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I am Internationally Trained

If you studied medicine outside of Canada you are considered an International Medical Graduate (IMG). This includes Canadians who studied medicine abroad.

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

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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.

What’s Changed

The streamlined approach for physicians on a Defined licence will enable faster decisions regarding long-term licensure.

Once a physician obtains a Defined licence, the streamlined approach will:

  • provide a comprehensive orientation program for physicians;
  • reduce the required time physicians on a Defined licence must practise under supervision; and
  • focus on demonstrated competency rather than certification.

The College’s new approach to licensing physicians trained outside of Canada has been informed by:

  • a review of the data from the last six years of working with Sponsors and Supervisors overseeing the licensing pathway of physicians with a Defined licence seeking Full licensure;
  • listening to physicians and stakeholders working with physicians on a Defined licence;
  • a review of licensing best practices in other Canadian jurisdictions to determine what elements would effectively apply to the Nova Scotia context; and
  • the College’s commitment to support the recruitment of physicians.

Read more about the new licensing pathway for physicians trained outside of Canada.

Depending on your specific qualifications and training you may be eligible to apply for:

Resources are also available to help you prepare and apply for licensure.


Full Licence

The Full licence is issued to physicians who meet the necessary requirements to practise medicine independently. If you have passed all Canadian licensing and certification examinations (or equivalent), or successfully completed a Comprehensive Clinical Assessment of Practice (CCAP), you may qualify.

International medical graduates who have gone on to obtain full licensure elsewhere in Canada may obtain a Temporary Licence to practise in Nova Scotia.

Temporary Licence (Locum)

The Temporary licence is issued to physicians or surgeons who want to practise for a short-term in Nova Scotia, up to a maximum of 6 consecutive months. Note: If you previously practiced with a Restricted – Special Case licence, you will apply for the Temporary licence going forward.

Physicians who do not yet meet the Canadian standards for a Full licence may be qualified to apply for the following licence types:

Defined Licence

A Defined licence is issued to physicians who do not yet meet the Canadian standards for a full licence. Physicians must practise under the sponsorship and supervision of another physician as they work towards long-term licensure.

Academic Licence

The Academic licence is issued to physicians who have been hired by the Dean of Medicine at Dalhousie University to teach, do research, or take on clinical duties.

For more information, refer to our registration policy on Academic Licensure.

Restricted Licence

The Restricted licence is typically issued to physicians who meet the criteria for a Full licence and have conditions and restrictions on their practice imposed by the College. This may happen during an investigation process, review by the Registration Committee, or at the discretion of the Registrar.

Clinical Assessment Licence

A Clinical Assessment licence is issued if the College determines there is a need for supervision or assessment.

Clinical Assistant Licence

A Clinical Assistant licence may be an option for physicians who do not meet the Canadian standards for an independent practise licence. These physicians work as clinical assistants in tertiary care or a regional hospital under the supervision of a fully-licensed physician on staff at the hospital. As a clinical assistant, you will not be the most responsible physician in a medical setting. Note: Physician assistants are not eligible to apply for a clinical assistant licence.

You can apply for a Clinical Assistant licence if:

  • You are a physician or surgeon previously or currently licensed in a country other than Canada.
  • You do not meet the requirements for a Full licence to practise medicine in Nova Scotia.

We are here to help. 
Please contact us if you have any questions at:
Phone: 902-482-5825 or Toll-Free: 1-877-282-7767

Practice Ready Assessments

For internationally trained family medicine specialists, the Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program (NSPRAP) ensures that international medical graduates who wish to practice family medicine in Nova Scotia possess the appropriate clinical skills and knowledge to provide quality patient care. Read more about the Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program.

Internationally trained specialists who do not initially qualify for eligibility to challenge the certification examinations with the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada may quality for a Practice Ready Assessment. Read more about Practice Ready Assessment for specialists (PRA Specialists).

Applications sent to the Registrar or Registration Committee

When a physician does not meet the requirements set out in the Medical Act and Medical Practitioners Regulations, your application is referred to the Registrar.

The Registrar may:

  • approve your application and grant a licence, with or without conditions;
  • deny your application and give you information about how to appeal this decision;
  • order a competency assessment; and/or
  • refer your application to the Registration Committee.

Read more about applications sent to the Registrar or Registration Committee.