Pandemic delays clinical exams for physiotherapy graduates
KITCHENER -- Hundreds of physiotherapy graduates are still waiting for the certification after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed clinical exams.
Some have now had their exams cancelled three times.
Archna Behal said she's delayed starting her career in a new country.
"I have two kids with me, so there are financial obligations, family obligations," Behal said.
Behal, who is a Brantford resident, needs to take the clinical exam to become a licensed physiotherapist in Canada, despite being trained in India.
"(I've) been working since 2009, so it's been almost, close to 11, 12 years," she said.
Behal took time off work to study and invested in a laptop to take the test last weekend, but the virtual platform crashed.
"It was devastating for me," she said.
The Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators cancelled the exam for the third time since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement, the CAPR said it's "taking steps to offer a full refund to all candidates," as well as offering counselling services.
"Moving forward, we are taking several steps to ensure problems are solved and to mitigate the damage caused by this issue," a statement said in part.
It's still not known what that will look like.
"It's not acceptable for these graduates to have to go through the mental and financial cost of this type of delay," said Viivi Riis, president of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.
Hundreds of graduates remain in limbo due to the cancellations.
Riis is calling to suspend testing to help meet the demand for physiotherapists, suggesting looking at other methods of testing to ease graduate backlog.
"Physiotherapists treat COVID patients in the hospitals, in the ICU," Riis said. "We treat them when they come home, we treat the long haul."
Waterloo resident Leanne Park is supposed to take the exam in June, but now faces uncertainty.
"A health-care system that needs us out there helping in these unprecedented times and we just want to do it," she said.