A Brief History of Occupational Medicine

Timeline: The Birth of a Specialty – Occupational Medicine


2 Colleges exist in Canada which oversee postgraduate medical education: the CFPC (College of Family Physicians of Canada) and the RCPSC (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada)

RCPSC sets highest standards for specialty medical education in Canada


Treatment of injuries at work was mainly done by surgeons due to the high prevalence of trauma in workplaces


With increased screening for early detection through pre-placement and periodic health exams, family physicians became gradually more employed in industry


At this time, Occupational Medicine subsumed under Public Health (later called Community Medicine in 1974)


The number of full time occupational physicians in industry declining

1960’s to 1970’s

Health care system changes (Canada Health Act) segregate personal insured services from occupational health care (third party compensation)

Hamm commission (1978) recommended provincial health and safety regulation and joint worker-management responsibility

Late 1970’s

CCOHS – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety emerges

MDs lobbied RCPSC (Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) for own specialty, but the process was slow


Canadian Board of Occupational Medicine born. This is a free-standing body, providing recognition of special competence, but not recognized for licensure


Occupational Medicine is recognized as a distinct specialty from Community Medicine by the RCPSC, and recognized by provincial colleges for licensure


First residency training program in Occupational Medicine


Occupational Medicine becomes a sub-specialty of Internal Medicine

OMSOC formed


New route of entry to Occupational Medicine training from Public Health and Preventive Medicine