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General Practitioner in Oncology Education Program

An eight-week learning opportunity for new General Practitioners in Oncology to strengthen their oncology skills and enhance cancer care in their communities. 

Our aim is to have at least one (preferably two) family physician in every BC community with 15,000 people who has completed this program and can support all aspects of cancer care for local patients and their families.

If you are interested in enhancing your oncology knowledge and skills, are willing to take on these responsibilities in your community, and have the support of your colleagues and other local health care providers, then please consider our program. Learning Outcomes (PDF).

The program is offered in a flexible format that can be taken over six months. The full-time, two-week Introductory Module is offered every February and September at the BC Cancer Vancouver Centre focusing on medical, radiation, and pediatric oncology protocols and supportive care requirements necessary to provide enhance care for cancer patients.

Thirty days of clinical rotation are then completed at the BC Cancer Centre where participants' patients are referred and participants are encouraged to tailor their learning specific to their community’s needs.


‎Completion of the GPO Education Program is a requirement for family physicians newly hired as GPOs in BC and the Yukon (both within community cancer clinics and at BC Cancer Centres). The program provides opportunity to gain the foundational knowledge, skills, and confidence to administer systemic therapy, and to provide supportive care to cancer patients and their families.

The program includes a two-week CPO Education didactic introductory module, offered in February and September, followed by 30 days of flexibly scheduled clinical rotation at the BC Cancer Centre where the GPO's patients are referred. During the clinical rotations, systemic therapy orders need to be co-signed by a medical oncologist or qualified GPO.


BC Cancer developed the GPO Education Program in 2004, with the support of UBC's Department of Family Practice Enhanced Skills Program, and with input from many family physicians and oncologists. Special thanks are also extended to BC Cancer physicians and members of the GPO Education Program Working Group who deliver the education and ensure the currency and value of the curriculum.

One hundred and thirty eight family physicians from 33 communities have completed the program to date and are actively practising as General Practitioners in Oncology. (See GPO Map.) BC Cancer also trains GPOs and Nurse Practitioners for its various sites through this program.


The Introductory Module is accredited as below.

The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This Introductory Module of this course has been reviewed and approved by the UBC CPD. This Group Learning course meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 67.75 Mainpro+ credits. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

Those who complete the 30 days of Clinical Rotation can claim 50 Self-Learning, Mainpro+ credits under the College of Family Physicians of Canada's Clinical Traineeship/Preceptorship category. Additional credits can be claimed under the Other Non-certified Learning Activities category.


Those who are from RSA (Rural Subsidiary Agreement communities) can apply through the Rural Education Action Plan's (REAP) Advance Skills and Training Program to receive a stipend and to have their travel and accommodation expenses covered.


Hillary Kovach,, UBC Department of Family Medicine, Tel: 604-827-1504

Physicians from other communities can apply to UBC’s Department of Family Practice Enhanced Skills Program to receive remuneration at a third year residency level while they are in the program.


Lindsay Gowland,, Program Coordinator, Enhanced Skills Program

Tel: 604-822-0869

See CPO Education Program Applicant Eligibility Criteria (PDF)

Application submission for the Spring 2024 intake of the CPO Education Program will open November 13, 2023. The four-week Introductory Module is normally offered at BC Cancer's Vancouver Centre every February and September. The following 30 days of Clinical Rotation - a required part of the full program for GPOs - are organized individually to meet participants' schedules.

Upcoming sessions:

  • Spring 2024 will be delivered virtually with morning lectures only, February 5 – 16 (~8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) PST, and February 26 – March 8 (~8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) PST.

To apply please complete and submit the application form according to your program plans:

Please submit your form with all required documents as one PDF file by email to

Current GP In Oncology career opportunities

Current nurse practitioner career opportunities

Contact us

If you have any questions about the GPO Education Program or would like more information, please e-mail


GPO/Nurse Practitioner Listing by Community (PDF) (includes graduates of the network’s GPO Education Program, BC Cancer GPOs and nurse practitioners). To get in touch with any of the individuals listed please contact Dilraj Mahil ( at the network.

GPO Map of BC

At present, 146 GPOs from 33 different communities have completed the GPO Education Program and are actively practising in BC and the Yukon. Thirteen are in the process of completing the program and 9 have been practising since before the program began in 2004 or come to the role with equivalent experience. In total, there are 155 GPOs practising in BC and the Yukon.


Required preparatory learning for GPO education

  • BC Cancer Primary Care Learning Sessions:
    Interactive online modules on colorectal, breast and prostate cancer produced in partnership with UBC's Division of Continuing Professional Development. One-hour, accredited program, no cost
  • including Learning Modules and Whiteboard videos (click the top right of the videos to go full screen)
  • BC Palliative Care Guidelines produced by the BC Guidelines and Protocols Committee and the Family Practice Oncology Network
  • one-hour, accredited program, no cost

Useful references

Information skills and library services

The resources of the BC Cancer Library are also extended to trainees including access to e-journals, databases, document delivery and literature search services.

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