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FAQ: Revisions to the 2021 Clinical Component Schedule and Strategy

CAPR has developed the following answers to frequently asked questions from candidates and stakeholders about our announcement of April 19, 2021.

Impact on March Candidates

Q. March 2021 candidates were told there would be a make‑up exam this spring. Why is this not happening?

A. CAPR cannot deliver a make-up exam right now. Considering the current state of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) investigation into the March exam, and the time it will take to redesign, validate and retest the virtual exam technology, we cannot guarantee the success of another virtual exam at this time. The risk of another negative experience for candidates is too high. It is not possible to run an in-person version of the exam due to the third wave of the COVID‑19 pandemic currently impacting most Canadian provinces.

 

Q. What is CAPR doing to address the impact on March candidates, who still cannot obtain an independent license?

A. The decision not to run a make-up exam was made in consultation with all our regulator members. All provincial regulators are aware of the impact of this decision on the licensing prospects of the March cohort and will continue to make all licensing decisions in keeping with the legislation governing their jurisdiction and their responsibility to the public. Please contact your provincial regulator about licensing. Regulators are doing their best to respond to the evolving situation. You can find links to provincial regulators here: https://www.alliancept.org/about-capr/helpful-links/

 

Q. How does the cancellation of the exams affect my licensing?

A. Please contact your provincial regulator/college regarding all licensing questions. Regulators are doing their best during this time to respond to the changing circumstances. You can find links to provincial regulators here: https://www.alliancept.org/about-capr/helpful-links/

 

Impact on Registered Exam Candidates

Q.Is the decision to cancel the exams because of the results of the PwC investigation?

A. PwC’s investigation is not yet complete. CAPR could not delay any longer a decision on future exams with the June exam only seven weeks away. CAPR cannot relaunch the virtual exam at this time in the absence of detailed information about why the virtual exam failed. We are revising the entire 2021 Clinical Component schedule because of the impact of the cancellation of the March exam and the resulting effect on the June administration and the remainder of the planned 2021 exam schedule.

 

Q. When will CAPR announce the new exam schedule?

A. The new administrations will begin in the late summer or early autumn of 2021. CAPR is currently securing exam dates, staff and facilities, where necessary, and we will announce new exam administration dates as soon as the details are finalized. Registered candidates will have at least two months’ notice of their new administration date.

 

Q. How can I continue to prepare for the exam when I don’t know when I will have an opportunity to challenge the exam?

A. We understand that the cancellation of the planned exam schedule puts you in a very difficult situation. We apologize for this. We have already begun planning the new, smaller‑scale administrations of the clinical exam, and we will provide all candidates with at least two months’ notice prior to their new exam date. We encourage all candidates to continue with their Clinical Component preparation plan during this time.

 

Q. Why is CAPR not refunding and supporting June candidates in the way it did March candidates?

A. We recognize that the cancellation of the June exam date is incredibly disruptive to candidates who were scheduled to challenge this exam. We apologize for the stress, uncertainty and inconvenience this causes you. However, the cancellation of the in-progress March Clinical Component administration was an extraordinary event that caused significant confusion and stress for those involved. We believe that the refund and additional supports provided to the March candidates is commensurate with what they experienced. June candidates may withdraw from the exam free of charge and receive a refund.

 

Q. Can I withdraw from the exam entirely?

Yes. Any candidate registered for the affected exam administrations can withdraw free of charge. However, you will lose your ‘place in line’ if you withdraw from one of the affected exams. The principle of ‘first come, first served’ plays a major role in how CAPR assigns candidates to exams/sites, and the decision to withdraw will very likely result in your taking the exam later than you would have had you remained registered.

If you have made the decision to withdraw, please email csc_exams@alliancept.org with a clear communication to withdraw from a specific exam date. A full refund will be issued to your attention within 15 business days of receiving confirmation of your request to withdraw. We strongly encourage you to contact your provincial regulator before withdrawing from the exam to ensure you understand if and how this will impact your licensure status.

 

Q. Is CAPR responding to calls and emails?

A. Yes. CAPR staff are experiencing extremely high volumes of calls and emails due to the postponement and cancellation of exams. We have brought on extra staff to assist. We apologize for delays in responding to you. Our staff are responding to all inquiries in sequence. Please be patient with our staff—they are committed to providing you with service and support during this difficult time.

 

Planning for Future Clinical Component Administrations

Q. Why is CAPR unable to deliver the Clinical Component more than a year into the pandemic?

A. CAPR believed we had developed a viable solution in the 2021 virtual Clinical Component. We directed all our resources over the past 8 months toward the development and launch of this exam. The failure of the virtual solution was unanticipated. CAPR had taken all reasonable steps to ensure its success.

 

Q. This will be CAPR’s 3rd attempt to deliver the Clinical Component during the pandemic. Why will this time be any different?

A. We will work with local partners to find solutions addressed to local circumstances. We will deliver exams in smaller administrations through dual delivery methods—in person and virtual. We will engage with supporters and partners across the Canadian physiotherapy community to deliver a valid Clinical Component to as many candidates as possible before the end of 2021.

 

Q. How is CAPR going to work through the backlog of candidates?

A. At this time, we believe the best approach is to assess as many candidates as we can, where we can, taking advantage of local partnerships and respecting local public health restrictions.  We will not be able to assess all candidates as quickly as we hoped, but we can move things forward. CAPR will run the exam more frequently over the next eight to twelve months to start working through the backlog.

 

Q. Why is CAPR continuing to push forward with a Clinical exam, given the challenges presented by the pandemic and calls from members of the community to eliminate the Clinical Component?

A. CAPR has a responsibility to our regulator members to deliver the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam. All provincial regulators are bound by the health care legislation of their jurisdiction when making licensing decisions. In most provinces, this legislation requires an assessment of clinical competence prior to granting independent licences to practitioners. This requirement is in place to protect the public and has not changed in the context of the pandemic.

 

Q. Why is a clinical exam required when most other countries in the world do not have this requirement?

A. Most health professions in Canada require a clinical exam that assesses higher order thinking, the application of knowledge, communication and professionalism. Other health regulators around the world often look to Canada as leaders in the field of professional competency assessment. CAPR has a responsibility to our regulator members to deliver the Clinical Component of the Physiotherapy Competency Exam. All provincial regulators are bound by the health care legislation of their jurisdiction when making licensing decisions. In most provinces, this legislation requires an assessment of clinical competence prior to granting independent licences to practitioners. This requirement is in place to protect the public and has not changed in the context of the pandemic.

 

Q. Why do Canadian-educated physiotherapists need to be assessed when we have already graduated from an accredited university program?

A. CAPR provides the exam for regulators. For regulators, the exam is part of their legislated mandate to protect the public by ensuring that every physiotherapist licensed in Canada is a competent and ethical physiotherapist. Accreditation of a program is not the same thing as assessment of individual competence. The Clinical Component assesses individual competence, as well as professionalism and communication skills.

 

Q. Why can’t CAPR waive the clinical exam and allow candidates to achieve full licensure?

A. CAPR does not issue, re-instate or suspend licenses and does not set or waive licensing requirements. For information about CAPR’s role in Canadian physiotherapy regulation, please visit this page on our website: www.alliancept.org/announcement/caprs-role-in-canadian-physiotherapy-regulation/

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