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Criminal Record Screening

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The Medical Practitioners Regulations1 require all physicians have the current capacity, competence and character to safely and ethically practise medicine. This is relevant at the time of initial registration or licensing, while licensed and at the time of annual licensing renewal.

As such, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (the College) requires criminal record screening to assist in its mandate to protect the public interest in the practice of medicine.


This policy describes the College’s requirements for criminal record screening at initial application.


This policy applies to all persons applying for licensure or registration in Nova Scotia.


All applicants for initial registration and licensure in Nova Scotia must undergo criminal record screening within six months prior to the date a licence is issued. Criminal record screening is required for all countries in which the applicant has lived for more than three months since reaching the age of majority.

  1. Criminal Record Screening in Canada

Persons who have resided in Canada for more than three months after the age of majority applying for initial registration in Nova Scotia, regardless of class of registration/licence, are required to provide an Enhanced Canadian (Police Information Portal) Criminal Record Check to the College.

The Enhanced Canadian Criminal Record Check must be prepared by CSI Background Screening2 and must be provided directly to the College by that organization.

  1. International Criminal Record Screen

Applicants must obtain an international criminal record check from each country/state in which they have lived for at least three months in the last 10 years immediately prior to the application for licensure.

International criminal record checks must be prepared by CSI Background Screening2 and must be provided directly to the College by that organization.

If the applicant has been deemed admissible to Canada by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the College will only request an Enhanced Canadian Criminal Record Check. If, however, the applicant has returned to another jurisdiction for a minimum of three months since the IRCC vetting process was completed, a background check will be requested for that jurisdiction.

  1. Validity of Criminal Record Screening

Criminal record checks must be requested under the applicant’s current and previous names and must be received by the College no more than six months prior to the date registration/licence is issued.

If a criminal record check is provided more than six months prior to licensure date and the applicant signs an attestation that they have not returned to that country since the original check was provided, the requirement to provide an updated copy may be waived.

  1. Exceptions

If the College is satisfied that records will not be available for a period during which the applicant lived in a country or state, the requirement may be waived, providing that the applicant is willing to sign an attestation that there are no previous/pending convictions or charges from that jurisdiction.

If the College is satisfied that a criminal record check will not be available prior to the date of licensure, the College may accept a declaration that there are no previous/pending convictions or charges against them as sufficient for licensure while awaiting the results.


  1. Medical Practitioners Regulations
  2. CSI Background Screening
Applicable Legislation: Section 5, 39-45 of the Medical Practitioners Regulations
Approved by: Registration Policy Committee & Council
Approval Date(s):October 3, 2023 & October 13, 2023
Review Date:September 2026