The CAP High School Prize examination has been in existence for many years and has been taken by many thousands of students at the end of their high school physics education. Although the prize money has been donated by the CAP in Ottawa, there were originally ten distinct examinations, created and marked provincially. In 1995, for the first time, a single examination was created by a Committee chaired by J. Wylie of the Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiad (CCPO) and written by students across the country. This Committee is now chaired by Prof. Nigel Edwards and Dr. Catherine Robin of the University of Toronto .
Until 1997, the national prizes were sponsored by Inco. In 1998, the prizes for the top three national participants are being sponsored by the Canadian Chemistry and Physics Olympiad, with the CAP offering prizes to the top provincial participants. Certificates of merit are also offered provincially. In some cases, the provincial prizes are supplemented by the provincial university Physics departments. Many university scholarships and admissions committees have used the results in their decisions.
In 2010 CCPO was divided into Canadian Chemistry Olympiad and Canadian Physics Olympiad (CPO). CPO was associated with University of British Columbia Department of Physics and Astronomy and is chaired by Dr Andrzej Kotlicki. CPO is responsible for preparing, administrating and marking the CAP High School exam, running the CPO final camp, choosing the Canadian team for International Physics Olympiad and choosing the leaders to accompany the team to IPhO and providing academic guidance.
The funding for student participation in the National camp and IPhO comes from donations. During some years lack of funding forced us to ask students to cover the travel costs to IPhO.
Many university scholarships and admissions committees have used and are still using the results of CAP High School exam and National Finals in their decisions.