Overview of PAs in Ontario
The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care’s (MOHLTC) 2006 Health Human Resources plan called for the introduction of Physician Assistants into the Ontario healthcare system to contribute to decreased wait times and improved access to primary care. HealthForce Ontario Pilot and Demonstration projects began in 2007 with PAs in various clinical positions in Ontario.
The Physician Assistant (PA) works entirely under the CPSO's Delegation of Controlled Acts Policy Number: #8-10, both as a student and as a medical professional. Exactly the same as medical students. Their duties and responsibilities fall directly under the supervision of a licenced physician. The PAs Scope of Practice is directly aligned with their supervising physician's Scope of Practice, which can be tailored by the supervising physician and to the facility's policies.
PAs are not presently licensed and are not a regulated health profession in Ontario at this time and do not fall under the Regulated Health Professions Act of 1991. There are ongoing focus groups exploring this particular aspect at present with recommendations to follow as to which route should be considered for a regulatory process. Some possible options - regulation under the CPSO, Regulated Health Professions Act or other means. As with all new professions, this is part of the ongoing development process.
The Canadian Association of Physician Assistance (CAPA) is the national governing body for the profession, www.capa-acam.ca, which has developed the National Competency Profile (NCP) and a Scope of Practice documents. At arms length from CAPA, the Physician Assistant Certification Council provides and monitors the certification process.