Although there has been much criticism of specialty certification examinations there is general agreement that they are an important safeguard of competence in medical specialties where the consumer cannot judge this. The Canadian Royal College has made strenuous attempts to improve certification techniques but these have not been heretofore widely reported. This paper reports on the rationale for the replacement of the essay examination by multiple choice questionnaires, the problems associated with MCQ, and the efforts made to improve the fairness, validity and reliability of the clinical (oral) examination. These efforts have been in the areas of selection of examiners, training for examiners, standardization of marking and the conduct of the examination. A description is given of the conduct of the examination and what the examiners look for in the candidate's performance. The development and increasing importance of the In-Training Evaluation are discussed. The publication of A Resident's Guide to Psychiatric Education with multinational participation advances the possibility of future reciprocity in psychiatric examinations conducted in several English speaking countries.