Caring for our Fellows and their families

May 7, 2020 | Author: Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce

Dear Fellows,

Crises are sadly always disruptive. We are also using this unprecedented time to support our Fellows. As the new Chief Executive Officer for the Royal College, one of my primary goals is to better understand our Fellows and what we can do as an organization to support you. The past few months have not unfolded as initially planned; nevertheless, I have been using this time to listen, to evaluate and to advocate.

I have learned a great deal from you all.

As the Royal College weathers this pandemic alongside all of you, we are working hard to support our members. I’d like to use this update to share some of the advocacy we have participated in thus far, and to provide an update on our Fellow-supported video series that provides answers to COVID-19 related questions submitted by your children.

Advocating for our members

We are listening to our Fellows and residents, and continue to channel your voices into action. Here are some steps we have taken so far:

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE): We continue to advocate to the federal and provincial governments for more PPE and clear guidelines on their use.
  • Provisional licensure: We have collaborated with the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada (FMRAC) and the provincial regulatory authorities in their work to ensure pathways for licensure avenues for residents whose exams were postponed.
  • Resident advocacy: We also work on a case-by-case basis to help identify and reduce potential obstacles residents may be facing like. We have been fortunate to hear from residents in Canada and the USA and will continue to advocate relative to fees, billing, licenses and eligibility to take international exams.
  • Access to information: We continually post updated guidance on telemedicine and virtual care, and maintain an inventory of clinical and regulatory resources on our website (link to resource page).
  • Continued dialogue: We engage in regular communications with governmental bodies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada) to ensure that specialist physicians receive updated guidance and resources on COVID-19.
  • Outreach to federal parties: We also recently sent a joint letter to federal parties on best practices for Parliament to meet virtually and occasionally face-to-face.
  • Supporting COVID-19 research: We have provided multiple letters of support for COVID-19 related grants, and are also helping in the grant designs and submissions.

As Canada gradually moves to re-open, the Royal College will continue to advocate for solutions to proactively address the increased demand for health care services that were delayed due to the current crisis.

What do you think are the key issues to advocate on with decision-makers at this time? Our Health Policy team would appreciate hearing from you:

Answering your kids’ questions

Fellows are supported by their families and this crisis is difficult for them. In my April 17 update, I invited your children to send in their questions about what it’s like to be a doctor or surgeon right now. We were overwhelmed by the response. The questions we received spoke to the unique challenges many Fellows and their families are experiencing right now, as they juggle personal and professional responsibilities during this pandemic. I’d like to thank the many Fellows who answered our call for volunteers and provided such thoughtful and caring answers.

For example,

  • Chandlee Dickey answers 15-year-old Maya’s question, “Both my parents are doctors. What happens if they both get sick?”
  • And Dr. John Kortbeek sings his favourite handwashing song for four-year-old Clare.

You can view the final videos and other resources for kids on our website.

I hope you find this content of use and share among your networks. Please send feedback to

Spring town halls have been cancelled

Just one final note, given the current situation, we have cancelled the Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) Town Halls we had previously scheduled for this spring. These include the dates planned in Edmonton, Alta. (May 12); Saskatoon, Sask. (May 13); Sherbrooke, Que. (May 20); and Mississauga, Ont. (May 27). We hope to be able to see you all at a later date.

Until my next update, please take care of yourself and your families.


Susan D. Moffatt-Bruce, MD, PhD, MBA, FACS, FRCSC
Chief Executive Officer

Access COVID-19 news and resources on the Royal College website