Our Mission

To excel in providing competency assessment and education services that meet professional and societal needs

About Us

Touchstone Institute is a non-profit corporation that offers expertise in evaluation and curriculum development to promote public confidence in professional competence in the Canadian workforce. We excel in providing competency based services in support of successful transitions to training and practice that meet professional and societal needs.

Touchstone Institute fosters strong relationships with key stakeholders to share knowledge, promote dialogue, and implement programs with cross-sectoral impacts. Supported by expertise in simulation, innovation in exam technology, and robust research-based quality assurance, we are expertly prepared to meet the diverse needs of our clients, stakeholders, and partners. We specialize in creating valid and authentic competency based experiences for internationally educated health professionals.

A room fitted with optometry equipment and a screen with an image of an eye being displayed
Headshot of a man wearing a blue suit and a red tie

A message from

John McKinley

orange accent line

Touchstone Institute Chair

Just as any organization that deals directly with people, Touchstone Institute had a challenging year due to the pandemic. In our first quarter, we had to cancel exams and we had to change the format of our learning programs to online. As the year went on and the 2nd and 3rd pandemic waves rolled over us, more exam events were lost. In recent years, we were expanding through increasing reliance on program fees from these events, but their loss was now a sizeable risk. By June, it was clear that we needed to decide if we were going to cut costs to endure or commit to invest in finding our way forward. The Board chose the latter and focused on developing “future proofing” initiatives proposed by staff. The Board gave the green light to invest in safety redesign and technological innovation. Program teams were committed to finding safe ways to deliver our services - primarily through a conversion to virtual delivery. This was the right decision, and one that has opened up the organization to new opportunities with learning programs and exams that can now be accessed globally.

I have been privileged to chair this organization during a period of service expansion, and have been impressed by the resilience shown when challenged. With my term complete, I have the honour of handing the chair over to Ella Ferris to oversee the next phase of Touchstone Institute’s journey.

A message from

Sten Ardal

orange accent line

Touchstone Institute CEO

I was very vested in the idea that working together in an office environment was a requirement to build team relationships, transfer knowledge efficiently, and maximize productivity. I still believe in the value of personal contact, but the pandemic clearly demonstrated that great accomplishments are possible even when our only connections are through an electronic medium. Touchstone Institute staff have transformed every aspect of our services quickly, expertly, and reliably while working remotely. We are no longer the boutique competency centre reliant on our facility to educate and assess. That version of our organization was based on in-person services. In the past we had questioned whether it was possible to deliver to the same standard remotely, but this year that question became our challenge, resulting in the five “future proofing” goals described in this report.

By year’s end we had achieved all five goals thanks to the commitment of staff and the support of the Board. Furthermore, this was accomplished under challenging remote circumstances, and considerable “Zoom fatigue”. These initiatives are transformational for us, and continue to be works in progress. I look forward to reporting in the future on how we have integrated the best of what has been created during COVID with our “boutique” roots.

A headshot of Sten, wearing a blue suit and a red tie

Board of Directors

Ariana Bradford headshot

Ariana Bradford

Dan Faulkner Headshot

Dan Faulkner

Ella Ferris Headshot

Ella Ferris

Murray Klein Headshot

Murray Klein

Lianne Krakauer Headshot

Lianne Krakauer

Shamira Madhany Headshot

Shamira Madhany

Headshot of a man wearing a blue suit and a red tie

John McKinley

Hanika Pinto Headshot

Dr. Hanika Pinto

© 2021 Touchstone Institute

Scroll To Top