31303 – Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals



31303 – Physician assistants, midwives and allied health professionals
Physician assistants and midwives provide primary health care and treatment in conjunction with physicians and in collaboration with other health professionals. Physician assistants provide a range of health services to patients delivering preventive and continuous care toward the management of patients' health. Midwives provide full-course care to women and their babies during the pre- and post-natal period. This unit group also includes professionals, such as genetic counsellors, orthoptists and pathologists’ assistants, who work in collaboration with primary health occupations. Genetic counsellors assess individual or family risk of genetic conditions, and provide information to individuals, families and healthcare providers to promote informed choice. Orthoptists diagnose and treat binocular disorders. Pathologists’ assistants assist at autopsies and examinations of surgical specimens, or perform autopsies under a pathologist’s supervision. Physician assistants usually work under physicians in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals and clinics. Midwives are employed in hospitals, clinics, birthing centres or in private practice. Genetic counsellors usually work in private practice, hospitals, clinics and research institutes. Orthoptists work under an ophthalmologist, particularly in private practices or clinics. Pathologists’ assistants are usually employed in hospitals and universities.


Index of titles
Chief orthoptist
Clinical orthoptist
Genetic counsellor
Licensed midwife
Pathologists' assistant
Pathology assistant
Physician assistant
Registered midwife (RM)


Main duties
This group performs some or all of the following duties:
Physician assistants
Conduct patient interviews, physical assessments and take medical histories
Perform or order diagnostic tests and interpret results
In consultation with a supervising physician, formulate and implement treatment plans and monitor patients' progress
Perform and assist in minor surgery
Provide health maintenance education
May participate in research activities
May prescribe from a limited list of medications.
Provide primary, full-course, care to women and their babies during pregnancy, such as physical examinations, screening and diagnostic tests to monitor the health of mother and baby and make referrals to medical specialists as required
Manage labour and spontaneous normal deliveries
Care for, assess and monitor the health of newborns and refer infants to appropriate medical services as required
Provide advice and guidance regarding care for newborns and young infants.
Genetic counsellors
Provide information and support to families affected by or at risk of a genetic disorder
Gather and analyze family history and inheritance patterns, calculate risks of recurrence, and provide information about genetic testing and related procedures
Develop, implement or coordinate action plans and refer individuals and families to other health professionals
Design and conduct genetics training programs for other healthcare professionals or the general public
May conduct research in the field of medical genetics and genetic counselling.
Work alongside ophthalmologists to diagnose and treat eye disorders by performing specialized eye tests to measure and assess defective binocular vision or abnormal eye movement in patients
Prescribe treatment such as eye exercises or patching regimens.
Pathologists' assistants
Prepare for autopsies by obtaining patients' medical records and arranging for radiographic examinations
Prepare, assist with or perform autopsies and surgical specimen examinations under pathologists' supervision
Assist with preparation of provisional autopsy report
Dissect, examine, weigh, photograph and X-ray organs and specimens, collect tissue samples for chemical analysis and record findings
Discard specimens according to established safety procedures
Clean and maintain instruments, equipment and supplies
Develop and maintain processes for laboratory quality control
May prepare bodies for release to funeral homes following completion of autopsies
May supervise and train junior resident pathologists and morgue attendants.


Employment requirements
Physician assistants
Physician assistants require completion of a university degree in a physician assistant program.
Physician assistants require registration with a regulatory body in Manitoba and New Brunswick.
Midwives require completion of an undergraduate university degree program in midwifery or its equivalent and a period of supervised practical training.
Registration with a regulatory body is required for midwives in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Genetic counsellors
Genetic counsellors usually require a master’s degree in genetic counselling and the certification with the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC).
A bachelor's degree and completion of a two-year accredited training program in orthoptics are required.
Certification with the Canadian Orthoptic Council is required.
Continuing education is required for recertification with the Canadian Orthoptic Council.
Pathologists’ assistants
Pathologists' assistants usually require completion of a master’s degree in a pathologists’ assistant program.
Certification by the Canadian Certification Council of Pathologists’ Assistants, the American Society for Clinical Pathology – Board of Certification, or Pathologists’ Assistant Certification Examination is usually required by employers.
Membership in the national association, Canadian Association of Pathologists, is voluntary, but may be required by some employers.


Additional information
Orthoptists may also be trained as ophthalmic technicians or technologists.
Orthoptists often work as part of a medical team which includes ophthalmologists, opticians and other ophthalmic medical personnel.
There is no mobility between these occupations without further training.


General practitioners and family physicians (31102)
Managers in health care (30010)
Nurse practitioners (31302)
Other practitioners of natural healing (32209)
Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (31209)
Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses (31301)
Specialists in clinical and laboratory medicine (31100)
Specialists in surgery (31101)
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and acupuncturists (32200)