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Continuing Professional Development: Requirements

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The mandate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (“the College”) under the Medical Act is to serve and protect the public interest in the practice of medicine.

Lack of participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a known risk factor for poor physician performance.  Continuing Professional Development programs mitigate this risk.  They also help physicians maintain and enhance their competence throughout their careers.

Because of these factors, the Nova Scotia Medical Practitioners Regulations require that all physicians on the Full and Conditional Registers participate in Continuing Professional Development.


This policy applies to physicians practising under the following licence types:

  • Full licence
  • Defined licence (except Defined licence enrolled in a Fellowship)
  • Defined licence – Term
  • Temporary licence
  • Clinical Assistant licence
  • Academic licence
  • Restricted licence

This policy does not apply to physicians on the Education Register, which includes the Clinical Assessment license and postgraduate training and practising licences.


This policy lays out the College’s requirements for satisfactory participation in a Continuing Professional Development program.  It also lays out the College’s approach to physicians who demonstrate unsatisfactory participation in a Continuing Professional Development program.


Enrolment and Participation in CPD

  1. All licensed physicians, except Clinical Assistants, must:
  • enroll with and meet the requirements of the Maintenance of Proficiency (Mainpro+) program of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC); or
  • enroll with and meet the requirements of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC).

    Physicians must meet both minimum annual requirements (adherence) and cumulative 5-year requirements (compliance) for Continuing Professional Development for their program.
  1. All Clinical Assistants must meet the Continuing Professional Development requirements of their respective Clinical Assistant Program at Nova Scotia Health (NSH) or the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) Health Centre, as laid out in the College’s policy on Clinical Assistant Program.
  2. Reporting completed CPD credits on an annual basis to the designated program is a requirement of satisfactory participation in a CPD program.
  3. The College does not accept direct reports from physicians regarding CPD activity to determine satisfactory participation.

Reporting CPD to the College

  1. All physicians must report whether they have met the requirements of their designated CPD program on the College’s annual licence renewal form.

    Note that the College is notified by the RCPSC and the CFPC regarding physicians who have not participated satisfactorily in their 5-year cycle.  The NSH and the IWK Health Centre report annually regarding Clinical Assistants who are not participating satisfactorily in their programs.

Preliminary Approach to Unsatisfactory Participation in CPD

  1. Physicians who fail to enroll or participate satisfactorily in their designated program will be subject to the following:

a) The College will contact the physician in writing, with direction about next steps. Direction could include, and may not be limited to, providing a written explanation for unsatisfactory participation, providing evidence of enrollment in a program, contacting the program for support in a CPD plan, and undergoing a practice assessment.

b) The physician must respond in writing to the College regarding all directives within 30 days from the date of the letter from the College.

Requirements for Clinical Assistants with Unsatisfactory CPD

  1. Clinical Assistants who are not participating satisfactorily in their relevant CPD program, will be required to provide a written explanation for the lack of participation and the College will liaise with their Program Director to develop a remediation plan.

Requirements for Physicians with Unsatisfactory CPD

  1. The following table outlines College requirements for physicians enrolled with Mainpro+ or MOC who are not enrolled or participating satisfactorily in their CPD program.
CPD Concern for Physicians Enrolled in Mainpro+ or MOCRequirement
Lack of enrollment at time of initial licensureLicence is not issued until the physician provides evidence of enrollment.
Lack of enrollment at renewalLicence may not be renewed.
Not meeting the minimum annual requirements for the programThe physician may be required to work with their program to develop a CPD plan for the coming year.

At next licence renewal, the physician must provide the College with confirmation from their designated program that they are adherent with the CPD requirements for the past year.
Not meeting the 5-year CPD cycleThe physician will be required to comply with their program’s CPD remediation process.

At next licence renewal, the physician must provide the College with confirmation from their designated program that they are compliant with the cycle for the past year.
Not meeting the requirements of the CPD remediation processThe physician must undergo a customized assessment with a Quality Improvement lens, with a 6-12 month follow up review by a College-approved assessor.  The assessment will be linked to a CPD learning plan. 

All costs of the assessment will be borne by the physician.

Depending on the results of the assessment, the College may refer the physician to the Registration Committee to determine whether any conditions and/or restrictions need to be imposed on the licence, or whether the licence type should be changed.

Physicians holding a Full licence will have their licence converted to a Restricted licence for the duration of the assessment and until all conditions and restrictions relating to CPD are met.

For all other licence types, conditions and restrictions related to CPD would be added to the licence.  The licence type does not change.


  1. In certain circumstances, the physician may request an exemption in writing from the Registrar.  Examples of such circumstance may include leaves of absence for parental or medical reasons, retirement, or exclusive work in an administrative role.

Appeal Process

  1. If the physician disagrees with the imposed requirements, they may request the decision be referred to the Registration Committee.  The request must be done within 30 days after the Registrar’s decision.

Applicable Legislation: Medical Practitioners Regulations – Section 17(1), 19(3)(f) & 39(1)(g)Medical Act – Section 2(g) & 11(1)(h), Section 5(c)(iv)

Approved By: Registration Policy Committee, Council

Approval Dates: September 27, 2021 & October 15, 2021

Review Date: May 2023