The National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) is an alliance of Canadian organizations streamlining the evaluation process for international medical graduates (IMGs) seeking a licence to practise medicine in Canada.
In response to the 2004 Report from the Canadian Task Force on Licensure of International Medical Graduates (February 2004), the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) began a series of related initiatives to support the assessment of IMGs in Canada. From 2005 to 2009, a steering committee was struck to develop a framework and governance structure for the NAC.
A significant development of the NAC program is the pan-Canadian objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) used to assist Canadian medical school clinical residency programs in selecting IMGs into the first year of postgraduate training. This national examination also avoids duplication of assessments performed by provincial IMG assessment programs.
Additionally, the NAC is currently developing a pan-Canadian process to assess international medical graduates’ practice readiness. This practice-ready assessment (PRA) process would be available to selected IMGs seeking a provisional licence to enter medical practice.
NAC and the Medical Council of Canada
The NAC falls under the permanent governance responsibility of the MCC, and the NAC’s administrative body, the NAC Central Coordinating Committee or NAC3, reports to the MCC’s Council. The NAC3 serves as the NAC’s central body. The NAC Test Committee and the NAC PRA Steering Committee fall under its jurisdiction. Other assessment committees, should they be required, will also report to the NAC3.
The NAC3 oversees the development and use of a national, standardized set of assessments that are supported centrally by the MCC but can be administered by existing regional IMG assessment centres or through MCC’s testing network.
The IMG assessment continuum
While the development and delivery of the NAC OSCE examination is a current focus for the NAC, the examination represents only one step in the IMG assessment continuum. The NAC’s ultimate objective is to develop a streamlined, co-ordinated, standardized and integrated assessment process that could be offered in various provinces across the country.
Based on initial examination results, including results on the NAC OSCE, candidates will be better able to compete for additional residency training positions. Once fully developed, assessment processes will be available for eligible candidates to be considered for provisional licensure for entry into medical practice.
Information updates on the NAC are also available through the MCC’s newsletter, the Echo.