The Definitive Guide To Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Updated: May 6
The majority of Family Physicians in Canada use CFPC Mainpro+ to record their Continuing Medical Education and the points that are associated with different types of learning activities. Different activity types have different certified and non-certified point values - both are important and there are specific amounts that are required each 5 year cycle. Not recording and submitting your points can result in losing your ability to use the ‘CFPC” and specialty designations (i.e. EM, SEM). Read on for a summary of your CME/CPD requirements.
In this guide, you'll find the following topics. Read straight through or use the links below to jump to the section that interests you:
What are CME Credits?
CME Credits are broadly separated into certified and non-certified activities/programs. In general, Non-Certified Activities are worth 1 point per hour. Examples include:
Group Activities: non-certified educational conferences, non-certified medical rounds, non-certified webinars
Self-Learning Activities: reading journals, presenting at conferences (and preparation time), preparing/submitting manuscripts for publication, listening to podcasts, teaching (clinical or academic) or giving lectures.
Assessment Activities: acting as a reviewer for medical journals.
Note: Industry-sponsored (e.g. pharmaceutical) meetings that do not bear the CFPC certification statement are not eligible for any type of Mainpro+ credits. Certified Activities are sometimes worth MORE than 1 credit per hour. For example, ACLS, ATLS, APLS, PALS, NRP, and ALARM are all worth 2 credits/hour. NOTE: BLS/CPR is only eligible for 1 NON-CERTIFIED credit per hour. Examples of CERTIFIED activities are as follows:
Are Medical Doctors Required To Take Continuing Medical Education (CME) Courses?
As a practicing Family Physician, if you want to keep your CCFP designation (and your licence in some provinces), you are required to complete the following CME activities each year and over a 5 year cycle:
250 Credits (total) every FIVE years
At LEAST 125 must be CERTIFIED
The other 125 Credits can be EITHER Certified or Non-Certified
At LEAST 25 (either Certified or Non-Certified) must be earned/reported EACH year of the 5 year cycle.
Most physicians will easily reach the requirement by reading medical journals/literature, attending conferences like Vital FM Update (online and in-person), and by attending courses such as BLS/ACLS/ATLS. If you are planning time away from your medical practice for SIX months or longer for illness/parental leave you can apply to be granted a one-year cycle extension from the CFPC.
What's The Difference Between CPD and CME?
The acronyms CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and CME (Continuing Medical Education) are often interchanged. What does it mean to you as a family physician? Simply put, CME, and the points you collect, are a part of the process of continuing professional development. Pro tip: Upload your PDF certificates or proof of completion to your MAINPRO+ account. Otherwise you need to keep your certificates of completion for a minimum of SIX years.
So that’s it! A clear and concise summary of what you need to be up to date with your CME credits as a Family physician in Canada. A great way to stay up to date with all of the latest guideline updates and changes in Family Medicine in Canada is to attend Vital FM Update, available online and covering all of the 105 topics in Family Medicine each year! Make it a part of your annual CME Certified credits journey and be the most up to date doc in your clinic!