Author: Royal College


Program Directors (PD) play a vital role in Canada’s postgraduate education system.  Over the course of an average day, a program director wears many different hats and helps support, sustain and enhance a complex and critical system that serves an important role in the health of all Canadians.  This sounds like a huge responsibility largely because it is a crucial role and one that deserves to be well-supported.

If you are a new PD we want to congratulate, welcome and reassure you that you are in good company.  Over the course of your term as a PD, you will learn much about residency training, leadership, change and people.  While, there will be some challenges, there will also be many rewarding experiences ahead.

This eBook is written by numerous educators who have an in-depth, and often a personal, understanding of your role, responsibilities and context.  Full of practical advice, this resource is designed to help you be an efficient and effective program director.  The topics covered in this handbook are informed by experienced educators and they are designed it to help you make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.  We hope that the comprehensive list of  topics will also help you to identify, mitigate and move through common challenges.

This new resource is being released in installments.  As material is finalized, we’re making it available to help make your work easier and more rewarding.  Over the course of the fall of 2021, we intend to provide you with more and more content.

We’d also like to acknowledge that this ebook is an update to an earlier Program Director Handbook which was released by the Royal College in 2013.  While it has evolved to reflect the changing landscape and context, it does build on many of these timeless topics and issues that are common across time.  Click here for a list of the 2013 contributors as well as a link to the original book.

In developing a resource like this one, we were deliberate about balancing functionality and comprehensiveness.  As a Program Director you are and will always be busy so we have tackled topics with what we hope is enough depth to provide value, but with the brevity to facilitate quick infusions of timely information.   In many cases, we’ve included a short list of other resources that you can access if you’re looking for a deeper dive on any specific topic.

Finally, we want to acknowledge that this book was released in 2021, when many but not all residency programs had yet transitioned to Competence by Design, which is a version of competency based medical education used in Royal College accredited programs.  In an effort to extend the shelf-life of this resource, you will see that we’ve elected to cover relevant topics without including timeline or timeframes.

We welcome and appreciate comments that we can use for future editions.