Saskatoon physiotherapy grads feel 'fear and anxiety' over delayed competency exams
SASKATOON -- Master of Physiotherapy graduates Chantelle DeLong and Megan Lautner have been scheduled multiple times to take the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) competency exam – only to see it cancelled.
“It’s just a lot of fear and anxiety. They keep canceling, they keep postponing things and they aren’t transparent about it,” DeLong told CTV News.
Lautner and DeLong were both scheduled to take the exam in June 2020 but were informed in March 2020 it had been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They say they were then set up to take the exam in the fall before it was postponed again.
Their next exam, set for June, was postponed after a March exam had technical difficulties.
In a release to CTV News CAPR states "Since June 2020, CAPR has not been able to administer the Clinical Component, which is a practical, performance-based exam, due to limitations on face-to-face gatherings caused by the pandemic."
"We acknowledge the exam-day cancellation of the March 2021 clinical exam was unacceptable, and everyone at CAPR sincerely regrets that we were unable to deliver the exam to physiotherapy candidates as planned."
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) says roughly 2,500 graduates have been affected. It wants to see the rules bent to help push along more graduates to work at their full scope.
“This is unacceptable. We have not licensed new physiotherapists since 2019,” said CPA President Viivi Riis. “We’re asking the provincial government to look and see if they can perhaps modify their bylaws to allow registration of these candidates using some competency tests that don’t rely on this practical examination.”
DeLong and Lautner were classmates together in Glasgow Caledonian University's Masters of Physiotherapy program. The two each paid $36,000 in tuition.
"It has an impact, obviously, financially, in the sense of trying to reduce the number of hours that I'm working at times to make time to study,” said Lautner.
Both DeLong and Lautner are still able to practice to in Saskatoon since they have passed the written component of the exam. Lautner works for Crave SPORTS Service and DeLong is employed by CBI Health Centre – Laurier.
However since the two have yet to pass the clinical portion of the exam, they are unable to deliver certain treatments as well as enroll in certain courses.
They also have to be supervised while working on clients and their work has to be approved.
CAPR says it will replace all large-scale virtual exam administrations scheduled for 2021 with smaller, more frequent virtual or in-person exam administrations beginning in late summer or early fall.