In the past two weeks there has been a substantial increase in the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, particularly within the Winnipeg Metropolitan Area. Furthermore, there has been an increase in cases amongst healthcare workers, including a recent outbreak at St. Boniface Hospital. As such, new public health restrictions and orders are in effect for the Winnipeg region.
Many of you have written and shared concerns about the upcoming MCCQE2 examinations scheduled for October 24 and 25th in Winnipeg. This examination is done in-person and involves sharing confined spaces with examiners and other exam takers for prolonged periods of time. The significant increase in local COVID-19 cases calls into question the safety of this examination, not only for residents, but also for the examiners and ultimately our patients. As such, PARIM has taken the following actions:
- Written to the Medical Council of Canada, expressing these acute safety concerns and requesting their immediate reassessment of the upcoming examination.
- Provided the same letter, as well as additional information about the examination to public health officials within the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
- Requested re-confirmation from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba that, in the event this exam is cancelled, provisional licenses will be continued/offered as was done in the spring. Furthermore, requested clarification on how the College would respond if a resident were to conscientiously object to taking this exam out of concern for their own safety.
- Communicated these concerns with the PGME office for further assessment of the risks this exam may pose.
We recognize that both cancelling or proceeding with this exam pose risks and complications to residents. However, our primary concern remains the safety of residents and our patients; hence this course of action. We are also aware of existing concerns related to the utility and structure of the MCC exams, and continue to work with our colleagues through Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) to address these issues.
We will keep you updated with any new information regarding this exam or COVID-19 in general. As always, please let us know if you have any questions.