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Academic Licensure

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The Medical Act (the “Act”) and its Regulations (the “Regulations”) establish the criteria for Academic licensure. Under the Act and Regulations Section 55(2)(b), only candidates who are not eligible for a Full or Defined licence may be granted an Academic licence. The College is unaware of the thinking behind this provision.

However, any provision of the Act and Regulations may be waived by the Registrar, Registration Committee or the Registration Appeal Committee when the waiver fulfills or aligns with the objects of the College. 

This would include the provision setting forth that candidates for Academic Licensure must not be eligible for Defined Licensure.

This policy sets out the criteria for Academic Licensure, waiving this provision and rendering candidates eligible for Academic Licensure who might also be eligible for Defined Licensure.  The desired effect is that these physicians will be licensed to practice and to fulfill their academic appointment without having to meet the certification, and the timelines for certification, required of Defined Licensees.

Candidates for academic appointments who qualify for a Full licence will be issued a Full licence.


This policy defines the provisions for an Academic licence, particularly with respect to eligibility criteria, sponsorship, supervision (not College-directed supervision), renewability of licensure, and locum work outside of the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine.


Eligibility Criteria

  1. Candidates for Academic Licence must meet the requirements for the Conditional Register as outlined in the Regulations and:
    1. hold and maintain at all times an academic appointment with Dalhousie University, subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant Dalhousie University academic appointment policy;
    2. be recommended for Academic licence as evidenced by letter of support from the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University;
    3. have 20% or more protected time for academic duties; and
    4. be a member of an academic department with direct reporting responsibilities to the Department Head for academic duties (and, where applicable, other duties).


  1. The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University (“the Dean”) must be the Sponsor.


  1. Physicians with an Academic licence are exempt from College-directed supervision. The Department Head within the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University is responsible for  monitoring the clinical and academic performance of the Academic licensee. The Department Head must provide an annual report to the Dean and to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia.

Renewability of Licensure

  1. The College requires a confirmation letter annually, prior to annual licensing renewal, from the Dean attesting the physician with an Academic licence meets the criteria for Academic appointment.

Locum Coverage

  1. Physicians holding an Academic licence may provide locum coverage anywhere in Nova Scotia, with the approval of the Dean, the Department Head (or delegate), and the Registrar.
  2. The following steps must be taken to approve locum coverage at each site for which an Academic licensee wishes to provide locum coverage:
    1. The Site Lead (or delegate) at the facility requiring locum coverage must provide the Dean and Department Head (or delegate) with a description of the practice context and competencies expected of the locum candidate, using the Roles and Responsibilities Questionnaire (Appendix A).
    2. The Dean and Department Head (or delegate) must jointly attest to the College that the locum candidate has the current capacity, competence and character necessary to ensure patient safety when practising at the site, using the Faculty of Medicine Attestation of Capacity, Competence and Character (Appendix B).
    3. The Dean must also provide the College with explicit written approval for the locum candidate to provide locum coverage at that site.
    4. The locum candidate must provide the College with confirmation of hospital privileges with the relevant health authority, Nova Scotia Health or the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Health Centre, for which they wish to provide locum services.

If you meet the requirements for providing locum coverage as outlined in the Academic Licensure policy above, please click here to access the application.

Section: Registration
Applicable Legislation:Medical Act – Section 5
Medical Practitioners Regulations – Section 5, Section 39 (1) (a-k), Section 55 (2) (a-e)
Approved by:
Registration Policy Committee,
Approval Date:
February 4, 2021,
March 26, 2021
Review Date:
February 2023