Canadian Association of Physicists
|Canadian Association of Physicists /
Association canadienne des physiciens et physiciennes
|Abbreviation||CAP / ACP|
|Headquarters||Ottawa, Ontario, Canada|
|Official languages||English, French|
|President||Kenneth Ragan (McGill University)|
The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP), or in French Association canadienne des physiciens et physiciennes (ACP) is a Canadian professional society that focuses on creating awareness amongst Canadians and Canadian legislators of physics issues, sponsoring physics related events, and publishes Physics in Canada. The organization was founded in 1945  and currently has over 1,600 members. CAP is bilingual and functions in both English and French.
Physics in Canada
Physics in Canada (PiC) is a bi-monthly journal published by CAP. The aim of this journal is to provide a window into developments in physics and the physics community. The journal contains scientific articles in both official languages, book reviews, job listings and many other items that may be important to Canadian Physicists. The French version is called La Physique au Canada.
The CAP can appoint an official designation called the P. Phys. which stands for Professional Physicist, similar to the designation of P. Eng. which stands for Professional Engineer. This designation was unveiled at the CAP congress in 1999 and already more than 200 people carry this distinction.
While CAP argues that it hopes that the P.Phys. designation will result in other professionals recognizing it as similar to their own, a conflict has apparently arisen with Engineering regulatory bodies. In 2010, the Professional Engineers of Ontario (or PEO) were facilitating legislation with the Province of Ontario that would remove the traditional "exemption clause" for natural scientists in the definition of a professional engineer. CAP successfully lobbied Ontario's government and the PEO to retain this clause, as it claims, to protect the public interest by enabling natural scientist to continue performing functions that might overlap with the definitions in the Engineering Act.  The legal definition of engineering in the Province of Ontario is:
- "Any act of designing, composing, evaluating, advising, reporting, directing, or supervising wherein the safeguarding of life, health, property or the public welfare is concerned, and that requires the application of engineering principles, but does not include practicing as a natural scientist.
- All three of the components must be present (i.e, the intellectual activity, the safeguarding issue and the application of engineering principles) in order for it to be considered as professional engineering." 
CAP often refers to the exclusion of natural scientists from this definition as an "exemption." However, the PEO's interpretation of this clause is not as broad as the regular unqualified interpretation that the term "exemption" might suggest. The interpretation of this exclusion has been left to a "Joint Engineering and Natural Science Task Force" (JENSTF) established to advise the PEO. The PEO appears to view the meaning of "exemption" in a limited fashion:
- "The report notes that Engineers Canada’s “companion,” or exception, clause is intended solely to enable 'some form of legislative protection that exempts properly qualified natural scientists from being prevented from competently practising natural science,' rather than to permit them to practise professional engineering without being licensed."
Those authorized to use the P.Phys. designation should therefore take note that they may not practice engineering as defined by the act but that they may engage in normal scientific pursuits.
The P.Phys. designation is secured solely by copyright while the designations of other traditional professionals are typically controlled by Act of legislature. The legal signficance of this licensure is dubious at best and does not rise to the same level as that of an engineer, architect, or doctor. It is more akin to designations obtained from other similar "professional associations" such as those for marketing and human resources.
The Canadian Association of Physics hosts several CAP physics contests across Canada each year, aimed at different levels of physics students. The CAP High School Prize exam is offered across Canada once a year, usually in early April, and aims to challenge physics students on their physics knowledge. It is a national exam and the top participants are invited to try out for the Canadian Physics Olympiad international team trained by volunteers from the University of British Columbia. The CAP Lloyd G. Elliott Prize exam, also known as the "University Prize Exam", is offered once a year, usually early February, to Canadian university undergraduate physics students. The CAP Best Student Presentation competition is held during the CAP's annual congress. The CAP awards prizes to the physics students, normally at the graduate level, who make the three best oral presentations and the three physics students who make the three best poster presentations. Students who wish to participate in any of the CAP's contests must register to do so according to the CAP's established procedures available on the website, www.cap.ca.
The CAP holds an annual congress each year to discuss internal matters, hold elections, hold oral and poster sessions, give formation workshops to high school physics teachers, and hold the Herzberg Public Memorial lecture.
- "Past Presidents" Official website. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
- "What CAP Does". Canadian Association of Physicists. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- "The Canadian Association of Physicists". Canadian Association of Physicists. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Donald D. Betts (2000). "A Brief History of the Canadian Association of Physicists / L'Association canadienne des physiciens et physiciennes". Physics in Canada 56 (2): 75.
- Shelley A. Page (2008). "President's Message – December, 2008". Canadian Association of Physicists. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
- Henry van Driel (2010). "Urgent Action Needed Regarding a Proposed Modification to the Engineering Act as included in Bill-68". Canadian Association of Physicists.
- "PEO - Q&A". Professional Engineers of Ontario.
- "In Council". Professional Engineers of Ontario.
- "Congrès de l'ACP 2011 CAP Congress". Physics in Canada (Canadian Association of Physicists) 65 (2, supplement). 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- Francine M. Ford (2000). "The Evolution of CAP/ACP Activities". Physics in Canada 56 (2): 77.