Site Search
Skip to main content

Overview for Sponsors Regarding the New Licensing Pathway for Physicians Trained Outside of Canada

Physicians issued a Defined licence in Nova Scotia are required to have oversight from both a supervisor and a sponsor for the duration of that licence.

Sponsor Role & Responsibilities

The role of a Sponsor is to oversee supervision.

Sponsors must:

  • Arrange for a Supervisor
  • Determine the practice location of the Defined Licensee
  • Act as a liaison and mediator
  • Impose additional conditions as they see fit
  • Maintain or sponsorship
  • Oversee supervision
  • Report to the Registrar annually
  • Immediately notify the Registrar with concerns
    • Determine the appropriate level of supervision with the Registrar when there are concerns
    • Advise the Registrar if the Defined licensee stops practicing in the Zone
  • Consult with the Supervisor and Registrar if considering withdrawal of sponsorship
    • Give adequate notice for practice to wrap up

The College will notify the Sponsor if there is a College complaint regarding the supervised physician.


To be eligible to be a Sponsor, a physician must:

  • Have a Full licence.
  • Be in senior leadership with the Health Authority.
  • Practice in the same Health Zone as the physician being sponsored.

New Pathway to Long-term Licensure for Physicians Trained Outside of Canada

Download PDF

The College has developed a streamlined approach to long-term licensure for physicians on a Defined licence.

The Medical Act requires physicians trained outside of Canada to practise under a Defined licence and undergo supervision. Physicians must meet the requirements and conditions required to obtain a Defined licence. There is no change to the qualification requirements.

Shorter Supervision Period

Shorter Supervision Period

The new licensing pathway reduces the required time physicians on a Defined licence must practise under supervision by 60%.

Physicians issued a Defined licence will have a minimum of six months of supervision to a maximum of 24 months.

Based on our data, we anticipate that 80% of physicians on the new pathway will be issued a Restricted licence after six months. A smaller cohort may require up to 24 months of supervision.

Focus on Demonstrated Competency Not Certification

Focus on Demonstrated Competency Not Certification

The new licensing pathway enables faster decisions regarding long-term licensure based on demonstrated competency.

There is no longer a focus on passing the certification exam from the certifying bodies.

Physicians on a Defined Licence must be deemed eligible by their certifying body to challenge certification, but they do not have to challenge the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) exams. They can choose to challenge the exams to obtain a Full Licence but it is no longer a licensing requirement.

The goal of supervision is to understand the physician’s competence within six months. There will be direct observation of practice monthly. Colleague interviews will occur twice in the first six months with the opportunity to respond to and integrate feedback. Chart reviews will continue to play a role in supervision. There will always be the option of providing more supervision tools as needed.