Many of you have been reaching out to RDoC and to your Provincial Housestaff Organization for guidance as a result of a series of letters that the Medical Council of Canada recently distributed.
Two different letters have been received. If you have previously registered to write the MCCQE2 exam, your letter indicates that you have until March 10th, 2021 to select one of three choices:
- Confirm that you want to be included in the selection process to sit the exam in May/June, in which case you will be notified later in March if you have been allocated to a spot for the May/June exam;
- Defer your application for the next session in the fall;
- Withdraw your application, in which case your fee will be refunded, and you will need to reapply if you choose to sit the exam.
If you have not previously registered to sit the exam, many of you will have received a letter indicating that the MCC will not be accepting new applications for the May/June session of the exam.
We want to be able to give you clear guidance and provide you facts so that you can make an informed choice. To that end, we have reached out to the Federation of Medical Licensing Authorities of Canada to get clarification on how the Medical Regulatory Authorities will handle a variety of situations.
What is clear is that if you are an individual who has not been invited to register to sit the exam by the time you graduate, you will be treated similar to last year’s cohort. This means that in those provinces that have the regulatory authority to issue a ‘low-supervision COVID-19 provisional license’, you will be provided with this special license with the expectation that you will sit the exam as soon as possible so as to convert your temporary license to a full independent license.
Where it is less clear is for those candidates who have registered to sit the exam and who may choose to defer the exam until the fall. We have been actively advocating this week that if someone chooses to defer the exam, they should still be eligible for a special provisional license until they have an opportunity to write the deferred exam. We have made some progress in that we have had an indication that the medical regulatory authorities (MRAs) will look at individual cases should someone have requested to defer the exam. I appreciate that this doesn’t provide much certainty or comfort in making the decision to defer. We are continuing to advocate on your behalf and ensuring that FMRAC and the MRAs understand the unique situation that many of you find yourselves in, including having relatively short notice about an entirely new format for the QE2 exam with very little information on what to expect; the inability to secure more study time given that many registered candidates are already sitting other certification exams this spring; the disruption to already scheduled rotations in the precious last few months of training; and the service requirements of many of our hospitals and clinics and the extraordinary demand of many individuals in one cohort requiring time away from service to sit certification exams as well as the QE2.
Many of you may also be aware that the regulatory authorities in Nova Scotia and as of March 4, 2021, in Ontario, passed special resolutions to exempt the QE2 as a requirement for licensure for those individuals who have been unable to sit the QE2 exam in the spring and fall of 2020 and are within 24 months of completion of their postgraduate training. RDoC and our two provincial partners, MarDocs and PARO, are very grateful to these two MRAs for their wisdom in understanding the impact of the pandemic on our trainees, but more importantly, their assessment that it was in the best interests of the citizens of their province to provide full licensure to these well-trained doctors. We are currently working to understand how the resolutions that they have passed may apply to individuals who are unable to register to sit the QE2 in May/June 2021 or who are registered but may need to defer the exam.
Please know that we continue to advocate tirelessly on your behalf and that we are grateful for the effective partnerships that we have been able to build with the CFPC, RCPSC and FMRAC. We are working hard on your behalf to minimize the impact of the pandemic and create the conditions for you to successfully complete your residency and enter practice with an independent license.
Dr. Esther Kim