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English Language Proficiency

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This policy applies to applicants for registration in Nova Scotia who have received their undergraduate medical education outside of Canada. It excludes applicants for postgraduate training.


To practise medicine in Nova Scotia, physicians must be able to communicate well in English. Legislation requires that an applicant must “have demonstrated proficiency in the English language as required by the Registrar”. This policy sets out the Registrar’s requirements.


Applicants exempted from language testing:

  1. Applicants for licensure whose first and native language is English.
  2. Applicants for licensure who received their undergraduate or postgraduate medical education in English in one of the countries that have English as a first and native language (see listing bellow).

Countries with English and a first and native language:

Australia, Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, US Virgin Islands

Caribbean Islands with English as a first and native language:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tabago


The Registrar’s discretion may be exercised if it is unclear whether the applicant’s first and native language undergraduate, or postgraduate is English.

Non-Exempted Candidates:

All non-exempted candidates must demonstrate English language proficiency by attaining and submitting a minimum score of 7.0 or higher in each of the components of the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Results of English Language Proficiency Testing must be source-verifiable through IELTS.


Applicable Legislation

Medical Practitioners Regulations – Sections 19(3)(i), 25(1)(e) and 39(1)(d)

Approved By

Registration Committee

Executive Committee


Approval Date

June 15, 2018

June 19, 2018

Review Date

April 2020