Day-to-day operations



The College is responsible for ensuring every physician who enters any form of medical practice in Alberta has the right credentials and qualifications to give Albertans the safe, effective care they deserve. There are approximately 11,000 physicians registered to practise in Alberta today, with 569 new registrants in 2018.

How do we ensure all physicians who register for practice in Alberta are competent professionals?

All physicians who apply for practice in Alberta must have a medical degree, be in an independent practice or a continuous formal postgraduate training program within three years before applying, and meet postgraduate training requirements. In 2018, we also made it mandatory for applicants to submit a criminal record check or police certificate from every jurisdiction where they have ever held medical registration, licence or a practice permit.

Internationally-trained physicians must also take a series of nationally-established exams to prove fluency in English, and critical medical knowledge and decision-making abilities that are at the level expected of a Canadian graduate.


The CPSA General Register eligibility requirements are rigorous, but they’re a part of our process to ensure our profession is equipped to give the best possible care to Albertans.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is also a requirement to maintain an Alberta medical practice permit. During annual registration renewal, we follow up with our entire membership roster to ensure they’re meeting credit requirements in one of two approved national CPD programs: Mainpro+ (College of Family Physicians of Canada) or Maintenance of Certification (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada).

Registration & Membership Statistics


Physician Workforce Breakdown


For a detailed breakdown of changes to physician resources by specialty, check out our Quarterly Reporting of physician resource statistics.


Permits, denials, restrictions & courtesy register


Registration assessments

Continuing Competence

The College takes a holistic approach to regulating the medical profession. Giving physicians the resources they need to support their performance throughout their careers is a major priority for us and will continue to be part of our long-term strategy. We use our access to prescribing data from TPP Alberta and the Pharmaceutical Information Network (PIN), as well as details shared with us during the registration and renewal process, to help every physician in Alberta identify their unique growth opportunities.

Here are the programs we deliver to physicians to help them maintain and optimize the care they give their patients.

Continuing Competence Programs

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Continuing Competence Statistics


Physician Prescribing Practices Program Statistics


Infection Prevention & Control


Physician Health Monitoring Program

Physician Health Monitoring Program (PHMP) helps physicians monitor and manage personal health issues that have the potential to affect patient care. Although it’s a College program, PHMP is closely aligned with the Alberta Medical Association’s Physician and Family Support Program and is administered separately from the CPSA discipline process. Enrolment in this program is confidential.


>80% of physicians enrolled in PHMP are safely able to continue their practice

For PHMP, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Physicians can also be patients with their own unique health and work circumstances. We consider their medical condition, type of practice and work environment. We also often work with their healthcare provider to ensure the physician has the support they need to balance their clinical responsibilities to their patients while managing their own health. Physicians in this program are either referred or self-report their health conditions. More than 80 per cent of physicians enrolled in PHMP are safely able to continue their practice.

Practice Conditions Monitoring Statistics


Physician Health Monitoring Program Statistics


Professional Conduct

Ensuring physicians are practising ethically and professionally is one of the most important functions of the College. Feedback, both positive and negative, about our members is critical to our ability to perform this function.

Many complaints can be resolved informally. Often it just comes down to better communication. We help mediate a solution between the physician and complainant, sometimes recommending professional development opportunities or practice changes the physician involved can make.

When informal resolution fails or a complaint involves a serious allegation of professional misconduct, we launch a formal investigation. Some investigations end up in a hearing, where a tribunal determines if a physician is guilty of misconduct and what kind of penalty is appropriate. Most hearings are public and in the interest of transparency, all hearing information and results are published on as soon as they become available.

When a complaint doesn’t have enough evidence to support further action or is unrelated to good medical care, it is dismissed. If a person would like the decision to dismiss reviewed, our patient advocates offer support and resources.

Complaints Investigation & Resolution Statistics

Disciplinary Hearing Statistics

Appeals Statistics


Standards of practice

 The Code of Ethics, Code of Conduct and CPSA Standards of Practice are the foundational documents that make up the framework for medical practice in Alberta. Either directly or indirectly, they ensure safe and effective patient care. When a physician’s behaviour or actions are called into question, we measure the complaint against these core documents.

Because we use the standards of practice as a measure of professional conduct, the College is responsible for ensuring they are up-to-date so physicians can gauge their performance (and be measured) against the best available data. Every year, we weigh our standards against best practice and consult with our members, government, the public and other stakeholders on any potential standard of practice updates.

In 2018, the College consulted on two new draft standards and amended two existing ones.


If you’ve ever gone to a community facility for blood work, an x-ray or any other diagnostic or medical-surgical service, you were likely in a CPSA-accredited facility. The College is responsible for helping ensure these facilities, as well as a number of hospital-based facilities, provide safe care.

We write the safety, quality and technical standards for each of the following facilities and send CPSA-trained field experts to evaluate them upon opening, re-evaluating them every four years and for complaint investigations.               

  • Cardiac Exercise Stress Testing (private)

  • Diagnostic Imaging

  • Diagnostic Laboratory Medicine

  • Neurophysiological Testing

  • Non-Hospital Surgical Facilities (NHSF) (private)

  • Pulmonary Function Diagnostics

  • Sleep Medicine Diagnostics

2018 was a busy year for CPSA Accreditation. We rolled out new diagnostic imaging standards, with an enhanced focus on imaging quality and patient safety. We ensured more consistent and safer reporting of pulmonary function tests by standardizing the reporting metrics respiratory physicians use to interpret these tests.

The College also rolled out new standards to help regulate home sleep apnea testing in Alberta and ensure this diagnostic tool is used safely and effectively. We initiated assessments of 18 sleep medicine facilities under the new standards and expect to grant CPSA-accreditation to each of them in 2019. As the list of CPSA-accredited sleep medicine facilities continues to grow, we look forward to working with third-party payers to make CPSA accreditation a condition of reimbursement for testing and treatment.

Staying abreast of technological advances in medicine is critical to ensuring Albertans get safe and quality care. The CPSA is the first Canadian healthcare regulator to establish NHSF standards for stem cell regenerative therapy with patient safety in mind.

Accreditation Statistics