Definition of a Physician Organization (PO)

McGill University’s CPD Office only accredits and certifies activities developed by a PO. The PO must develop all aspects of a CPD activity, from structuring the Scientific Planning Committee (SPC) to the evaluation outcome.

The PO and/or SPC must have ultimate authority over all decisions, is accountable to ensure compliance with the administrative, educational and ethical accreditation and certification standards, and is responsible for the finances.

As per the National Standard for Support of Accredited CPD Activities (page 9), the definition of a PO is:

a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through continuing professional development, provision of health care and/or research.


  • Faculties of medicine departments or divisions
  • Hospital departments or divisions (Three physicians from the same department that are developing the activity as members of the department are considered to be a PO. If the three physicians are from different departments, the group cannot be equated as a physician organization.)
  • Medical societies
  • Medical associations
  • Medical academies
  • Physician research organizations
  • Canadian provincial medical regulatory authorities (MRAs)

Does NOT include:

  • Hospitals
  • Health authorities in BC
  • Pharmaceutical companies or their advisory groups
  • Medical/surgical supply companies
  • Disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations (e.g. Canadian Diabetes Association)
  • Government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • Industry (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, etc.)
  • Medical education or communications (MEC) companies
  • 'For-profit' on-line educators, publishing companies or simulation companies (e.g. Medscape)
  • Small number of physicians working together to develop educational programming
  • Any other for-profit organizations/ventures

Note: If requesting CFPC Mainpro+ credits, the PO may be made up of two or more CFPC members or a single CFPC member in affiliation with one or more other health care provider for the specific purpose of creating CPD activities.

As per the CQDPCM Code of Ethics (page 7), the definition of a PO is a for-profit or non-profit organization that has more than one health care professional as a member.

This includes:

  • Educational institutions
  • Medical clinics
  • Professional associations, scientific organizations and physician groups
  • Faculties of medicine
  • Other medical organizations at the provincial or national level

To confirm if the PO complies with CPD standards Physician Organization, answer the questions below:

  • Is the PO a McGill University or McGill University Health Centre unit? 
  • Is the PO registered as a not-for-profit Canadian corporation? 
  • Is the PO made up of a group of health professionals accountable to one group of specialists? 
  • Does the PO have a formal governance structure with official member bylaws?
  • Does the PO serve its members?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all the questions above, you may be in compliance with the standards.

The Physician Organization must be Canadian, but may decide to have non-Canadians members on the SPC if the results of the needs assessment indorse the need.

Definition of Co-Development

RCPSC - Definition of Co-Development

Co-development is the process by which a physician organization (PO) collaborates with another organization to develop, plan and implement an accredited/certified educational activity. For the reason that the PO must be involved from the beginning of the planning process, non-physician organizations must contact prospective physician organizations before the planning begins.

As such, a representative of the PO must be a member of the scientific planning committee. The PO must also have ultimate authority over all decisions related to the activity, and is accountable to ensure that the administrative, educational and ethical accreditation standards are met. Additionally, should the activity receive financial support, from either for-profit or non-profit organizations, the PO/SPC is responsible for receiving and distributing financial and in-kind support. Accordingly, the PO is responsible for the payment of honoraria, travel, lodging and meal expenses for faculty presenting at an accredited activity.


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