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Spotlight on Practice-Ready Assessments

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Dr. Viren Naik

Chief Assessment Officer, Medical Council  of Canada

Expanding the use of Practice-Ready Assessment programs across Canada is helping to fill the gaps in our health care system.

Integrating international medical graduates (IMGs) into the Canadian physician workforce is a key priority for the health care sector as it continues to address physician shortages affecting access to primary care.  


The Practice-Ready Assessment (PRA) pathway fast tracks the route leading to a license for physicians who have completed their medical training and residency abroad. Regarded as a safe and efficient way to bring qualified doctors into practice faster, PRA programs are in the spotlight at a time when they’re rapidly expanding. 

Even with accelerated assessment processes, safe and high-quality care remains uncompromised. Candidates must still pass the Medical Council of Canada’s standardized assessments of their clinical skills, and the PRA supports IMGs with bridging knowledge and skills to ease the transition into Canadian practice and ensure patient safety. 

Powering the Canadian health workforce 

At the end of each 12-week assessment, new family physicians enter practice, joining communities where they’re desperately needed. The PRA has assisted 800 family doctors in entering the Canadian health workforce in the last six years. Now tracking at over 200 per year, it’s comparable to a large Canadian medical school. The PRA route’s success is thanks to the dedication of countless physician assessors who welcome the IMGs into their practices and communities.  

The seven PRA programs across Canada are steadily increasing capacity and improving the support available to their participants. The success of the existing programs has spurred other provinces to follow suit, with Ontario having just launched an assessment program this month. This expansion will bring even more physicians into the system, improving access to care across the country. 

Learn more about Canada’s PRA programs.

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