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  • Writer's pictureDr. Simon Moore

Mandatory annual exam for Canadian Family Physicians announced for 2017

Family Doctors must re-write certification exam yearly to maintain licence

TORONTO, ON -- Citing increasing public scrutiny and the need for higher-quality patient care, Canadian regulatory authorities announced Friday that all family doctors must write an annual four-day-long recertification exam.

“Medical knowledge is always changing, so we want to know that each and every one of Canada’s 41,000 Family Physicians can prove every year that they are up to date,” according to the media advisory released Friday.

Family physicians will need to score a minimum of 88% on the exam, which is comprised of three days of written and oral exam stations plus Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) stations. The Chair of the College Reassessment and Promotion Committee, Dr. Avril Asinus, elaborated on the OSCE in a telephone interview: “It's completely new. We've created the stations from scratch, guided by an interdisciplinary committee consisting entirely of experienced Family Practice Naturopathic Physicians, community pharmacists, politicians, and hospital administrators.”

Dr. Asinus went on to highlight three other major changes:

1. New Gymnasium Fitness Component Added

Once Family Physicians have completed the first three days of the exam, the final day will feature an innovative Gymnasium Fitness component. This all-new physical endurance exam is necessary to ensure that “all Family Physicians are physically fit to endure the rigours of providing 24/7 comprehensive full-service urban primary care,” according to the official statement from Dr. Asinus.

The Gymnasium Fitness component will see family physician exam candidates

  • pumping up a sphygmomanometer continuously for 90 seconds,

  • signing their signature on 200 chart requests from lawyers, and

  • carrying 20 kg of used fecal occult blood tests.

Dr. Simon Moore, co-founder of The Review Course in Family Medicine, Canada’s only national CCFP exam preparation course, expressed concerns about the new fitness test. “The candidates are sweating enough already; I’m not sure why there needs to be a gymnasium portion on this exam.” However, Dr. Asinus responded that this series of tests is essential because evidence shows it is “uniquely designed to determine if Family Physicians are able to put up with all the crap they are expected to deal with.”

2. Successful Completion of New Exam required for all Family Physicians by August 31, 2017

Exam policy released by the College Reassessment and Promotion (C.R.A.P.) Committee reveals the exam fee as $19,995 CAD. For candidates who successfully pass the exam, this fee includes a paper certificate; a designer frame to showcase the certificate can also be purchased (for an additional fee).

Policy also states Family Physicians must register for the exam by midnight Eastern standard time on August 1, 2017 and complete the exam within one month. After that deadline, physicians who have not written the exam will be reported to their regional regulatory authority with a recommendation to have their medical licenses suspended and they be sentenced to a punishment of 40 hours of EMR training.

The exam will be administered twice each year, “just like the Americans do,” explained Dr. Asinus. “The American Board of Family Medicine requires recertification every decade, and in true Canadian fashion, we feel it is important to follow blindly whatever the Americans are doing.”

3. Exams to be held in Burnaby, BC, home of Bublé

Dr. Asinus explained “to streamline things, we’re building a one-stop shop examination centre to host all of the recertification exams” which will be “conveniently located in suburban Burnaby, the hometown of Michael Bublé, the official chanteur-spokesman of the College.”

As Dr. Asinus puts it, “it makes perfect sense to hold it in Burnaby -- we at the College Board are all huge Bublé fans, not to mention that he is the voice behind the new theme song that the College commissioned exclusively from Bublé: I’m Comin’ Back (to the Patient’s Medical) Home.” Burnaby was also chosen due to its close proximity to the Vancouver International Airport, as the town is a mere 29 minutes away (or a mere 800 minutes away if more than two centimeters of snow have fallen).

Dr. Paul Dhillon, co-founder of The Review Course in Family Medicine, also expressed concerns about the announcement. “With a name like Dr. Avril Asinus, can she really be trusted? You do know what that means in Latin, right?”

The Canadian Locum Union of Medical Practitioners (C.L.U.M.P.) has joyously announced they will be quadrupling their rates to cover family physician clinic locums during the month leading up to and during the 4-day exam period.

Exempt from this new mandatory examination are physicians from Alberta, who “think they know everything anyways,” as specified in the official press release. The Ontario Medical Association has no comment.

A statement is expected to be announced by the college formally on Monday after it has been approved by 22 additional committees and subcommittees, senior officials said.


Questions about the new exam can be directed to Please ensure your subject line includes the French and Latin term "Avril Asinus" or its English translation, "April Fools." We hope you enjoyed this fake news.

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