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Defined Licence

A defined licence is issued to physicians who do not yet meet the Canadian standards for a full licence. These physicians must practise under the sponsorship and supervision of another physician as they work towards Canadian certification.

Are you eligible?

To qualify for this licence, you must have the following documents:

For more information, refer to our Registration Policies and Guidelines.

Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) helps international medical graduates prepare for licensure. Learn more about the IMG Bridging Program.

The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) is a micro-loan fund for internationally trained immigrants in Atlantic Canada. Providing micro-loans to newcomers allows them to overcome financial barriers to upgrade their skills and obtain their license or certification. Learn more.

Step 1: Set up your account with and submit your credentials

Read the list of required documents above to ensure you qualify for a defined licence.

Complete the application for medical registration (AMR) at and pay the appropriate fees. The fees are non-refundable.

We will receive the application automatically.

Make sure you complete the application accurately. Discrepancies with information may delay your application.

Contact the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) at if you need help to create or access your account.

Call 1-877-282-7767 or 902-422-5823

Step 2: Review of your initial application

We will review the information you submitted through to find out if you are qualified to move on in the application process.

We will email you to tell you if you qualify for the licence or not:

  • If you qualify, your registration coordinator will send you a link to your member services portal explaining what we need to complete your file.
  • If you do NOT qualify, we will explain why.

Step 3: Completing your file 

The member services portal contains details and links to help you find what documentation you need to complete your application. This includes but is not limited to:

  • a criminal record check for each jurisdiction requested by your registration coordinator
  • reference letters requested by your registration coordinator
  • certificates of professional conduct from the regulatory or licensing authority in each jurisdiction where you have practised medicine or held a medical licence as instructed by your registration coordinator
  • a sponsor and a supervisor of whom we approve.

Find out more about supervisors and sponsors using these links:

Note: Your registration coordinator may ask for additional documents following their review of your file.

It may take 4 to 6 weeks to collect and send us all the documents we need.

It may take longer if we need more information. If that is the case, your application will be sent on to the Registrar or Registration Committees for review.

Step 4: Approval and registration

After your application file is complete, with all applicable medical credentials and supporting documents submitted and verified, we will analyze your application and tell you if you qualify for registration in Nova Scotia.

  • If you qualify, we will send further instructions and information about paying the applicable fees.
  • If you do NOT qualify we will send you a letter telling you why.

Step 5: Licensure letter

If you are approved for licensure you will be issued a defined licence to practise medicine in Nova Scotia for up to 5 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an account with standardizes and streamlines the application process for medical registration in Canada.

  • Applying to multiple jurisdictions will be easier. All Canadian medical regulatory authorities require all new candidates for independent practice registration to have a account. This includes Canadian medical residents, practising physicians relocating within Canada, and candidates from outside the country.
  • Your medical credentials and Medical Council of Canada (MCC) exam results will be permanently stored in
  • If you obtained any of your medical credentials outside Canada, you will need to request source verification of those credentials through
  • With your consent, regulatory authorities and other medical organizations will be able to see your credentials and exam results through the portal.

How long will it take?

Give yourself plenty of time to complete your licence application. It is difficult to predict how long it will take as it depends on how long it takes for you to gather the necessary documentation. It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to collect and send us all the documents we need.

Once we have received all the documents and information we need, it usually takes several days to issue you a licence.

You may begin to practise once you have been granted a licence, not before.

How long do I have to obtain a full licence?

It depends. Your registration coordinator will guide you on your way to full licensure during your application process. A defined licence is valid for one year but may be renewed for up to 5 years.

Why do I need supervision?

You are applying for a defined licence because you lack one or more of the requirements for a full licence. In the interest of patient safety, the law requires that you be supervised until you meet all the requirements for a full licence.

What does my supervisor do?

You supervisor will do one or more of these things:

  • review your patient records
  • review your clinical outcomes
  • review your continuing professional development (CPD)
  • interview colleagues
  • observe you as you care for patients
  • send reports based on these reviews, interviews, and observations to us, to your sponsor, and to you. These reports may include recommendations for improving your practice. They may also affect your sponsorship and your licence.

Who decides how much and what kind of supervision I need?

We do. We look at such things as:

  • how long you’ve been practising
  • past supervision and sponsorship reports
  • disciplinary action

We then set the level of supervision accordingly.

Do I get to choose my supervisor?

No. We direct senior leadership in the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre together with your sponsor to choose a supervisor for you. Your supervisor will have the same scope of practice that you do. They will also be trained so that they know how to provide consistent and accurate information about your practice.

Do I have to pay for my supervision? How much does it cost?

Yes, the cost is $3600 / year. This pays for the supervisors time and the College’s administrative fees related to your supervision activities. It could cost more if you need more than the usual level of supervision, but this is rare.

When does supervision end?

It ends when you meet all the requirements for a full licence. In the meantime, you will have to renew your defined licence every year to a maximum of 5 years.