Donate Now!

Program Development Toolbox

All externally developed programs are required to develop programs that respect the standards established by the CFPC and RCPSC. These standards may be requirements to include in the application for credit, while others are requirements of the planning committee during the designated approval cycle.

Please review the guidelines and resources below to support the development of your program.

How to Identify a Physician Organization

Complete this checklist to see if your organization qualifies as a valid physician organization.

A physician organization is defined by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada as a not-for-profit group of health professionals with a formal governance structure, accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through:

  • continuing professional development,
  • provision of health care, and/or
  • research

The physician organization is accountable to and serving, among others, its physician members through a governance structure that enables the membership to vote on strategic directions and initiatives of the organization as a whole.

Examples of physician organizations:

  • faculties of medicine
  • hospital departments or divisions
  • medical societies, associations and academies
  • physician research organizations
  • health authorities not linked to government agencies
  • Canadian provincial/territorial medical regulatory authorities (MRAs)

This definition excludes:

  • pharmaceutical companies and their advisory groups;
  • medical and surgical supply companies;
  • medical device companies;
  • communication companies: and,
  • other for-profit organizations and ventures/activities.

Examples of other groups that are not considered physician organizations:

  • disease-oriented patient advocacy organizations
  • government departments or agencies (e.g. Health Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada)
  • medical education or communications (MEC) companies
  • for-profit online educators, publishing companies or simulation companies
  • small groups of physicians working together to develop educational programming

Conflict of Interest (COI)

All scientific planning committee (SPC) members, speakers, moderators and authors must complete a COI Declaration form. SPC member COIs must be included with your application.

At the beginning of each presentation, disclosure of any affiliations that may cause the perception of bias in the presentation must be disclosed.  The SPC and the presenter are responsible for including these slides at the beginning of the presentation.

Needs Assessment

This is the foundation for your program.  Needs assessment should include both perceived and unperceived resources to identify the knowledge/skill gap for your target audience.

Please visit the CEPD Needs Assessment Portal to access useful resources.

The SPC is responsible to review all needs assessment resources and use them to:

  • identify the knowledge/skill gaps
  • set topics and goals for the program
  • determine the CanMEDs and CanMEDs-FM roles that will be addressed by the program
  • establish program AND session specific learning objectives (and what CanMEDs roles align with each)
  • determine the best speaker to meet the learning objectives
  • determine the best approach/method to deliver the education

Learning Objectives

Please review the NOSM CEPD Tip Sheet for Writing Learning Objectives for guidance with writing your learning objectives.

Note that learning objectives are NOT what you will be doing during the educational activity.

Learning objectives ARE:

  • Learner-centered (not what the speaker will do)
  • Aligned with one or more CanMEDs roles
  • Actionable (what skill/knowledge will the learner be able to apply?) Try to get away from more passive ‘identify/discuss/describe’ types of objectives and have the objectives reflect the skill, or applicable knowledge that the SPC would like participants to be able to apply in practice, to ideally affect patient outcomes.
  • Measurable (how might the learner know it was successfully learned?)
  • Are recommended to be written in a logical order that outlines
    • Knowledge gained> Comprehension of the knowledge> Application of the knowledge or Analysis or Synthesis> Evaluation

Other resources: Bloom’s Taxonomy of Verbs

Content Development

The Scientific Planning Committee should guide the development of content through:

  • Establishing a Scientific Planning committee (COI Declaration Forms should be completed and reviewed at the start of planning to ensure any potential of bias is mitigated in the program and content development
  • Identification of gaps in knowledge, skill or practice
  • Decisions regarding topics
  • Development of Learning Objectives – based on the identified gaps
  • Decisions regarding the most appropriate modality for delivering the content, (face-to-face/conference, workshop, small group; online; video-conference; self-directed)
  • Invitation to speakers that includes the above information, and the following (See Sample Speaker letters):
    • Conflict of Interest Disclosure requirements
    • How the planning committee recommends mitigation of any perception of bias (based on review of speaker COI Declaration form)
    • Guidance related to ways to incorporate interactivity, Incorporation of evidence and addressing barriers to change
    • Where relevant, issues related to the National Standard on the Support of Accredited CPD Activities should be highlighted

For all CPD related to Medical Cannabis, please note the following:

  • The COI declarations and presentations from presenters on this topic will likely be requested by the medical reviewers given the current status of regulation and risk associated with claims beyond the parameters outlined in the current Clinical Practice Guidelines as published in the Canadian Family P, Vol 64, February 2018.
  • Please use this SPC Guide for the Development of Eligible Medical Cannabis Presentations, developed by the CEPD Medical Reviewers, to assist scientific planning committees and speakers with the development of medical cannabis presentations that are eligible for Accreditation/certification.

Speaker Communication

The form of communication (letter or email) used to solicit speakers must be uploaded with your application. Speaker communications must include session learning objectives, COI disclosure requirements, CFPC Quality Criteria.


It is the responsibility of the SPC to maintain a budget for the duration of the program. The budget template outlining all sources of revenue/sponsorship and expenses must be included in your application.

Sponsorship Management – What you need to know

**Please note that this area is currently under revision

When requesting sponsorship for your program, the application will require an ethical review before approval. It is very important to review the documents below, in particular the National Standard on the Support of Accredited CPD, which is a national standard that all CPD must adhere to.

Before you reach out to potential sponsors, you must develop a Sponsorship Prospectus, which will outline the sponsorship options available, and the terms, conditions and benefits associated with each level of sponsorship. The prospectus must allow the sponsor to select their preferred option and sign, confirming their commitment to the terms outlined. This becomes your contract. Many sponsors will require you to sign a contract from their organization before releasing any funds.

Please review this sample Sponsorship Prospectus, and if you have any questions as you develop your own, you are encouraged to consult with the CEPD Office at

Please review:



Your promotion (poster/link to website/email sample) and an agenda for your program must be included in your application. (The agenda is used to determine the appropriate learning hours and credit allocation during the program review.)


Attendees must be provided the opportunity to evaluate both the program learning objectives and the session specific learning objectives. **Note that your evaluation should include the learning objectives with the CanMEDs roles identified by the SPC for each objective.

Attendance and Sign-In

It is the responsibility of the SPC to maintain attendance records of every session. The data collection can occur in a number of formats as shown by the tools in this section of the application, which include:

All participants must be signed in to receive credit. The sign in sheets keep track of your attendees so you know whom to issue certificates.

Certificates of Attendance

All participants in an accredited/certified program should receive a certificate of attendance that includes mandatory information established by the CFPC and RCPSC. Please use the following samples to guide the development of your certificate of attendance.


Additional Resources

National Standard for Support of Accredited CPD Activities

At A Glance Program Accreditation/Certification Requirements

CEPD Office: SPC Guide for the Development of Eligible Medical Cannabis Presentations

CFPC: Mainpro+ Addressing Barriers to Change

CFPC: Mainpro+ Incorporation of Evidence

CFPC: Mainpro+ QuickTips on Conflict of Interest and Transparency

CEPD:  Quick Tips on Writing Learning Objectives

CFPC Quality Criteria Scoring Framework