.

International Conference on Residency Education

We are thrilled to be returning to an in-person delivery of ICRE 2022! Join us for the 2022 International Conference on Residency Education in, Montréal, Québec from October 27 to 29, 2022.

The call for abstracts is now open, inviting you to submit your research in residency education, and/or ‘What Works’ - Innovations in Residency Teaching and Assessment. Deadline for submissions is January 7, 2022. Submission details are available on the ICRE website.

Full conference information and registration will be available in Spring 2022.

Committee on Specialties Update

At the fall 2021 Committee on Specialties (COS) meeting, which took place virtually on November 4 and 5, the following outcomes were determined:

Recognition of disciplines: AFCs

The COS considered and approved the following application for recognition as an AFC discipline:

  • Adult glomerular diseases (Part I)
  • Neuromuscular medicine (Part I)
  • Spine surgery (Part II)

The next deadline for interested AFC applicants to apply for Part I review is February 1, 2022, for consideration during the spring 2022 meeting. We strongly encourage applicants to submit draft documents well in advance to cos@royalcollege.ca, so that our office and senior clinician staff can review them and provide guidance, as needed.

Change requests

  • The COS determined that a request from the AFC in Targeted Neonatal Echocardiography to change its name to Neonatal Hemodynamics and Targeted Neonatal Echocardiography represented a minor change. As per the policy governing discipline name change requests, a public notice of intent toward the change will be published on the Royal College website, inviting feedback from stakeholders.

Discipline reviews – regular review and monitoring reports

Seven discipline reviews were conducted during the fall 2021 meeting, consisting of four regular reviews and three monitoring reports:

  • Child Maltreatment Pediatrics
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Critical Care Medicine
  • Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
  • Occupational Medicine
  • Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
  • Solid Organ Transplantation

Special review of AFCs

Six special reviews of AFCs were conducted during the fall 2021 meeting:

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology
  • Adult Echocardiography
  • Adult Interventional Cardiology
  • Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine
  • Trauma General Surgery

The next COS meeting will be held virtually on April 13 and 14, 2022.

CanMEDs Update

New program director handbook

We are happy to announce the serialized release of an e-book for new program directors. Designed and written by current and past program directors, the various chapters assist new program directors to understand and prepare for their role. As new chapters are finalized, they’ll be added to the book. Come back regularly to see the latest additions like: CanMEDS/Competence by Design (CBD) an example of curricular change, curriculum mapping, resident selection, physician burnout and the impact on resident well-being, identifying and supporting the resident in difficulty and more.

Click here for a link to the Program Director Handbook.

For more information, contact us at canmeds@royalcollege.ca

Post-launch CBD booster

The post-launch CBD booster engages recently launched disciplines in a discussion about the launch and explores your implementation questions. Join us to address implementation issues, troubleshoot problems, share experiences, and answer your CBD questions. Registration details will be sent directly to all program directors of the disciplines that launched in July 2021. For more information, contact us at cbd@royalcollege.ca

Upcoming CBD webinars

The Royal College is committed engaging CBD stakeholders and make it easier for them to find relevant CBD information, and to be more transparent about our progress. Since 2017, the CanMEDS and Faculty Development team and content expert leads have presented 27 CBD webinars. Upcoming webinars include:

  • Teaching and Learning in CBD: January 12, 2022 from 1400 to 1500 eastern
  • Developing a Growth Mindset: January 28, 2022 from 1100 to 1200 eastern

For more information, contact us at cbd@royalcollege.ca

Accreditation Update

Regular accreditation reviews

The post-accreditation review input for programs at Université de Montréal was received from specialty committees in the fall, with decisions made by the Residency Accreditation Committee (Res-AC) at its meeting in October. Off-cycle program reviews were decided at an additional meeting in late-November. The regular accreditation review of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine was conducted virtually in November 2021, and the post-accreditation review input will be collected from specialty committees shortly. The next meeting of the Res-AC in February 2022 will consist primarily of decisions for off-cycle reviews and program applications.

Upcoming regular accreditation reviews

UniversityReview DateRes-AC Review Date
Northern Ontario School of MedicineFall 2021Spring 2022
University of ManitobaSpring 2022Fall 2022
University of CalgaryFall 2022Winter 2023

Impact of COVID-19

The Canadian Residency Accreditation Consortium (CanRAC) continues evaluate and iterate the delivery of virtual accreditation activities and will use those results, along with observations and direct feedback from staff and stakeholders, to determine future plans once there is a possibility of resuming in-person activities. CanRAC is actively exploring the feasibility of incorporating certain aspects of virtual reviews in future accreditation processes, without compromising the integrity of the review; more details to come as such hybrid models are developed.

Anti-racism and the promotion of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI)

Work continues to develop recommendations for establishing anti-racist practices, policies, and standards within accreditation. The main drivers of these recommendations are the conjoint Accreditation Working Group on Anti-Black Racism, led by Black residents and faculty and chaired by Kannin Osei-Tutu, MSc, MD, CCFP; and the Indigenous Health in Specialty Postgraduate Medical Education Accreditation Expert Working Group, comprised of both Indigenous and accreditation stakeholders and guided by Ryan Giroux, MD, FRCPC.

Canadian Excellence in Residency Accreditation (CanERA)

To support the ongoing transition to CanERA, an interactive online training module specific to specialty committee voting members is available at www.canera.ca under the Training, Tools and Support tab. Efforts are also underway to develop and pilot additional training to support specialty committee members.

All specialty committee members are also encouraged to visit the CanERA website (www.canera.ca) often, as it is updated with the latest CanERA news and information. The website includes the new general standards, frequently asked questions (e.g., CBD in the context of accreditation), and other CanERA-specific information that may be of interest.

AFC accreditation

The new accreditation system for AFC programs was fully launched on July 1, 2021. This includes new standards, processes, and the use of the digital accreditation management system, CanAMS, for all accreditation activities thereby further aligning AFC accreditation with the processes and platform already in place for PGME institutions and residency programs. An FAQ regarding the changes is available on the Royal College website, including a link to the new general standards of accreditation. The new discipline-specific standards of accreditation for each AFC are available through the Information by Discipline database.

New program application deadlines

AFC program applications will be reviewed by the AFC-AC according to the table below.

Application Submission DeadlineAFC-AC Review Date
October 15, 2021Winter 2022
January 31, 2022Spring 2022
May 31, 2022Fall 2022

AFC programs

There are currently 59 accredited AFC (diploma) programs that have been approved by the Areas of Focused Competence – Accreditation Committee (AFC-AC) in 18 disciplines. These programs are in the following disciplines:

  • Adult Echocardiography (5),
  • Adult Hepatology (3),
  • Adult Interventional Cardiology (8),
  • Adult Thrombosis Medicine (3),
  • Adult and Young Adult Oncology (1),
  • Brachytherapy (3),
  • Child Maltreatment Pediatrics (2),
  • Clinician Educator (2),
  • Cytopathology (4),
  • Hyperbaric Medicine (1),
  • Pediatric Urology (1),
  • Prehospital and Transport Medicine (1),
  • Sleep Disorder Medicine (3),
  • Solid Organ Transplantation (6),
  • Transfusion Medicine (3), and
  • Trauma General Surgery (2).

International Residency Accreditation

There are currently seven international Accredited Institutions in five countries. Residency programs under the jurisdiction of these institutions are eligible to apply for Royal College accreditation. To date 10 international program applications in six disciplines have been submitted and there are currently 3 accredited programs. The remainder are still in progress or under review.

New Accredited ProgramsAnatomical Pathology (1),
Internal Medicine (2)
Accreditation in ProgressSurgical Foundations (1),
Pediatrics (2)
Deferred1Emergency Medicine1

1 A deferred status indicates that additional information is required within one year before proceeding to an onsite review.

International residency program accreditation application process

The international residency program accreditation application two-step process involves the submission of an application form followed by an onsite review to verify and validate information before a final decision is made on accreditation status. Voting members of specialty committees are asked to review both the application form and the onsite review report to inform a decision of the International (residency) Program Review and Accreditation Committee (IPR-AC) at each step. The process is comparable to the specialty committee review of a Pre-Survey Questionnaire (PSQ) and accreditation review report in the Canadian accreditation system. As applications in additional disciplines are expected, the Educational Standards Unit will work directly with those specialty committees to provide a tailored briefing on the international program accreditation process, and provide support as needed throughout the process.

Area of Focused Competence (AFC) Update

Our work continues to reform the AFC program following the program evaluation in 2018. The focus in 2022 will be on completing the remaining enabling actions as we continue to streamline and improve our operations and processes. The following are highlights of work that you can expect to see next year:

Formalizing a shuttering plan for eDiploma

At this time, no new users are permitted to enroll in the platform and the vast majority of those already enrolled no longer use it, having completed training in the new model of assessment (no external assessment of portfolios by the Royal College). The forthcoming shuttering plan will take into consideration the accredited programs that requested continued access to eDiploma for current trainees when the new model of assessment was launched. The shuttering plan will include a significant phase-out period, providing ample time for users to extract files from the platform. Feedback from chairs on the shuttering plan will be sought prior to finalization and implementation.

Supporting the remaining disciplines to open their reformed practice route (PER-AFC)

The following eight AFC disciplines opened new, reformed PER-AFC in 2021, with an additional five or six expected to open before the end of 2021:

  • Brachytherapy
  • Child Maltreatment Pediatrics
  • Clinician Educator
  • Cytopathology
  • Hyperbaric Medicine
  • Pediatric Urology
  • Prehospital and Transport Medicine
  • Sleep Disorder Medicine

Following the opening of each new route, the Credentials Unit will meet with the AFC sub-/committee to provide guidance on standardization and calibration as the first candidates come forward for assessment from the discipline. Prehospital and Transport Medicine and Hyperbaric Medicine have assessed their first candidates, seeing four new Diplomates come through the reformed route.

Continuing to improve findability of AFC content on the website

While the new landing page for AFCs is designed, improvements continue for web content and overall stakeholder communications. An overview of the assessment process and instructions to candidates for both the in-training route and the practice eligibility route are now available online. We welcome your feedback on this new content and other areas where our communications can be improved.

New resources to promote AFC disciplines and the Royal College credential

New resources for AFC chairs and committees to promote AFC disciplines and improve visibility of the credential are prioritized. As highlighted during the Specialty Committee Chairs’ Workshop, a new resource kit will be launched in the new year and will include a customizable presentation deck and checklist of best practices. If you would like to pilot test the deck in an upcoming presentation or meeting, please contact the AFC program manager

Credentialing former AFC trainees

Earlier this fall, the Royal College Policy on AFC Assessment and Credentialing (in-training route) was amended to permit former trainees from accredited AFC programs to come forward for the credential through their program until July 1, 2023. If you did not receive a copy of the stakeholder memorandum or have questions, please let us know

Committee on Specialties special review of AFCs

The first cohort of disciplines to undergo a special review was considered by COS in early November. The next cohort, consisting of the following disciplines, will be reviewed by COS in April 2022:

  • Acute Care Point of Care Ultrasonography
  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Adult Thrombosis Medicine
  • Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation
  • Pediatric Urology
  • Prehospital and Transport Medicine

Chairs of these disciplines can expect to receive the root cause analysis package on February 7, with a response required by March 11, 2022.

We encourage you to visit the SCC Update archives for previous progress reports on AFC reform. Let us know how we are doing or what’s on your mind by contacting the AFC Program Manager, Linda Rumleski.