Frequently Asked Questions

What is CanRAC?

CanRAC is the Canadian Residency Accreditation Consortium, which is comprised of the three residency Colleges in Canada: the Collège des Médecins du Québec (CMQ), the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College).

What is accreditation reform?

Within residency education, accreditation is a quality improvement process that evaluates programs against national standards. In 2013, the Royal College, CFPC and CMQ partnered to develop a new accreditation system, based on 21st century best practices and a competency-based approach to medical education.

Why are we changing accreditation?

In 2012, focus groups conducted with the postgraduate deans of Canadian Faculties of Medicine identified the need for change. Since then, CanRAC has examined the strengths and challenges of the current system. This information has guided the development of a proposed plan that introduces a conjoint system for residency education accreditation that keeps the strengths of the system, while addressing identified challenges.

When can I expect changes?

The proposed changes will NOT affect schools currently preparing for 2016-17 accreditation visits. The accreditation process remains status quo pending full endorsement of the guiding principles and components of the new conjoint residency accreditation system and implementation plan by the three Colleges’ accreditation committees. To learn more about the implementation process, visit our When am I affected? section.

I have a 2017 visit, how will these changes impact me?

The proposed changes will NOT affect schools with 2017 accreditation visits.

What is the AMS?

The Accreditation Management System (AMS) is a new digital tool that will make managing accreditation activities easier, in particular it will be less manual and less repetitive. It will also facilitate continuous improvement activities and enhance surveyor and resident input into the accreditation process.

How has information been shared?

To date, the three Colleges have provided an overview of the proposed changes to the postgraduate deans, specialty committee chairs and several program directors. The partners have developed an implementation plan that is iterative, and will emphasize phasing-in the new standards and processes over a realistic timeframe. It is currently under consideration by the three colleges’ accreditation committees. In spring 2016, the Colleges started sharing detailed information about the effect of the changes with each university through individual impact letters.

How will standards change?

The new general standards will:

  • Provide greater clarity, without being overly prescriptive
  • Ensure alignment with the CanMEDS 2015 framework
  • Support the transition to competency-based medical education (CBME)
  • Place greater emphasis on the learning environment


How will the accreditation process change?

The proposed changes aim to:

  • Shift the focus of effort from manual, paper-based work to a digital platform that helps programs be prepared for accreditation at any time. Provide programs and postgraduate deans with the systems and tools to promote continuous evaluation.
  • Reward continuous quality improvement
  • Integrate innovative practices into the accreditation system
There are ten components to the proposed change, visit our Reform Change section to learn more.


Who is being consulted, and when?

November 2016 to February 2017 - National consultations were conducted to feedback from all stakeholders on the draft standards and process components for the new residency education accreditation system via an online survey.

What impact is CBME having on the changes?

The proposed plan aims to align residency accreditation with 21st century best practices, while also supporting the shift towards CBME, including the Royal College’s Competence by Design (CBD)and CFPC’s Triple C initiatives. Learn more about how accreditation reform aligns with CBD.