At the University of Ottawa, we take pride in going beyond the requirements outlined in the standards

Medical school accreditation has existed in Canada since 1942. The cyclical process improves the quality of education and health care; serves the interests of the public; and ensures general competences in preparation for graduate medical education. At the University of Ottawa, we take pride in going beyond the requirements outlined in the standards and use the peer-reviewed process to stimulate innovation with the goal of adjusting our medical education to the ever-changing conditions in health care and to prepare our doctors for the needs and expectations of the population we serve.

The evaluation process consists of a comprehensive medical school self-study, on-site evaluation by a team of peer reviewers, and CACMS review of the report of the site visit team. The University of Ottawa medical program was fully accredited in 2018; the next full accreditation review will take place during the 2026-2027 academic year.

As a Canadian medical school, the University of Ottawa is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). Historically, Canadian universities and medical schools were jointly accredited by CACMS and their American counterpart, the joint Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The CACMS and the LCME used the same policies and standards and members from the collaborating organizations would sit on each other’s committees. While they both endorse the same high standards for medical educational programs, it was recognized that differences may arise in some aspects to better allow for each country’s medical educational programs to meet unique national demands and it was agreed that the joint accreditation process would conclude in September 2021.

The decision to end the joint accreditation process was made to implement separate processes going forward in which the CACMS assumed independent accreditation of Canadian medical education programs while the LCME continued to accredit medical education programs in the United States. As these national standards are addressed, and to ensure the quality and substantial equivalency of accreditation standards and processes, the CACMS and the LCME will maintain a working relationship and collaborate at all levels while also considering the unique Canadian and United States contexts.

Accreditation Status

The University of Ottawa medical program was fully accredited in 2018. The next full accreditation review will take place in 2027.

In the report it provided to the medical school on October 16, 2018, CACMS/LCME rated 84 of the 93 elements within the 12 standards as “satisfactory”—the highest rating. Of the remaining nine elements, the accreditors rated six as “satisfactory with monitoring.” Thus, only three elements were rated as unsatisfactory. This is an improvement from our previous accreditation where four elements were deemed unsatisfactory (non-compliant). Our Faculty worked hard to address these elements and submitted follow-up reports in August 2019 and March 2021. A link to the full report and a preliminary Faculty interpretation of the report are below.

On behalf of the Faculty of Medicine, as well as Drs. Forgie and Marshall, I would like to congratulate you all. Thank you for your hard work and support.

Dr. Bernard Jasmin

medical education with book and stethoscope

Interpretation of the 2018 Final Report

Overall, the Faculty is extremely pleased with the accreditation results.  In particular, we are delighted with the many positive changes in the final findings compared to those initially identified in the exit report from the survey team on April 18. Of note, several of the perceived deficiencies were anticipated by the self-study sub-committees and Task Force, and we have already begun to work on these. For most of the findings, we will have almost two years to make revisions to satisfy the requirements of the elements. Below, is a summary of where we currently stand with regard to elements judged unsatisfactory and satisfactory with monitoring:

12.1 Unsatisfactory - Our students continue to report higher levels of debt at graduation than the national average. This is not surprising, since Ontario levels of tuition are higher than in most other provinces, particularly Quebec. Our recent introduction of a new financial aid and debt management curriculum will hopefully assist our students with consideration of, and dealing with, finances and debt.

1.1.1 - Unsatisfactory - One of the elements related to Social Accountability is new, as it was added after the 2014 change in the format of the standards. A UGME Social Accountability Committee has been established, and is introducing measures to meet the requirements of this new element. A particular observation is that we need to identify the health needs of the populations we serve.

10.2 - Unsatisfactory - A citation related to the authority of the Admissions Committee was related to a seldom, if ever, used procedure for review of difficult cases. It is our intention to revise or remove this procedure, to be able to satisfy this element.

1.1, 5.2 - SM* - The concerns with two of the elements cited are related to the presence of an interim dean at the time of the visit. Dr. Jasmin has now been appointed as Dean, and it should be relatively easy to satisfy the expectations of the CACMS with respect to these elements.

7.9 – SM - Another element relates to Interprofessional collaborative skills. We have already begun activities that will improve our adherence to the requirements associated with this element.

11.2 – SM - Questionnaires indicate that student satisfaction with career advising has been only moderate in the past, and the Faculty has adopted a revised process of career advising to address this. This is receiving favorable reception from students, but we will have to be able to demonstrate greater student satisfaction to the Accreditation Committee.

3.3 – SM - Diversity among faculty, and leaders, has not reached levels required to satisfy the CACMS, and progress will have to be achieved before 2020.

5.1 – SM - At the time of the visit, there was considerable uncertainty related to budget reductions to our Faculty by the uOttawa administration, and this has led to the citation of another element. We will have to address this in a report to CACMS by August 2019. It appears that this is of particular concern to the CACMS, since our actions to satisfy the other issues will be the subject of a second update report in 2020.

*SM = Satisfactory with Monitoring

Status Update

Dear faculty, staff and learners,

I am pleased to share with you the good news that our Medical School is fully accredited and compliant with each of the 12 Accreditation Standards. This is based on a recent letter from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) providing their decision on our March 2021 status report, as a follow-up from our CACMS accreditation visit in 2018. In addition, our University of Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre has just received word from the Royal College that we are now considered to be fully adherent on all of its accreditation standards. Finally, our graduate programs in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM), Neuroscience (NSC), Biochemistry (BCH) and Microbiology and Immunology (MIC) have also received within the last few months excellent reports on their cyclical reviews and numerous accolades from the expert external reviewers.

In the case of undergraduate medical education, our 2018 strong accreditation results have improved from the last report and now show that our consistent efforts toward excellence are bearing fruit. Just three elements – social accountability, career advising, and financial aid / debt management counseling / student educational debt – are designated as ‘satisfactory with monitoring’. Such improvements truly reflect our strategic efforts and investments of resources in specific areas to address previous concerns. Our current status is vividly illustrated in the colour-coded graphic presented below:

Summary of ratings for all standards and elements (PDF, 86.5 KB)

Overall, we can proudly say therefore that all of our educational programs are outstanding. This success nicely complements recent achievements on the research front that include, for example, higher success rates in CIHR grant competitions than the national average, $100M of CFI/ORF funding in the last five years, the Faculty leading a pan-Canadian research network to track COVID-19 variants through a $9M award from CIHR (with likely more funds to follow), and our success with several Faculty-specific programs such as the Clinical Research Chairs programs with investments of $40M over the next five years.

Altogether, these impressive achievements are important steps along the path toward our ambitious goal of becoming a Top 50 university worldwide for medicine and its related fields by our Faculty’s 80th anniversary in 2025. In line with our strategic plan Leading Innovation for a Healthier World, and with student satisfaction and the learning environment in mind, we also continue to expand our educational offerings and revitalize programs. For example, we are currently exploring the revitalization of our current programs and the creation of many new ones to meet our social accountability mandate and better serve our community. Among these, we are particularly proud of the recent University of Ottawa Senate approval of our new School of Pharmaceutical Sciences that will offer a PharmD program, thereby becoming Canada’s first French pharmacy program outside Quebec.

Congratulations are in order to all involved with these achievements with our educational programs and research initiatives. Together with significant progress with our other three strategic directions in Engagement, la Francophonie as well as with Internationalization and Global Health, our future is indeed bright and has never been so exciting!


Bernard Jasmin, PhD
Dean and Professor, Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa

Interim Accreditation Review

The Interim Accreditation Review takes place at approximately the half-way point between two full accreditation reviews. A medical school may decide to initiate an interim review to avoid the intense effort associated with de novo preparations for full accreditation surveys, to encourage a culture of Continuous Quality Improvement, and to improve success in the accreditation process. At the University of Ottawa, we believe this is an important component of continuous quality improvement in medical education and allows our program to: 1) detect emerging problems with standards; 2) identify critical issues requiring more immediate action; 3) increase local accreditation expertise; 4) develop a culture of continuous quality improvement.

The Interim Accreditation Review produces a report which lists all areas that require improvement or monitoring and recommendations on what needs to be done and by whom. It indicates priorities and timelines for how the work should be carried out. The report belongs to the faculty and is not shared with the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS). The Interim Review Committee monitors each area and reports to the Dean and key faculty committees on progress in addressing deficiencies. The Director of Accreditation has oversight of the follow-up on the recommendations.  These activities range from additional data collection and analysis of current program activities to implementation of new initiatives to ensure continuous quality improvement across all aspects of the medical program at the University of Ottawa.

stethescope on book of medicine