COVID-19 Update (March 23)

Susan Moffatt-Bruce
March 23, 2020 | Author: Dr. Susan Moffatt-Bruce

Dear Fellows,

Sadly, the COVID-19 situation has changed life as we knew it. We appreciate the hard work and uncertainty each and every one of you is facing and we empathize deeply with you. The Royal College is committed to the health and wellness of Canadians, and we are continually monitoring the effect of this COVID-19 on our residents, Fellows and staff.

The Royal College’s Crisis Management Team continues to meet twice daily (virtually) to ensure we stay on top of the situation and respond to your needs during this difficult and unsettled time. We remain committed to keeping you informed of the steps we are taking to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, support our residents and Fellows, and prioritize the wellness of Canadians.

Here are the latest updates. We hope they are helpful.

MOC Program requirements waived for 2020

Our primary aim is to support you during these challenging times. In recognition of this unprecedented situation, and in alignment with our partners at the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Royal College will be waiving all Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program requirements for 2020:

  • One year will be added to everyone’s cycle (everyone will now be on a six-year cycle).
  • While no credits are required to be submitted this year, any credits submitted will still be counted towards your current (now six-year) cycle. We are waiving the traditional 40-credit minimum requirement for 2020.

We hope this affords you some respite so to allow you to focus on your work and wellness.

Link to the latest FAQ: Impact of COVID-19 on 2020-21 MOC and dues cycles

Annual dues payment for 2020-21: deadline extended to August 31, 2020

We recognize that COVID-19 has impacted many of you, either directly or indirectly. This includes personal and professional hardships, as well as financial stresses and strains. We will be extending the 2020-21 annual dues deadline from April 30 until August 31, 2020. Late payment fees will only take effect after September 30.

If you anticipate a significant reduction in professional income due to COVID-19, we have support available. Please review our fee reduction guidelines and reach out to us for further details:

Update on Royal College examinations

As we shared on March 13, we made the difficult decision to postpone all Royal College spring 2020 written exams. We know this decision also impacts the timing of the oral/OSCE exams. We regret the impact this decision has had on residents and are working hard to reschedule the exams as soon as feasible, while respecting public health guidelines and ensuring the safety of all those involved.

We are currently targeting when the pandemic is more stable which will likely be September 2020 at the earliest. If the COVID-19 situation worsens, public health or government policies may dictate that we make further changes and we will be prepared. We are committed to providing a minimum six weeks’ notice in advance of all exam dates. The wellness of our residents and the patients they are caring for is our top priority.

Link to the latest update on the coronavirus outbreak and impact to the Royal College

COVID-19 resources for health professionals

To support our Fellows who are providing high quality patient care under these challenging circumstances, Royal College staff members have compiled evidence-based information and resources about COVID-19.

In these difficult times, it is also important that you take care of your health and well-being. Here are some great tips, abbreviated from an Ontario Medical Association resource, on how to be resilient and practice wellness, even in the midst of a pandemic!

  • Even though difficult, try to get enough rest, physical activity, hydration and nutrition.
  • Stay connected with your social/professional supports (it doesn’t have to be face-to-face!)
  • Monitor trusted sources of information; connect with colleagues to review new guidelines.
  • Keep tabs on your health and coping skills. Even better – have open dialogue with trusted people in your life. If you need extra supports, seek them out. Many provinces/workplaces have made physician resources available.
  • Exercise compassion. Try to avoid criticism and promote fairness in the workplace, and try to have consistent check-ins to safely voice concerns, solve problems or strategize.

The UN’s Inter-Agency Standing Committee has also released a document with valuable information on Supporting people working in the COVID-19 response [PDF] (page 15).

Critical work continues to move forward

Effective March 20, we have closed our reception though the Royal College remains open. Contact details for our departments can be found on our contact webpage. For the safety of our staff, most are working remotely while continuing to ensure that mission-critical work advances.

Our commitment to stay-in-touch (email, website, social)

These are uncertain times. We want you to know that our focus remains on you and supporting you throughout this pandemic. In addition to direct email, we also post critical information on our website and social media channels. In the meantime, if you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to and someone will try to respond as soon as possible.

Please accept our thanks and admiration

On behalf of everyone at the Royal College, we thank you all as you work tirelessly at the forefront of this pandemic. We appreciate the tremendous amounts of stress, pressure and uncertainty you are facing. Our gratitude goes out to each one of you; it seems insufficient, but please know it is sincere.

Until the next update, please take care.


Susan and Doug

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

Douglas Hedden, MD, FRCSC
Executive Director, Professional Practice and Membership