CanMEDS history

In the early 1990s, Fellows of the Royal College, with support from the charitable institution Associated Medical Services, leveraged the important work of the Educating Future Physicians for Ontario project to develop a competency framework for specialist physicians. The result, the CanMEDS Framework, was formally approved by the Royal College in 1996.

CanMEDS 2005: The first update

In 2005, the Royal College updated and adopted the framework, calling it the CanMEDS 2005 Physician Competency Framework and establishing it as the basis for the Royal College’s educational standards. The CanMEDS Framework is now incorporated into residency training accreditation, evaluation and examinations as well as the standards for specialty training and continuing professional development.

CanMEDS 2015: An enhanced framework

In 2012, as part of our Competence by Design program, the Royal College launched a multi-year project to update the 2005 CanMEDS Framework and the associated education and practice standards. The CanMEDS 2015 project set out to introduce new themes such as patient safety, and to align the framework with a competency-based medical education approach. The 2015 CanMEDS Framework now has a set of competency milestones for each CanMEDS Role. These milestones can be applied throughout a physician’s career, starting at entry to residency and continuing through retirement. See the list of the 2015 contributors.

CanMEDS Consortium 2017: An unprecedented collaboration

In 2017, the Royal College united with 12 Canadian health care organizations under the new CanMEDS Consortium. Inspired by a national commitment to improve patient care, the member organizations have agreed to embed the CanMEDS Framework into their respective areas of work to train and evaluate physicians in Canada. The result will be better patient care emanating from a more consistent and coordinated approach.

Phases of CanMEDS development

Phase I (1993-1996)

Identification, development and validation of the CanMEDS Roles Framework.

Phase II (1996-1997)
Experimentation and pilot

Development of practical tools and methods to facilitate both resident learning and evaluation of the CanMEDS competencies.

Phase III (1997-2002) Implementation

Implementation into Canadian specialty postgraduate medical education, including adoption into Royal College accreditation, certification and examination standards.

Phase IV (2002-2015)
Faculty development
Systematic implementation with enhanced materials and faculty development.
Phase V (2012-2015)Revalidation and update of CanMEDS 2005 Framework and development of competency milestones.
Phase VI (2015-present)Systematic implementation of CanMEDS 2015 with enhanced materials and faculty development and Competence by Design.
Phase VII (2017-present)The creation of a 13-member CanMEDS Consortium begins national and provincial integration across the continuum of medical education and practice