The Characteristics of Continuing Professional Education Systems in the Health Professions in Canada

  • Vernon Curran Memorial University
  • Fran Kirby Memorial University
  • Lisa Fleet Memorial University


Mandatory continuing education (MCE) has become widely accepted across many professions and jurisdictions in Canada as a re-credentialing mechanism. MCE is defined as continuing professional education (CPE) courses and/or programs, beyond the entry-level educational requirements, required by a licensure board, professional organization, or the workplace in order to maintain competence or retain licensure, certification, and/or employment. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the nature and characteristics of the CPE systems of the major health care professions in Canada. Overall, mandatory systems of CPE are increasing among allied health professional groups in Canada. This introduces significant opportunities for providers of CPE for the health professions. Important trends appear to include an increase in distance education formats, an increase in collaborative arrangements between providers, and an increase in the use of CPE to regulate practice.