College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

The College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) is a regulatory college in the Canadian province of Alberta. Its stated purpose is to "register physicians and issue medical practice permits, develop and administer standards of practice and conduct, and investigate and resolve physician-related complaints". CPSA also "provides leadership and direction on health and related policy issues".[1]

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
TypeRegulatory college
Region served

The organization was formed in Calgary in 1905.[2]



While still part of the Northwest Territories, the NWT Medical Ordinance regulated the medical profession in the geographic regions that became the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Dr. James D. Lafferty served as NWT Medical Ordinance registrar from 1901 until 1905.[3]

On July 20, 1905, the Parliament of Canada passed the Alberta Act through which Alberta became a province of the Dominion of Canada.[4] According to the Alberta Act, existing societies or associations that regulated the medical profession, dentistry, pharmaceutical chemistry and others, under the Northwest Territories (NWT) Medical Ordinance, were dissolved.[4]

On May 9, 1906, the Alberta Medical Profession Act was passed in the newly formed Alberta legislature. Lafferty had drafted the medical acts for both newly formed provinces—Alberta and Saskatchewan.[3]

In 1906, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) was founded in Calgary.[2] The Canadian Medical Association's Alberta Division was formed later in the same year.[2] The Alberta Division is now known as the Alberta Medical Association. AMA served as the educational body that also worked collaboratively with CPSA on issues such as standards of medical care.[2]

On October 18, 1906, the newly elected Medical Council of Alberta appointed Lafferty as registrar.[3] Dr. William A. Lincoln became a member of the Alberta Medical Association and was appointed secretary-treasurer in 1908.[3]

Disciplinary hearings


The case of Aubrey Levin attracted international media attention, following the suspension of Levin's license by CPSA in March 2010.[5][6] Levin, who has been identified as an alleged abuser of human rights for his role as Chief psychiatrist and team leader at South African Defence Force (SADF)'s drug rehabilitation program near Pretoria in the 1970s,[7][8] was "convicted of sexual assaulting three of his patients [in Alberta] between 2008 and 2010."[5][9][10] South Africa's post apartheid era, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), had investigated the controversial nature of an SADF project that Levin ran while he was an SADF Colonel—The Aversion Project.[11][12] Levin emigrated to Canada in the late 1990s and refused to return to testify before the TRC.[5] Levin denied that he had "any sexual motive or basis for [his] sexual offences" and that he was not "aware that what he was doing was a criminal act in Canada as it's allowed in his home country of South Africa."[9]

On October 16, 2020 Wynand Wessels, a white orthopedic surgeon, told a CPSA disciplinary hearing that he had "tied a noose and taped it to the door" of an operating room at Queen Elizabeth II Hospital Grande Prairie, Alberta in June 24, 2016.[13] Wessels denied that the noose had targeted a black surgical assistant—originally from Nigeria—who worked in that operating room.[13] Wessels said that he grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era without a free press, and was not aware of the racial connotations associated with the noose and lynching in North America.[13] Those interviewed for a July 3, 2020 CBC News report said that the incident had been reported in June 2014, and complaints made since then, but CPSA, the Alberta Health Services (AHS), and Tyler Shandro, Alberta's health minister had not followed through.[14] On December 6, 2021 Wessels was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by an independent hearings tribunal and handed a 4 month suspension.[15]


  1. ^ About Us: What we do, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, accessed 2 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d "Inside AMA - Who we are - History OpenDocument". Alberta Medical Association. November 18, 2008. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Law vs. Licensure: Which shall rule?", Alberta Medical Association, January 2, 2014, retrieved October 12, 2020
  4. ^ a b "Alberta Act". Solon. July 20, 1905. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Adams, Claude (May 7, 2013). "Timeline: Dr. Aubrey Levin". Global News. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  6. ^ Wingrove, Josh (March 10, 2020). "Controversial Alberta physician charged with sex crime". The Globe And Mail. Edmonton, Alberta. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  7. ^ Davis, Rebecca (January 29, 2013). "Dr Shock is in the dock – and now his wife is under lock". Daily Maverick. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "Calgary ex-psychiatrist found guilty of sexual assault - Calgary - CBC News". January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
  9. ^ a b Grant, Meghan (March 10, 2016). "Parole granted for 'manipulative' and 'egocentric' psychiatrist who sexually assaulted patients". CBC. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  10. ^ McGreal, Chris (July 29, 2000). "Gays tell of mutilation by apartheid army". The Guardian. Johannesburg. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  11. ^ McGreal, Chris (March 28, 2010). "'Doctor Shock' charged with sexually abusing male patient". The Guardian. World news. London. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  12. ^ Kaplan, Robert M. (March 2001). "The Aversion Project: psychiatric abuses in the South African Defence Force during the apartheid era". South African Medical Journal(SAMJ) Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Geneeskunde. 91 (3): 216–217. ISSN 0256-9574. PMID 11291415.url
  13. ^ a b c Russell, Jennie; Rusnell, Charles (October 16, 2020). "Grande Prairie surgeon denies targeting Black colleague with noose". CBC. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Rusnell, Charles; Russell, Jennie (July 3, 2020). "Alberta health minister orders review 4 years after noose hung at Grande Prairie hospital". CBC. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Alberta surgeon who hung noose in hospital receives four-month suspension |". Global News. Retrieved December 9, 2021.