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Physician assistants to become regulated healthcare professionals

January 20, 2021
They will be regulated by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.

On April 1, 2021, physician assistants (PAs) will become regulated healthcare professionals regulated by the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA). CPSA estimates there are 38 practising PAs in Alberta.

PAs practise medicine under a doctor’s supervision in clinical settings; their services depend on the individual PA-physician relationship. A PA’s scope of practice can include the following:

  • see and assess patients,
  • take patient histories,
  • perform physical exams,
  • educate patients,
  • perform procedures,
  • assist in surgery,
  • and more.

PAs provide these types of services under physician supervision.

Physician assistants also have the authorization to prescribe most medicationsPAs cannot prescribe controlled substances or narcotics.

Physician assistants started practising in Alberta in 2013. Since then, CPSA has maintained a list of those with recognized PA credentials. PAs will be expected to follow all CPSA Standards of Practice and comply with CPSA continuing competence requirements.

*This article was updated on May 3, 2023, to reflect the fact that physician assistants are able to prescribe most medications. For more information, please refer to the Link article Physician assistants able to prescribe published on May 3, 2023.