Latest News at the SOGC

International Women's Day 2023
How real inequities impact abortion care in Canada

Barriers. Obstacles. Inequities. These are familiar words which are far too often associated with matters related to women’s sexual and reproductive health. International Women's Day offers a platform for women’s rights advocates to call for action on numerous issues of inequality and discrimination against women. Despite this being 2023, we still lag behind on women’s rights issues. This is true when it comes to education, employment and of course, basic access to healthcare services. And with regards to proper access to abortion care, the landscape has certainly changed significantly within the last few years, here in North America. 

The US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade has brought abortion back into the spotlight, and as expected, the consequences of this ruling are devastating. Women in the US have not only lost  their right to chose and their right to make their own decisions regarding their personal health matters, they have also lost crucial access to safe and legal abortion care. 

Within one year of this ruling, abortion clinics in the US were shutting down at double the rate of the previous year. Furthermore, the potential ban on Mifepristone, a popular abortion medication, could put women at a greater disadvantage as when seeking treatment, or worse put their lives at risk altogether should they resort to getting care from illegal abortion practitioners. 

In Canada, abortion is not illegal but access for these services is limited for various reasons. It often comes down to geography, where remote areas have next to no access for abortion care services. Patients often have to travel many kilometers to get to an abortion clinic. Such is the case with Canada’s Atlantic provinces. The recent healthcare funding agreement shed light on the state of affairs in New Brunswick, for example.  

Dr. Yuyang Wang, SOGC member and OBGYN at Brockville General Hospital spoke to us about abortion access in the Atlantic provinces: 

“Wide swaths of Atlantic Canada are underserved. Patients still must drive many hours to get access to services that are supposed to be guaranteed by the Canada Health Act. It’s unequitable that this is the case, and it is unfair to a population that already is underserved and facing many barriers to care.”

Women may seek to terminate a pregnancy for various reasons, be it a physical health concern or any number of personal reasons, yet guidelines amongst the provinces vary significantly. Certain areas will perform surgical abortions after the 12-week mark whereas others may not. Only 4 provinces offer the possibility of surgical abortion at 20 weeks: Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Québec. If a woman decides to end her pregnancy after 24 weeks, she must travel to travel to another province or country to seek a medical procedure, which comes with a hefty financial cost. 

The SOGC has been sounding the alarm about the lack of access to surgical abortions in Canada for many years and will continue to do so as long as this problem persists.

Back in 2019, we issued a statement citing the need for better access and better alternatives to mitigate unwanted pregnancies:

“Pregnancy and pregnancy termination are complex decisions not entered into lightly. Abortion is a necessary option; the only question is whether it will be accessible and safe, or restricted to those with means. Our goal is to ensure equal access to safe abortion for all Canadians and to have well-trained and prepared health care providers offering a choice of medical or surgical termination in a secure network of care, close to home.”

Access to abortion services is crucial, yet education and providing resources for contraception are also important. In fact, researchers concluded that as many as 61% of Canadian women had at least one unplanned pregnancy in their lifetime. Access to free and effective contraception would reduce the abortion rates in Canada quite considerably.

A small yet significant victory!

British Columbia took a first step in providing free contraception to women, which would cover oral hormone pills, contraceptive injections, hormonal, and copper intrauterine devices just to name a few. 

Our CEO Dre. Diane Francoeur had this to say about the new funding: 

“Usually, women assume the full cost of contraceptives on their own. This is an enormous victory for women in BC.”

Every small victory does count, but bigger victories need to be won. We can’t afford to leave women in the lurch anymore when it comes to their reproductive rights. Empowering women means giving them the equal value in society, giving them proper care and giving them a safe environment to receive that care.

About Dr. Yuyang Wang

Dr. Wang is from London, Ontario and completed his medical school at the University of Western Ontario before going on to finish his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Dalhousie University. Dr. Wang’s areas of expertise include contraception, menstrual and menopause management, pediatric and adolescent gynecology, uterine fibroids and pelvic masses, and transgender health. He also held the position of Contraception Advice, Research, and Education (CARE) Fellow at Queen’s University.

(Pictured: Dr. Yuyang Wang)
March 8, 2023
Abortion is not illegal but access for these services is still limited.

Black History Month 2023: Ours to tell

As with every month of February, people from across the world come together to celebrate and to raise awareness about the amazing contributions and triumphs of the Black community. Black History Month is a wonderful time of year to appreciate the great achievements of Black and Afro-descendant Canadians in many fields such as the arts, sciences, sports, and many other areas.  Their impact on our culture is undeniable and has only made us better.  

This year’s theme is “Ours to Tell”, which refers to the importance of telling the history, the stories of those who made such a difference in their community and our society but also acknowledging the vibrant spirit that helped them overcome the barriers of discrimination and inequality. Yet barriers still exist, and such is the case when it comes to the Canada’s healthcare system. Black women’s health issues are being overlooked and many women are suffering because of this neglect.  

Thankfully, many organizations are addressing these concerns and are working hard to develop better resources for Black women. Medical societies such as  Black Physicians Association of OntarioBlack Physicians of Canada as well as the SOGC are speaking out and demanding that better quality care be afforded to Black women overall, since they can be more vulnerable to developing certain health problems such as various types of cancer.

Recently, Canadian physicians highlighted the importance of improving breast cancer screenings for Black women. Genetically, these women have a higher risk of developing this cancer than other members of society. They are also at a higher risk of developing cervical cancer than most. Providing more access to higher quality care will not only help save lives but will also allow researchers to gather more important data on how to prevent the onset of certain diseases for future generations.

Physicians across Canada have been sounding the alarm over data collection in the healthcare system for years. This is certainly the case when it comes to tracking the high maternal mortality rates of Canadian Black women. Sadly, there is simply no data to rely on, thus no way to know for sure what are the causes.  Canadian physicians can only rely on statistics from other countries like the US and UK. 

The announcement by the Health Minister to improve data sharing between the provinces is definitely a step in the right direction, yet it still does not address the fundamental problem with our nation’s health infrastructure, which is systemic discrimination.  

In 2019, the National Library of Medicine published a study on systemic racism affecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of Black women in Canada as well as other groups. It is clear that a better understanding of the historical bias within our healthcare infrastructure will inevitably lead to better care provision and resources for these individuals. 

These racial barriers have the most impact when it comes to the lack of Black physicians in Canada’s healthcare facilities. If we are to improve the quality of care, we must provide the right care givers and give the proper resources to communities who are most affected. 

We spoke to SOGC member, Dr. Cynthia Maxwell, a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital, who offered her impressions on how to overcome these barriers and improve the quality of care for Black women in our healthcare system: 

“In recognition of Black History and Futures Month for 2023, SOGC could take a leadership role and model true inclusion and promotion of Black Reproductive health. This means looking inward at the representation in its decision-making groups, including its Board, Scientific and Guidelines Committees and more specifically at the strategy to engage Black health leaders and community voices in the national discussions about maternal mortality. With meaningful engagement and with accountability to Black communities, the SOGC could highlight an important opportunity to address longstanding inequities in Black maternal and reproductive health.”   

The SOGC as well as other entities will be doing their part for sure, yet we can’t do it alone. 

In the end, more needs to be done to improve Black women’s health in Canada. Federal subsidies for universities and women’s health hospitals would enable researchers to conduct more in-depth studies on subjects such as maternal mortality, uterine fibroids and anemia, for example. Federal and provincial governments must also learn to cooperate more and engage the medical community.

But most importantly, we cannot let race be a barrier to quality care. Access, research, and support should be our main focus. Medical societies, physicians, and doctors will continue to tell the story of the inequities in our healthcare system and continue to advocate for their patients’ medical rights, no matter their ethnicity or race.

If we all work together, we can make sure the story ends with a positive outcome. 

We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to Dr. Maxwell for her contribution to this article. 

About Dr. Cynthia Maxwell

Dr. Maxwell is a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist and Division Head at Mount Sinai Hospital and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University Toronto. She completed her undergraduate and medical training at Harvard University and her residency in ObGyn at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. She completed her fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her clinical and research interests center on medical disorders of pregnancy, with a focus on pregnancy affected by severe obesity, malignancy, gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. She also serves as a faculty member for the UHN Congenital Cardiac Centre for Adults Program in the Reproductive Section. Dr. Maxwell became board certified in Obesity Medicine in 2015.

Dr. Maxwell was also the recipient of the 2021 SOGC Regional Achievement Award at the Ontario CME. 

(Pictured: Dr. Cynthia Maxwell and SOGC President R.D. Wilson)
February 16, 2023
The SOGC takes an in-depth look at the health issues facing Black women in Canada.

 Anticipated Shortage of Mifegymiso 

It has been brought to our attention that Linepharma International is anticipating a shortage of Mifegymiso supply issue for a period of about 2 weeks. This shortage is expected to happen between February 20 and March 6, 2023. 

They have reached out to distributors and pharmacies who may have a higher inventory in order to make arrangements to release some of their supply within this timeframe. 

As you might already know, this product can be used until week 9 of pregnancy and not sooner than week 4. 

Should women not be able to access Mifegymiso at their usual pharmacy during these 2 weeks, we  recommend that they get their prescription back and try another pharmacy. 

Linepharma has ensured us that they will make every effort possible to adjust the supply to meet immediate and future demands and to guarantee product availability. 

The SOGC will keep you posted if new information is available. 

February 10, 2023
Anticipated Shortage

About the SOGC

The SOGC is one of Canada’s oldest national specialty organizations. Established in 1944, the Society’s mission is to lead the advancement of women’s health through excellence and collaborative professional practice.

The SOGC has over 4,000 members, comprised of obstetricians, gynaecologists, family physicians, nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals working in the field of sexual reproductive health.

Learn More Meet the Board Academic Council
SOGC Guidelines and JOGC

Log into your member portal to access the latest Guidelines and the Guideline Resource Kit.

Sign into your member portal HERE

Not an SOGC member? Become one by applying HERE

Do you have questions about accessing Guidelines or are you having trouble logging in?

Access to JOGC and Clinical Practice Guidelines Frequently Asked Questions

Or call 1.800.561.2416 for assistance.

About the JOGC

The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada (JOGC) publishes original research, reviews, case reports, and commentaries by Canadian and international authors, pertinent to readers in Canada and around the world. The Journal covers a wide range of topics in obstetrics and gynaecology and women’s health covering all life stages including the evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines, Committee Opinions, and Policy Statements that derive from standing or ad hoc committees of The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

The Journal emphasizes vigorous peer-review and accepts papers in English and French. Abstracts for all papers are available in both languages. JOGC is indexed in Medline.

We are excited to announce that starting January 2022, the JOGC will transition into an online-only publication in an effort to reduce its environmental footprint while remaining a valuable benefit to SOGC members.

Online Courses
Premier medical education combined with the convenience of online study.

Online Courses

Designed by SOGC experts and employing the most current medical knowledge, our accredited online courses combine premier medical education with the convenience of online study. 

These courses are designed specifically for improving the learning experience and to tailor your educational experiences to meet your personal learning objectives.

Cancellation policy:

  • Cancellation requests received within 30 days of registration (without accessing the online content) will be refunded minus an administration cost of 25% of the total course fee.
  • For cancellation requests received more than 30 days from registration or after accessing the online material, the course fee is non-refundable.

All cancellations requests must be made in writing to the SOGC and sent by email to [email protected]


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ALARM Courses
Improving care provided to women, babies and families during pregnancy, labour and delivery.

ALARM Courses

The SOGC places the utmost importance on improving intrapartum care, from the process to its outcomes. One way to achieve that objective is through offering continuing education programs like the ALARM course (Advances in Labour and Risk Management).

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Welcome and Overview

ALARM was developed by obstetricians/gynaecologists, family physicians, midwives and nurses, who jointly continue to maintain and teach the course. Backed by the SOGC, the ALARM course arose out of our work to improve the care provided to women, babies, and families during pregnancy, labour, and postpartum.

  • The content of the course is evidence-based and incorporates the Canadian practice guidelines, so participants who complete the course gain an understanding of the latest best practices for providing care.
  • The ALARM course objective is to evaluate, update and maintain the competence of obstetricians/gynaecologists, family physicians, midwifes and nurses.
  • This two-day course offers case-based and hands-on workshops.
  • This course is not intended to certify attendees in any procedural skills. It provides education and hands-on experience, but this is not a substitute for clinical exposure and mentorship.
  • The courses have a ratio of approximately 6 participants to 1 faculty member to ensure a highly interactive and educational course.
The ALARM certificate will be awarded only to those who pass the written examination and who attend the course in its entirety.

If you are unable to attend an ALARM course but would like to purchase the PDF ALARM manual, please download this form  and submit it by email to [email protected].

Upcoming Courses

We have also developed "ALARM Virtual", an independent online study program that is available for registration. For more information or to register for ALARM virtual, please click here.

If you would like to hold an ALARM course in your community, please contact us at [email protected]. Please note that a minimum of 12 participants is required.

Should you have any questions about your registration, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].


Instructor Courses - Overview

The ALARM program would not be possible without the efforts of specialists, physicians, nurses and midwives trained to teach this course to their peers. In order to maintain the quality of this highly recognized program, the ALARM Committee has identified specific requirements for instructors throughout Canada.

In order to be eligible to take the instructor course, you must:
  • Have participated in an ALARM course in the past 4 years
  • Be currently registered as an MD (Family Physician or OB/GYN), Registered Nurse or Registered Midwife
  • Be actively providing intrapartum obstetrical care

If you meet the above requirements and wish to participate in the ALARM instructor course, please submit an application at the link below. Please note, a letter of recommendation from your employer, department head or a current ALARM Course Director is required.

If you are selected, you will be sent a registration link for the course. At this point, you will be able to pay your registration fees ($650 plus applicable taxes for OB/GYN and FP doctors; $500 plus applicable taxes for Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives) and receive access to the course materials.

Your participation at the ALARM instructor course is not a guarantee that you will become a qualified ALARM Instructor. 

To become a qualified ALARM instructor, you must:
  • Complete the Instructor course
  • Teach a course
  • Receive a favourable evaluation from the Course Director

Please note you will be required to teach once every three years to maintain your status as an active instructor following a successful completion of the evaluation process. If you fail to do so, you will have to take another ALARM course or Instructor course to maintain your active instructor status.

Space is limited to 24 participants per course. 

Upcoming Instructor Courses


Vancouver, BC May 15, 2023
English only - Hilton Vancouver Metrotown

To apply, please complete this application prior to March 10, 2023.

Following the deadline, applications will be considered on a first-come first-served basis as space allows.
Selected candidates will be sent a registration link and additional course information.


Become a Member

The SOGC is the leading voice in women's health in Canada. We are a strong and vibrant society with an active and growing membership. We are here to support you in providing the best care possible to women in Canada and around the world. That's why so many health care providers have become members of the SOGC. Let us be your partner in practice.

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Upcoming Events

March 16 - 18
West/Central CME 2023 Virtual

Public Education Resources

The SOGC believes that good healthcare is built upon many partnerships and that improving healthcare requires a collaborative, holistic approach.

Providing the public with the information needed to make informed health decisions removes one barrier to improved health.

Rated one of the top 5 e-health projects in the world, provides credible and up-to-date sexual health information for teens, adults, parents, teachers, and health care providers.


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Brand Recognition Program

The SOGC Brand Recognition Program aims to assist Canadian consumers to make informed choices when selecting over-the-counter products. 

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