CPD Activity Accreditation Standards for the
Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program
Self-Assessment Programs (Section 3)
January 2018 (v.3)
In order for an activity to be accredited in the Royal College Maintenance of Certification
(MOC) Program, it must be developed or co-developed with a physician organization,
planned to meet the following accreditation activity standards, and reviewed by a Royal
College accredited CPD provider.
Part A: Administrative Standards
Administrative Standard 1: All accredited self-assessment programs must be developed or
co-developed by a physician organization as defined by the Royal College.
A physician organization is a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal
governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its specialist physician
members through continuing professional development, provision of health care and/or
This definition includes (but is not limited to) the following groups:
- Faculties of medicine
- Hospital departments or divisions
- Medical societies
- Medical associations
- Medical academies
- Physician research organizations
- Health authorities not linked to government agencies
The physician organization(s) developing or co-developing a CPD activity is responsible to
ensure that all accreditation standards are met and to submit the application to an accredited
Note: Accredited CPD providers are permitted to self-approve CPD activities they have
Types of organizations that are not considered physician organizations
- Pharmaceutical companies or their advisory groups
- Medical/surgical supply companies
- Disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association)
- Government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
- Industry (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, etc.)
- Medical education or communications (MEC) companies (e.g. CME Inc.)
- 'For-profit' on-line educators, publishing companies or simulation companies (e.g. Medscape, CAE)
- Small number of physicians working together to develop educational programming
- Any other for-profit organizations/ventures
All activities must be developed by a planning committee that is representative of the target
See Part C - Ethical Standards for additional requirements for the planning committee.
Administrative Standard 2: All accredited self-assessment programs must have a self-assessment development or scientific planning committee (SPC) that is representative of the
All CPD activities must be developed by a scientific planning committee (SPC) that is
representative of the target audience. The target audience is defined as the specific group of
physicians, specialist or other healthcare professionals CPD activity will be aimed. Therefore
the target audience must be determined from the inception of the CPD activity so that the SPC
can be chosen accordingly.
There is no minimum or maximum number of members required to sit on the SPC. Best
practice would suggest that if the CPD activity is aimed at only one specialty, representatives
with other demographic factors should be included on the SPC to allow for more
comprehensive representation from within a singular target audience.
The SPC is ultimately responsible for the following program elements:
- Identification of the educational needs of the target audience
- Development of educational objectives
- Selection of educational methods
- Selection of all individuals (planning committee members, faculty) or organizations in a
position to control the development of content
- Development and delivery of content
- Evaluation of outcomes
Administrative Standard 3: All accredited self-assessment programs must maintain
attendance records and provide participants with a certificate of participation that includes the
appropriate accreditation statement(s).
A certificate of participation or written confirmation signed by the chair of the planning
committee must be issued to participants for all accredited self-assessment programs. The
certificate must specify the following elements:
- The title of the activity.
- The name of the physician organization (and co-developer if applicable) responsible for
- The date(s) the activity took place.
- The location of the activity (i.e. city, country, web-based).
- The total number of hours for which the activity is accredited.
- The number of hours the registrant attended the activity (or a blank space for the
registrant to complete themselves).
- All applicable accreditation statements (include co-development statement when
The physician organization is responsible for maintaining attendance records for a 5 year period.
Part B: Educational Standards
Educational Standard 1: The self-assessment program must be planned to address the
identified needs of the target audience with a specific subject area, topic or problem.
Self-Assessment Programs must be based on a needs assessment of the target audience that
must be performed to identify areas of knowledge, skills, performance and/or health outcomes
that the CPD activity intends to address or improve. The needs assessments can identify
either perceived or unperceived needs and should be used to inform:
- the development of learning objectives
- the identification of appropriate educational or delivery methods
- the selection of relevant educational content
- the development of evaluation strategies.
Educational Standard 2: Learning objectives that address the identified needs of the target
audience must be created for the overall program and each individual module (if applicable).
Learning objectives must be printed on the program, brochure and/or handout materials.
The identified learning needs of the target audience should be utilized in the
creation/development of the learning objectives.
Learning objectives must clearly describe the intent of the educational activity, be written
from the perspective of the learner, and express the expected outcomes determined by the
Scientific Planning Committee and faculty.
Learning objectives must be made available to participants prior to the activity and must be
incorporated into the evaluation strategy (See Educational Standard 6). The planning
committee must ensure that the selected educational methods and delivery are consistent
with the identified need(s) and stated learning objectives as well.
Educational Standard 3: Self-assessment programs must describe the methods that enable
participants to demonstrate or apply knowledge, skills, clinical judgment and/or attitudes.
Self-assessment programs must provide participants with a strategy to assess their
knowledge, skills, clinical judgment and/or attitudes in comparison to an established scientific
evidence base (clinical practice guidelines, meta-analysis or systematic review, etc.).
All self-assessment programs must use methods that enable participants to demonstrate these
abilities across the key areas of the subject area, topic or problem(s). The selected format
must also enable participants to review their current knowledge or skills in relation to current
Educational standard 4: All accredited self-assessment programs must provide participants
with a process to record their answers to the assessment questions.
Recording answers to each assessment question will enable the self-assessment program to
provide participants with a summary of their responses to each question.
Educational Standard 5: The self-assessment program must provide detailed feedback to
participants on their performance to enable the identification of any areas requiring
improvement through the development of a future learning plan.
Providing specific feedback on which answers were correct and incorrect with references
enables specialists to determine if there are important aspects of their knowledge, skills,
clinical judgment or attitudes that need to be addressed through engaging in further learning
You may also wish to include a reflective tool that provides participants with an opportunity to
- Knowledge or skills that are up-to-date or consistent with current evidence
- Any deficiencies or opportunities they identified for further learning
- What learning strategies will be pursued to address these deficiencies; and
- An action plan or commitment to change to address any anticipated barriers
Educational Standard 6: The self-assessment program must provide participants with an
opportunity to evaluate the overall program and each individual module (if applicable).
Accredited self-assessment programs must provide participants with an opportunity to
evaluate each individual module(s), if applicable, and the overall CPD activity. The evaluation
- Allow participants to identify whether the individual session and overall CPD activity
learning objectives were met;
- Ask participants to identify whether the content was balanced and free of commercial
or other inappropriate bias;
- Provide opportunities for participants to identify the potential impact of the CPD
activity for their practice.
Additional evaluation strategies may include:
- An intent to measure improved patient performance
- An intent to measure improved health care outcomes
- An option for participants to receive feedback related to their learning
Part C: Ethical standards
Note: All activities accredited after January 1, 2018 must comply with the National Standard for support of accredited CPD activities. The Standard applies to all situations where financial
and in-kind support is accepted to contribute to the development, delivery and/or evaluation
of accredited CPD activities.
Element 1: Independence
This section describes the membership, roles, responsibilities and decision authority of a
scientific planning committee.
- 1 Every accredited CPD activity must have an SPC that includes representatives of the
intended target audience. The SPC is the group responsible for all decisions noted
throughout the Standard.
- 2 The SPC may consider data or advice from all sources, but must ensure that decision-making related to the following CPD program elements is under its exclusive control:
- Identification of the educational needs of the intended target audience;
- Development of learning objectives;
- Selection of educational methods;
- Selection of speakers, moderators, facilitators and authors;
- Development and delivery of content; and
- Evaluation of outcomes.
- 3 Representatives of a sponsor or any organization hired by a sponsor cannot participate
in decisions related to CPD program elements a) through f) within 1.2.
Element 2: Content Development
This section describes the processes and requirements for members of the SPC and speakers to
develop content that is responsive to the needs of the intended target audience.
- 1 The SPC must have mechanisms in place to support the development of content and/or
materials that address the identified educational needs of the intended target audience.
Specific interests of any sponsor must have no direct or indirect influence on the content
and/or materials of an accredited CPD activity.
- 2 A process must be in place to ensure that those responsible for developing or delivering
content are informed about:
- the identified needs of the target audience,
- the need to ensure that the content and/or materials presented provide (where
applicable) a balanced view across all relevant options related to the content
- the intended learning objectives for the activity,
- ensuring that the description of therapeutic options utilize generic names (or both
generic and trade names) and not reflect exclusivity and branding.
- 3 The SPC must have a process to collect from participants their assessment of the degree
to which the accredited CPD activity:
- met the stated learning objectives,
- achieved appropriate balance,
- was perceived to be biased.
- 4 The SPC must have a process in place to deal with instances where CPD activities are not
in compliance with the Standard.
Element 3: Conflict of interest
This section describes the processes and requirements for gathering, managing and disclosing
conflicts of interest to participants.
- 1 All members of the scientific planning committee (SPC), speakers, moderators,
facilitators and authors must provide to the SPC a written description of all relationships
with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations over the previous 2 years including (but
not necessarily limited to):
- Any direct financial payments including receipt of honoraria;
- Membership on advisory boards or speakers’ bureaus;
- Funded grants or clinical trials;
- Patents on a drug, product or device; and
- All other investments or relationships that could be seen by a reasonable, well-informed participant as having the potential to influence the content of the
- 2 The SPC is responsible to review all disclosed financial relationships of speakers,
moderators, facilitators and authors in advance of the CPD activity to determine whether
action is required to manage potential or real conflicts of interest. The SPC must also
have procedures in place to be followed if a conflict of interest comes to its attention
prior to or during the CPD activity.
- 3 All members of the SPC, speakers, moderators, facilitators, and authors, must disclose
to participants their relationships as described in 3.1
- 4 Any individual who fails to disclose their relationships as described in 3.1 and 3.3 cannot
participate as a member of the SPC, speaker, moderator, facilitator or author of an
accredited CPD activity.
Element 4: Receiving Financial and in-kind Support
This section provides a description of the requirements for the scientific planning committee
(SPC) in receiving and distributing financial and in-kind support.
- 1 The SPC is responsible to receive any financial and in-kind support for the development
of an accredited CPD activity.
- 2 The SPC cannot be required to accept advice from a sponsor as a condition of receiving
financial and in-kind support. Specific interests of any sponsor must have no direct or
indirect influence on any aspect of the development, delivery or evaluation of an
accredited CPD activity.
- 3 The terms, conditions and purposes by which sponsorship is provided must be
documented in a written agreement signed by the SPC and the sponsor.
- 4 The SPC can assume or delegate to a third party the payment of travel, lodging,
legitimate out of pocket expenses and any honoraria offered to members of the SPC,
speakers, moderators, facilitators and/or authors. The SPC must approve what payments
are delegated and retain overall accountability for these payments.
- 5 Participants (who are not members of the SPC, speakers, moderators, facilitators and/or
authors) cannot accept payment or subsidies for their travel, lodging or other out of
pocket expenses to participate in an accredited CPD activity. This provision does not
preclude participants’ claiming and receiving compensation from residency programs,
employers or provincial CPD support funds, even when activities they attend have
received support from these sources.
- 6 The travel, lodging or other out of pocket expenses of spouses, partners or other family
members of: the SPC, speakers, moderators, facilitators, authors or participants cannot
be paid for or subsidized by the CPD provider organization, sponsor or any organization
hired by a sponsor.
- 7 Social activities associated with CPD activities cannot occur at a time or location that
interferes/competes with or takes precedence over accredited CPD activities.
- 8 Upon request, the SPC must disclose how the financial and in-kind support was used for
the accredited CPD activity.
- 9 The SPC has an obligation to ensure that their interactions with sponsors meet
professional and legal standards including the protection of privacy, confidentiality,
copyright and contractual law regulations.
Element 5: Recognizing Financial and in-kind Support
This section provides a description of the requirements for the SPC in recognizing financial and
in-kind support received from sponsors.
- 1 The SPC must recognize and disclose to participants all financial and in-kind support
received from sponsors of CPD activities as part of a sponsorship acknowledgement page
separate from the educational content.
- 2 Beyond the standard acknowledgement statement of financial and in-kind support
outlined in 5.1, the linking or alignment of a sponsor’s name (or other branding
strategies) to a specific educational session or section of an educational program within
an accredited CPD learning activity is prohibited.
Element 6: Managing Commercial Promotion
This section defines the requirements related to exhibits and the types of materials that can and
cannot be displayed.
Element 6: Managing Commercial Promotion
This section defines the requirements related to exhibits and the types of materials that can and
cannot be displayed.
- 1 Product-specific advertising, promotional materials or branding strategies cannot be
included on, appear within, or be adjacent to:
- any educational materials, slides, abstracts and handouts used as part of an
accredited CPD activity;
- activity agendas, programs or calendars of events (preliminary and final);
- any webpages or electronic media containing educational material.
- 2 Product-specific advertising, promotional materials or branding strategies cannot be
included on/appear within locations where accredited CPD sessions are occurring (e.g.
lecture halls, small group discussion rooms) immediately before, during or immediately
after an accredited CPD activity.
- 3 Commercial exhibits or advertisements must be arranged in a location that is clearly and
completely separated from the accredited CPD activity.
- 4 The SPC cannot be required by an exhibitor or advertiser to accept advice concerning the
CPD activity development, delivery or evaluation as a condition of their exhibit or
advertisement. Specific interests of any exhibitor or advertiser must have no direct or
indirect influence on any aspect of the CPD activity development, delivery or evaluation.
- 5 Any incentive provided to participants associated with an accredited CPD activity must
be approved by the SPC.
Element 7: Unaccredited CPD Activities
This section defines the roles and responsibilities of the SPC in relation to unaccredited CPD
- 1 The SPC cannot schedule unaccredited CPD activities to take place at times and locations
that interfere or compete with accredited CPD activities.
- 2 Unaccredited CPD activities cannot be listed or included within activity agendas,
programs or calendars of events (preliminary and final).
- Review the CPD accreditation standards.
- Contact a Royal College accredited CPD provider to obtain the appropriate forms,
policies and procedures or applicable fees for having the program reviewed and
accredited (See Directory of Accredited CPD Providers below under Useful Web
- Once the activity is accredited, certificates of participation and activity
promotional materials can be updated to include the applicable accreditation