Dear colleagues,

On July 1 we launched Competence by Design (CBD) for postgraduate training programs in Anesthesiology and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. Last week, at a meeting with the Postgraduate Deans, Royal College Leadership and Specialty Committee Chairs, six more programs confirmed their CBD launch date of July 1, 2018.

Quick links

There is no doubt about it. We are full steam ahead. And while I know that change is never easy… or comfortable… or entirely predictable, I have been heartened to see a real community emerge as we navigate this new terrain together.

Rhonda St. Croix, the Royal College’s change advisor for the Competence by Design initiative, articulated this well in writing:

Let’s get something out there right now – change is not a linear process and is more like white water rafting than rowing in a regatta. You often take 2 steps forward, 1 step sideways, 1 step back, then mistakes, obstacles, risks, discomfort, disappointment, misunderstandings and vulnerability. And CBD is not immune to this reality either!

Change is often referred to as something you “roll out,” and we all use terminologies that imply that control, that somehow we are all the drivers and managers of change, and think it can happen our way and on our schedule. In fact, change is not a one-time roll-out, rather a people-driven endeavor.

– (“A pocket full of change,” CBD Community Touchpoint, Sept. 2017)

As we move forward, let’s continue to rally together and to champion this new competency-based system. We are co-creators of Canada’s renewed medical education system.


Andrew Padmos, BA, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Chief Executive Officer

Some lessons we’ve learned

Given the variety of programs involved, and the different application stages of readiness in the field, we anticipated an initial period of adjustment. CBD is a major transformation. We are working closely with our partners in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and Anesthesiology to monitor and evaluate the implementation of CBD and make sure they have what they need in this period of transition.

Recently, our Communications & Marketing team sat down with one of the CBD Program Directors to discuss the CBD reality on the ground at Western University.

“One of the most surprising realities has been the sheer excitement and positivity that many of the staff have displayed toward CBD and its processes.”

Dr. Brian Rotenberg, Program Director, Department of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, Western University

Featured in the latest CBD Community Touchpoint newsletter, this interview is a very good testimonial to CBD’s momentum in the field.

Disciplines launching CBD in 2018

Cohort Disciplines Launch date
1 Anesthesiology

Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery

July 1, 2017
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Forensic Pathology
  • Medical Oncology
  • Nephrology
  • Surgical Foundations
  • Urology
July 1, 2018


Our focus for the upcoming quarter

With an eye to July 1, 2018, we will be partnering with medical school and academic health centres, as well as specialty committees to prepare for implementing CBD in more disciplines. Through this fall, we will continue to support this next launch cohort in continuing to refine their specialty-specific EPAs and milestones, as well building capacity and readiness through local testing of tools and standards. On the technology side of the equation, our Resident ePortfolio continues to be enhanced based on feedback we’ve received. Our team will be busy migrating in EPAs and milestones to support the pre-launch activities for the next disciplines ahead of July 1.

Of course, all of this says nothing of the auxiliary work being done to outline a competency-based future for continuing professional development. While we don’t anticipate any changes to the program until 2020, white papers have been developed that speak to the vision, rationale and implications. You can read and react to them here.

I encourage all those with an interest to also sign up for our CBD Community Touchpoint communiqué. It is released several times a year and is one of the best ways to stay informed about this initiative. I’d also encourage you to bookmark our webpage and check back every so often for more updates:

Check out our website to learn when your discipline is expected to launch CBD.