The Royal College Specialties Unit

Developing Canada’s medical specialties, subspecialties, and disciplines

The Specialties Unit supports the work of specialty committees, advisory committees, areas of focused competence (AFC) committees, working groups, and the Specialty Standards Review Committee (SSRC).  This support enables these groups of volunteers to fulfil the mandates of those committees. The Specialties Unit also functions as a bridge between these committees and internal units in the Royal College this links the Royal College to the experts who are our primary clients.

When the Royal College was established by an Act of Parliament in 1929 to oversee specialist medical education in Canada, the organization managed just two specialty qualifications: fellowship in general medicine and fellowship in general surgery. Today, we define the scope of practice for 67 specialties, subspecialties and special programs as well as 22 AFCs.

The Specialties Unit is also responsible for:

  • Ensuring national standards documents meet the SSRC standards and maintaining universal standards for lifelong specialty training
  • Educating physician volunteers about the role of the Royal College
  • Facilitating the specialty committee’s creation of national assessment tools
  • Facilitating the specialty committee’s creation of documents related to the Practice Eligibility Route (PER) for specialists, subspecialists (PER-sub) and AFCs (PER-AFC)
  • Providing volunteer guidance for a positive membership experience
  • Linking with other disciplines