Registration & Licensing
Purpose and duties of the College
It’s our job to serve and protect the public in the practice of medicine. One way we do this is by licensing qualified, competent, and ethical physicians. Our goal is to keep patients safe. We have the legislative authority to do this under the Medical Act and Medical Practitioners Regulations.
All physicians who practise medicine in Nova Scotia must be registered as members of the College. To become a member you must submit an application to be reviewed by our registration department.
Before making a decision, our registration department carefully assesses your credentials including education, training, and relevant practice experience. The department also checks professional references and health conditions. It carefully reviews any investigations, disciplinary actions, or practice restrictions from other jurisdictions. It also conducts interviews.
This careful assessment ensures that only qualified, competent, and ethical physicians are registered and licensed to practise medicine.
We issue 9 different licences. Which one is right for you?
Full licence: for physicians with Canadian licensing (LMCC) and certification examinations (CFPC or RCPSC) or those practising with an unrestricted independent licence in another Canadian jurisdiction. This means there are no restrictions on your licence and you are practising without supervision.
Temporary licence (Locum): for 2 categories of physicians:
- physicians who have a full licence in another province or territory in Canada
- recently graduated physicians with Canadian licensing and certification examinations who want to practise in Nova Scotia temporarily
This licence is good for up to 6 months.
Restricted licence: for 2 categories of physicians:
- physicians who meet the criteria for a full licence and have conditions and restrictions on their practice imposed by the College
- physicians who have an independent practice licence elsewhere in Canada and come to Nova Scotia for a very short time, generally one or 2 days, to teach, learn, or to take on a particular task
Defined licence: for physicians who do not yet qualify for a full licence but are working toward it and have enough qualifications to practise under the sponsorship and supervision of another physician.
Academic licence: for physicians who have been hired by the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University to teach, do research, or take on clinical duties.
Clinical assistant licence: for physicians who work in a Nova Scotia tertiary or regional care facility under the direction and supervision of a licensed physician and do NOT have Canadian certification examinations or a practice ready assessment nor are they eligible for these things. Clinical assistants cannot be the most responsible physician in a medical setting. Physician assistants are NOT physicians and are NOT eligible to apply for a clinical assistant licence.
Post-graduate training licences: for physicians registered in a full-time postgraduate training program, elective training, or a clinical traineeship with Dalhousie University.
Post-graduate practising licence: for postgraduate trainees that have approval from their program director to practise outside of their postgraduate training program. Such trainees must be registered in a training program at Dalhousie University. Trainees on a leave of absence from their training program do not qualify.
Clinical assessment licence: for physicians who need a high level of supervision and assessment or need to take part in a Practice Ready Assessment. The assessment may be required to determine if you are ready to pursue training, return to practice, enter practice, or change your clinical scope of practice. Physicians under assessment cannot be the most responsible physician in a medical setting.
- ALL licensed physicians MUST have medical liability insurance such as that provided by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA)
- ALL physicians MUST take part in continuing professional development through the College of Family Physician’s Maintenance of Proficiency (Mainpro+) program OR the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program OR a program approved by the College.
- ALL licensed physicians MUST be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or hold valid work permits in Nova Scotia.
- ALL licensed physicians MUST meet our English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirements.
- ALL licensed physicians MUST have the capacity, character, and competence to safely and ethically practise medicine.