In   on October 1, 2011

Touchstone Institute Annual Report 2010/2011


2010/2011's Message from the Executive Director and CEO:


HealthForceOntario is the province’s strategy to ensure that Ontarians have access to the right number and mix of qualified health professionals – now and in the future. As part of that strategy, the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad (CEHPEA) was established to create a gold standard for assessment and training of internationally educated health professionals.

That was four years ago. We are pleased to report that we have created the largest International Medical Graduate (IMG) assessment and training centre in Canada. Beyond the size and scope of our examinations and educational programs, it is gratifying to hear from our stakeholders that we have earned a reputation for excellence, innovation and credibility.

We are committed to supporting the province’s efforts to increase access to medical professionals, while ensuring that the highest standards are met. Whether it is creating or running examinations or training programs, we constantly evaluate, fine tune and improve our processes, products and services based on best practices and consultations with our partners and clients.

Given our expertise with large-scale written and clinical assessments, we were invited to play a leadership role in the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) to create a process to assess IMGs’ medical knowledge and skills and provide a nationally recognized credential. As our General Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CE1) was the largest in the country, we provided a large amount of examination content for the NAC Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) from our CE1 item bank. The new NAC OSCE, which replaces CE1, was launched in March and CEHPEA will be the biggest test site in Canada. In 2010/11 we also offered written and clinical assessments for seven specialties and ran a test site for the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada examination.

In addition to ongoing refinements of our assessments and educational programs, we have made many improvements to streamline processes for IMGs. This year we revamped our website to make it easier for applicants to access information about our services and requirements. We also improved the process for retrieving and validating professional credentials by becoming a Licensed User of the Medical Identification Number for Canada and partnering with the Medical Council of Canada Physician Credentials Repository.

We have always responded quickly to ministry directions and the changing needs of our stakeholders and Ontario’s health system. As a result, we have often been propelled into new frontiers and asked to come up with creative ideas. Innovation – the process of bringing ideas to life – has become one of our strengths.

Our Pre-Residency Program (PRP) and Orientation to Training and Practice in Canada (OTPC) program were created at the request of Program Directors from Ontario’s Faculties of Medicine. These programs, which are unique to Ontario, have been extremely successful and this year, they were taken to the next level with the launch of a new, improved hybrid (classroom and online learning) model for the OTPC program. The new program provides more Zexibility, outstanding elearning modules, discussion forums, polls and real-time feedback. This format has generated a high level of engagement and satisfaction among participants.

In another exciting development this year, we have broadened our focus to work on several major nursing initiatives. We have partnered with Nipissing University as it launches an innovative type of Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. Collaborating with the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) we created a Quality-Assurance Practice Assessment OSCE for nurse practitioners as part of their continuing competence assessment. We are also working with CNO and the Nursing Secretariat to develop and implement an assessment process for Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs). As the number of IENs is triple the number of IMGs, the scale of these assessments is unprecedented in Canada.

While expanding to new professions, we never lose sight of our core commitment to being a world-class centre for rigorous and objective assessment. Our exams are constructed by our in-house experts working with medical education experts from Ontario’s universities and professional colleges. Extensive training is provided for examiners and standardized patients and their feedback, along with candidate evaluations, is solicited every step of the way. We take great pride to ensure that rigorous processes are in place to evaluate and validate the accuracy of testing procedures and the calculation of results. The result is a reputation for unquestioned credibility.

Fiscal Period




on March 12, 2024
Responding to a Changing Landscape.
on October 12, 2022
A glimpse of the last year at Touchstone Institute.
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