COVID-19's impact on postgraduate accreditation

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and in consultation with impacted stakeholders, CanRAC is proceeding with accreditation activities and related work, with careful consideration given to:

  • recognizing the impact on clinicians, residents, and staff, and on the healthcare and medical education systems in general;
  • considering the safety of all individuals along with the practicality of travel;
  • maintaining critical operations as much as possible with flexible and creative solutions, balanced against the many other demands on health care providers;
  • managing specific exceptions, both in the moment and with guidance at later points in the process, rather than shifting all activities downstream;
  • making the best decisions possible based on the information available; and
  • sharing information and revisiting decisions regularly as the situation changes.

Details in regards to specific upcoming accreditation activities have been shared with impacted postgraduate offices. Residency programs should defer to the information provided by their postgraduate offices.

Regular Accreditation Reviews & External Reviews

  • We recognize the demands on institutions, programs, and the volunteers who conduct the reviews; CanRAC will work with each group to allow as much flexibility as possible regarding deadlines, and to host critical meetings virtually as needed to facilitate this work.

Internal Reviews and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

  • Institutions and programs are encouraged to continue CQI activities as much as possible, including mid-cycle internal reviews.
  • While many institutions have implemented solutions (e.g., virtual/remote internal reviews), we acknowledge that other priorities may mean that timelines need to shift; it may not be possible to deploy the same focus and resources that would be expected under normal circumstances.
  • When institutions and programs impacted are due for their next accreditation reviews, surveyors and committees will be given additional guidance to ensure the exceptional circumstances of this period are taken into consideration appropriately.

Follow-up Deadlines

  • CanRAC recognizes that programs’ abilities to complete any assigned follow-up tasks (e.g., action plan outcomes reports) may be affected by the current situation.
  • CanRAC is committed to applying the greatest possible flexibility regarding deadlines while ensuring the rigour of the accreditation process is maintained.
  • We continue to assess deadlines on a case-by-case basis and will collaborate with postgraduate deans to determine what is most appropriate, but we are not proposing a blanket pause on all follow-up activities.

Annual Resident and Faculty Surveys

  • Due to the impacts of COVID-19 and in recognition of the exceptional nature of the current resident and faculty experience, the nationwide launch was postponed until spring 2023.
  • CanRAC will explore options with any postgraduate offices who feel that the data would be useful and may wish to deploy the surveys at their institutions at this time.

Committee Meetings

  • Meetings of the residency accreditation committees continue; however, meetings will be conducted virtually until it is safe and feasible to consider in-person meetings.
  • We continue to work with volunteers and key stakeholders to ensure the feasibility of doing the necessary work in preparation for accreditation committee meetings; if any timelines are affected, we will be in contact with impacted institutions.