CPHA 2008 Annual Conference - Presentations

Poster: Core Competencies for Medical Officers of Health in Canada

Tuesday, June 3, 10:00 - 15:00


Hilary Robinson


Identification of competencies is considered crucial to workforce development.  Following the launch of the Core Competencies for Public Health in Canada, seven groups have been working to identify the competencies specific to their discipline.  Medical Officer of Health positions are critical to Public Health.  However, a variety of training backgrounds, limited numbers of Community Medicine residency positions, ill-defined career paths and inconsistencies in assessing MOH candidates with overseas training continue to make hiring and retention of qualified MOHs difficult, and chronic vacancies exist. 

With the support of the Public Health Agency of Canada a working group was assembled to identify a minimum set of basic competencies for public health physicians working in legislated position in Canada.  The public health legislation of all jurisdictions were reviewed along with MOH position descriptions from across the county.  Based on this review a listing of common roles and responsibilities was compiled.  Using existing competency sets including the Core Competencies for Public Health, US, UK and Australian publications competency statements were crafted to support the roles and responsibilities. 

Twelve domains were identified and fifty two competency statements were developed within each to support the roles and responsibilities.  These competency statements were then verified using the Royal College Training Requirements.  The draft statements and rational were then further refined through extensive consultation with key stakeholder groups.

Identification of the core competencies for the MOH role in Canada is a key step in facilitating assessment of training and supporting workforce development.