CPSO MCCQE2 Exemption Policy

Sent on March 9th, 2021

Dear Colleague,

PARO has been working closely with RDoC (Resident Doctors of Canada) and the other Provincial Housestaff Organizations to ensure that our members’ interests have been protected during the pandemic. RDoC has worked tirelessly with the College of Family Physicians, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Medical Council of Canada and the Federation of Medical Licensing Authorities of Canada to advocate on your behalf.

In Ontario, PARO has worked very closely with the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario, our Postgraduate Deans and their staff, and with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. At every opportunity we have worked to reduce uncertainty in your life and to ensure that you are as minimally impacted by the pandemic as possible.

I am very pleased to tell you that the CPSO Registrar, Dr. Nancy Whitmore and her staff, have been very understanding and responsive to the concerns regarding the impact of the pandemic on independent licensure. I am also very thankful of the excellent partnership that we have with all of our Postgraduate Deans. Collectively, they played an extremely important role advocating on our behalf. Together we modelled the CanMEDS role of collaboration, resulting in the CPSO Council taking decisive action to ensure that well-trained graduates of Ontario residency programs will be able to enter practice with an independent license and on March 4th, CPSO Council unanimously passed an important exemption policy that allows for Ontario graduates to be exempt from sitting the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam, Part II (MCCQE2). In the past few days, we have worked closely with the CPSO staff to review a variety of scenarios that help make the new exemption policy easy to understand. We want you to be able to know what this new exemption policy means and how it might apply to you, so that you can make an informed choice.

Who Does the Exemption Policy Apply To?

The full policy of the CPSO can be found on their website. As well, you will find a variety of scenarios on their FAQ page. To know if the exemption policy applies to you, here are the requirements:

  • The MCC originally planned to offer the MCCQE2 in May 2020, October 2020 and February 2021. If you were eligible to write the exam at one of these sittings, whether you had registered or not, then you meet the first requirement to be considered eligible for the exemption policy.
  • You need to be registered, or have been registered in an Ontario residency program at the time of one of these three sittings.
  • You need to be have been within 24 months of completing your training at the time of one of these three sittings.
  • You otherwise meet the prescribed requirements for an independent license, including the non-exemptible standards.
  • You have not previously attempted the MCCQE2 exam and been unsuccessful.

Important Considerations

  • Although New Brunswick has never required the MCCQE2 exam to get a license, and despite little objection to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia passing a similar exemption policy, there has been considerable concern expressed by some of the other Medical Regulatory Authorities in Canada about the CPSO’s decision. There is no guarantee that if you decide to apply for an independent license in Ontario through this exemption policy route, that your license will be transferrable to another Canadian jurisdiction. While we expect that reciprocity between provinces will still be recognized, at this time, that can’t be guaranteed.
  • If you are eligible to utilize the exemption policy but choose to sit the MCCQE2 and you are unsuccessful in your attempt, the exemption policy would no longer apply to you and you would be eligible for the usual supervised restricted license until such time as you successfully completed the MCCQE2.

Rather than list all of the various scenarios in this email, I would encourage you to visit the CPSO website for information. Further questions regarding eligibility in specific cases not outlined here or in the FAQs should be directed to the CPSO.

This is a big step forward in ensuring that well qualified doctors are able to enter practice with an independent license without having to sit the MCCQE2 exam and the CPSO Council is to be commended for their commitment to passing policies that are in the public interest.

Warm regards,

Dr. Ryan Giroux

PARO President