Physician assistant

Certified physician assistants in BC

The Ministry of Health is working with the College and health system partners to develop a structure that enables physician assistants to work in emergency departments in hospitals.

As this is a new classification, considerable planning is required to ensure appropriate and safe integration of physician assistants in the BC health system.

This includes establishing:

  • an employment and compensation model
  • a regulatory framework with supporting policies on clinical supervision
  • policies to protect the health and safety of patients
  • processes to ensure associate physicians are supported in their work to deliver quality medical care


Physician assistants must be certified with the College in order to practise in BC. Once registered, they will be referred as certified non-registrants.


An applicant must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • hold certification with one of the following:
  • are current in physician assistant practice (for example, practised a minimum 24 weeks of in the preceding three years)
  • have Canadian citizenship, is a permanent resident or otherwise be legally able to live and work in British Columbia
  • is sponsored by a health authority with a letter, satisfactory to the Registration Committee, that:
    • identifies the applicant’s employer
    • describes how the applicant will practise
    • outlines that the applicant will be working under the direction and supervision of an attending physician
  • paying the $340 registration fee
  • completing the physician assistant class application form
  • completing the acknowledgement form
  • clearing a criminal records check
  • confirming a business address
  • providing appropriate identity documents
  • providing certificates of professional conduct, where applicable
  • providing references

Maintaining the licence

Ongoing registration and licensure in the physician assistant class is maintained by

  • completing the annual licence renewal form,
  • paying the annual licence renewal fee as detailed in Schedule A of the College Bylaws,
  • paying any costs owed to the College (outstanding fine, fee, penalty fee, debt, levy),
  • complying with continuing competency requirements,
  • obtaining ongoing professional liability coverage or protection, and
  • providing certificates of professional conduct, where applicable.

The annual licence renewal process is accessed through the registrant portal. Registrants will be notified by email of the licence renewal process in late December or early January each year.

Renew the licence by March 1 each year

Certified non-registrants must complete the annual licensure process by March 1 to avoid a $500 penalty. The penalty increases by $100 increments each month until the process is completed.

Failure to complete the annual licensure process will also result in the suspension of a certified non-registrant’s licence on April 1. The licence will be reinstated when the annual licence renewal form is completed to the satisfaction of the College, and online payment of all outstanding fees and penalties are made.

Frequently asked questions

Recently, College Bylaws were drafted to introduce a framework for licensing and regulation of physician assistants (PA) to respond to the urgent need to resource emergency departments in the province.

The FAQs were developed to address common questions raised during the consultation of the bylaw amendments. It only addresses questions related to the College Bylaws.

Read frequently asked questions relating to the updated Bylaws