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Who We Are

Originally created to identify and support internationally trained doctors for Ontario, we now provide competency evaluation expertise for many health disciplines across Canada.



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Touchstone Institute is the largest assessment centre of its kind in Canada. We provide professional competency assessment and learning programs primarily focused on meeting the needs of internationally educated health professionals.

By the Numbers

We work to facilitate entry to training or practice for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) by administering examinations to ensure examinees meet Canadian standards and by providing learning programs to help health professionals transition to training and practice in Canada.

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Over 4000 IEHPs access Touchstone Institute services annually

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Working with 6 different health professions including: Nurses, Physicians, Laboratory Professionals, Optometrists, Dietitians, and Nurse Practitioners

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Administering assessments in 7 jurisdictions across Canada

Vision and Mission

Our Vision

Public confidence in professional competence.

Our Mission

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

Our Journey

Touchstone Institute was established as a not-for-profit corporation in July of 2006 as a component of the Ontario Government's strategy to address health human resources demands.


We have since become an integral part of the commitment to internationally trained health professionals seeking entry into training and practice in Ontario, and have expanded to provide assessment, certification, and quality assurance programs for practitioners across Canada. In 2014 the name was changed from the Centre for the Evaluation of Health Professionals Educated Abroad to reflect this broader mandate. That year also saw the establishment of a Communication Program that develops and implements communication assessments working towards fair and defensible language proficiency standards for the Canadian healthcare workplace. Touchstone Institute moved into a new learning and assessment facility in 2016 that is designed to accommodate large high-stakes Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs).

What We Offer

Learning Programs

Medical residency is the continuation of training for family medicine and all other medical specialties. Our Learning Programs offer orientation that prepares international medical graduates (IMGs) and visa trainees from various training backgrounds for a successful transition into residency in the Canadian healthcare context.

Our programs are developed with the support of Ontario’s medical schools, and in consultation with physicians from various specialties and communities throughout Ontario. The goal is to identify and fill gaps that may exist between university programs provided to Canadian medical graduates and training that IMGs have received outside Canada in preparation for residency. Sessions are delivered by consulting physicians and medical educators from across Ontario and include many scenarios using our simulated clients as an integral component of the learning experience.

Our programming utilizes a variety of learning modalities - including lectures, simulations and small group work - to not only address learning types and needs but also to capture the diverse patient care needs in Ontario.

Touchstone Institute currently offers three types of education programs:

  • Pre-Residency Program (PRP) – Mandatory orientation program for international medical graduates who have been accepted into an Ontario specialty residency program.
  • Pre-Residency Program – Family Medicine (PRP-FM) – Orientation program for international medical graduates who have been accepted into an Ontario family medicine residency program. These two weeks of Family Medicine specific programming are in addition to completion of the PRP.
  • Canadian Medicine Primer (CMP) – Orientation program offered to visiting fellows and to residents studying in Canada under visa arrangements.
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What We Offer

Competency Assessments

Touchstone Institute specializes in designing and administering written and clinical exams that reliably assess the competencies of health professionals educated both internationally and in Canada, as well as their readiness for practice in Canadian jurisdictions. Our exams help regulatory colleges understand and evaluate the knowledge, skills and experience of examinees.

Touchstone Institute is entrusted with the development and administration of high‐stakes competency assessments on behalf of several regulatory boards.

Exams created by Touchstone Institute are constructed and validated by our in-house experts, who work in collaboration with practising health professionals and experts in healthcare from universities, professional colleges and regulatory bodies. We work closely with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to develop OSCE stations and written exams and have a commitment to ongoing development of content and test forms.

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Our Leadership

Touchstone Institute is committed to fostering strong relationships with key stakeholders to share knowledge, promote dialogue and implement programs with cross-sectoral impacts.

We are a non-profit corporation governed by a board of directors and receive financial support from the Government of Ontario for some of our programs. Over 45 full time staff contribute to the success of the organization, including experts in competency design and assessment, curriculum development, and psychometric analysis. We work closely with physicians, nurses and other health care providers who provide subject matter expertise and serve as our examiners.

Touchstone Institute works in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including:

  • Government
  • Regulatory bodies
  • Professional associations
  • Educational institutions


Touchstone Institute has collaborated with the following organizations to develop and administer high‐stakes medical and communication competency assessments of Canadian and internationally educated health professionals:

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