UPDATE #2: COVID-19 and Exams

This memo was distributed to all RDoC members by our PHO partners. 

Dear colleagues,

I committed to providing you with regular updates on the evolving situation related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and examinations by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Medical Council of Canada.

I will keep these updates brief and to the point and they will be clearly identified as COVID and Exam Updates. We are sending these updates to all residents. If you are not interested in reading them, I would encourage you to delete them rather than unsubscribe from the mailing list so that you don’t remove your ability to receive updates on other important matters.

Thank you to those who emailed covid19@residentdoctors.ca. We are working to ensure that we respond to all emails as quickly as possible.

All three national examination organizations have formed a working group that is coordinating how they respond to the pandemic. In the past 24 hours this group has been working very hard. I can also tell you that our Interim Executive Director is participating in regular conference calls with all of the national organizations that play any role in medical education and that your voice and your concerns are being heard.

In a phone call this morning, we were reassured that our concerns have been heard that there must be other options available to individuals who are unable to sit their examinations due to any COVID-19 related circumstances. We also made the case that if a resident misses the exam because they are ill or have been quarantined that they are doing so in order to ensure the virus doesn’t spread. This is an action to protect the community and as such, they should not individually shoulder the impact.

We were reassured that the examining colleges are also working with the provincial licensing authorities to request that they implement some form of provisional licensure should there be delays in exam certification.

RDoC’s Interim Executive Director is also arranging regular conference calls with the Executive Directors and CEOs of RDBC, PARA, RDoS, PARIM, PARO, MARDOCS and PARNL so that we can compare notes and coordinate responses to how COVID-19 is impacting all of our members educational and work related issues in all our member provinces.

We have heard your concerns expressed through social media, through petitions and through direct emails. We have communicated these concerns and I can tell you that everyone at the three national examining organizations understand and appreciate the concerns and are committed to working very hard with us to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your exams and professional career. While it might be tempting to reach out to the three organizations directly, we would prefer that they use their time to remain focused on finding creative solutions rather than diverting any resources to responding to a multitude of individuals. Please feel free to email covid19@residentdoctors.ca and we promise to ensure that resident voices are well represented.

There is nothing as difficult as uncertainty – especially with the added stress of studying and preparing for exams. One of the strengths of RDoC is that we know first-hand what many of you are feeling – because we are you. Rest assured that we will continue to be vigilant and advocate on your behalf.

Warm regards,

Emily Stewart, MD
PGY-4 Emergency Medicine
President, Resident Doctors of Canada

For other updates from RDoC on COVID-19 and exams, please see:

Update #1 on March 11, 2020

Update #3 on March 14, 2020

Update #4 on March 18, 2020

Update #5 on March 24, 2020

Update #6 on April 3, 2020