The role of physician assistants

The OMA submitted a response to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on Bill 283, Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario's Health System Act, 2021.

OMA Response

The OMA has supported the involvement of physician assistants in the Ontario health-care system for many years. We value the contribution of physician assistants to increase access to primary care and emergency department services across the province. The OMA also supports the regulation of physician assistants through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). Self-regulation is important to ensuring safe, quality care within a clear accountability framework.

Physicians and physician assistants have worked collaboratively and successfully for many years. The current model of delegation, where physicians temporarily transfer their authority to physician assistants and physicians remain accountable and responsible for patient care, works well.

The language in Bill 283 contemplated a different care delivery model, where physician assistants would be given independent authority to perform a controlled act when ordered by a physician. This is different from the current delegation model where the physician has final responsibility for patient care.  In the OMA’s submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, the OMA recommended maintaining the current model of care delivery. This recommendation was accepted, and an amended bill was passed on June 3, 2021.