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Defined Licence: Requirements and Conditions for Supervised Practice as the Most Responsible Physician

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Preamble

A Defined licence is a time-limited licence which may be issued to physicians without the qualifications for a Full licence. A Defined licence may be issued to a physician who has a recognized medical degree1 and has adequate discipline-specific postgraduate training equivalent to that required by the College of Family Physicians of Canada2 or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada3. In addition, the physician must at least hold the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada4 (or hold an acceptable alternative5)OR have Canadian postgraduate training and Canadian certification.

A Defined licence is registered on the Conditional Register maintained by the College.

Physicians holding a Defined licence may practise medicine while pursuing the necessary qualifications for a Full licence.

A physician practising on a Defined licence may do so as the most responsible physician (MRP) but must be subject to College-directed supervision and such other conditions and restrictions as determined by the Registrar or the Registration Committee.

Purpose

This policy sets out the minimum requirements to obtain a Defined licence.

Scope

This policy applies to all holders of Defined licenses, excluding physicians issued a Defined licence for Clinical Fellowship.

For information on Defined licence for Clinical Fellowships, see the College policy on Defined Licence for Clinical Fellowship:  Requirements and Conditions for Licensure6.

Policy

Eligibility Criteria for a Defined Licence

To qualify for a Defined licence, physicians must have:

QualificationsDescription
Medical DegreeApplicants must have a recognized medical degree from a school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools1
LMCC or acceptable alternativeApplicants must be a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) or have one of the College’s acceptable alternatives to the LMCC or

Applicants with Canadian postgraduate training and Canadian certification do not require the LMCC or an acceptable alternative at initial licensure
Certification Exam EligibilityApplicants must have certification or eligibility to challenge the Canadian certification examinations via one of the following routes:

Specialties (other than Family Medicine)
– Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada approved jurisdiction route to certification
– Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Practice Eligibility Route (PER) to certification
– A successful Practice Ready Assessment in a specialty (other than Family Medicine)7
– Collège des médecins du Québec8

Subspecialties with a primary specialty in Internal Medicine
– SEAP Affiliate Status with the Royal College granted through successful completion of a Subspecialist Examination Affiliate Program (SEAP) together with a successful Practice Ready Assessment in Internal Medicine9

Family Medicine
– College of Family Physicians of Canada
– A successful Practice Ready Assessment in Family Medicine9
– Collège des médecins du Québec 

Conditions on all Defined Licences

The terms and conditions of a Defined licence will be set out in a Licensing Agreement, will address:

1. Length of Time Permitted on a Defined Licence

A Defined licence is time-limited. The maximum time to hold a Defined licence will be set as a condition on each Defined licence.

Physicians issued a Defined licence after September 1, 2022, will undergo a minimum of six months and a maximum of 24 months of supervised practice as the most responsible physician.

Physicians issued a Defined licence prior to September 1, 2022, will have a maximum of 60 months of supervised practice as most responsible physician to qualify for a Full or Restricted licence.

2. Mandatory participation in the College’s “Practising Medicine in Nova Scotia” Orientation Program

Physicians issued a Defined licence after September 1, 2022, must participate in a mandatory Orientation Program10 approved by the College.

Physicians issued a Defined licence prior to September 1, 2022, are strongly encouraged to participate in the Orientation Program and are invited to participate in any part of that program.

3. Pathway to Long-Term Licensure

While on a Defined licence, the physician must work toward the qualifications for a Full or Restricted licence during their licensing term. The College policy for Pathway to Long-Term Licensure via a Defined Licence11 outlines these requirements.

4. Sponsorship

Defined licensees must have a Sponsor at all times, who is approved by the College. A Sponsor must hold a Full licence and, unless otherwise approved by the Registrar, hold a senior position with the Health Authority in which the supervised licensee will be practising.

Per Section 41 of the Medical Practitioners Regulations, the Sponsor may add conditions to the physician’s Defined licence.

Withdrawal of sponsorship will result in immediate loss of licensure. Any decision to withdraw sponsorship is a personal decision of the Sponsor and not subject to College review.

5. Supervision

All physicians holding a Defined licence must be subject to supervision.   Defined licensees must have a Supervisor approved by the College at all times. The Supervisor must hold a Full licence, Academic licence or Defined licence on Sponsor-only Oversight12. The Supervisor must be engaged in a scope of practice comparable to the supervised licensee.

The supervision plan is determined by the Registrar or Registration Committee and can be modified by the Registrar or Registration Committee in response to physician performance.

Physicians issued a Defined licence after September 1, 2022, will be subject to concentrated supervision for a minimum of six months and maximum of 24 months.

Physicians issued a Defined licence prior to September 1, 2022, must continue the supervision plan put in place at the time of initial licensure or as modified over their time in licensure. Physicians issued a Defined licence prior to this date who wish to consider the concentrated supervision framework should contact the College directly.

For all holders of a Defined licence, the supervised physician is responsible for the costs of supervision.

6. Leave of Absence

A leave of absence up to one year may be granted at the discretion of the Registrar for those physicians who take a maternity/paternity/parental leave, medical leave, educational leave of absence, or other exceptional circumstance. For approved leaves, the end date of the licensing term will be moved to accommodate the leave up to the maximum allowable licensing term. Longer extensions must be referred to the Registration Committee for consideration.

7. Extensions to Licence Term (Other Than for Leaves of Absence)

Under exceptional circumstances, a Defined licence may be eligible for an extension to the licensing term, with or without additional conditions and/or restrictions.

Decisions about licence term extensions are made by the Registration Committee. To be considered for an extension to the licensing term, the physician must present reasons and request referral to the Registration Committee.

8. Scope of Practice

The Registrar or the Registration Committee will determine the scope of practice and practice location for each Defined licence.

A physician on a Defined licence must not change their scope of practice15 or location of practice without prior approval of the College.

9. Time Required in Practice

All Defined licence physicians must practise in Nova Scotia at least 0.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)* for a minimum of six months.

In exceptional circumstances, physicians who qualify for a Defined licence who wish to provide temporary coverage in Nova Scotia must have a job offer for no less than 3 months in one location. The physician will not be considered for a Restricted licence11 until completion of a minimum of six months of supervised practice acceptable to the Registrar. The total of six months of supervised practice must be completed within 12 months of initial licensure date.

* minimum of 900 hours annually.

10. Practice Location

As per the Medical Practitioners Regulations, the Sponsor determines the geographic location for the Defined licensee’s medical practice. Physicians on a Defined licence are not permitted to provide temporary coverage outside of their health zone.

11. Eligibility for Certification Examinations

Defined licensees must have successfully obtained or have eligibility to challenge the certification examination with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada, or the Collège des médecins du Québec at the time of initial licensure. Successful completion of a Practice Ready Assessment will satisfy this criterion. 

For physicians issued a Defined licence prior to September 1, 2022:

If the physician does not hold Canadian certification at the time of initial licensure, they must maintain eligibility to challenge the Canadian certification examination with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the College of Family Physicians of Canada during the time they hold a Defined licence.

This requirement is subject to the following exceptions:

  • The requirement for Royal College certification is waived for physicians in the Royal College Practice Eligibility Route (PER) who have achieved a pass standing in the certification examinations. If all other licensing requirements are met, a physician in the PER is eligible for a Full licence if they have a pass standing in the certification examinations.
  • A physician on a Defined licence who does not obtain certification in the required timeframe may be considered for a Comprehensive Clinical Assessment of Practice (CCAP). Upon successful completion of a CCAP and having met all other licensing requirements, the physician on a Defined licence is eligible for a Restricted licence.

12. Additional Conditions or Requirements

The Registrar or Registration Committee shall impose such other conditions, restrictions or requirements as they determine necessary to support safe, competent, and effective practice. Any such conditions, restrictions or requirements will be set out in the Licensing Agreement.

Resources

  1. World Directory of Medical Schools
  2. College of Family Physicians of Canada
  3. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  4. Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada
  5. Acceptable Alternatives to the LMCC
  6. Defined Licence for Clinical Fellowship: Requirements and Conditions for Licensure
  7. Pathway to Licensure for International Medical Graduates via a Practice Ready Assessment: Specialists and SEAP Status Affiliates (with a primary specialty of Internal Medicine)
  8. Collège des médecins du Québec
  9. Pathway to Licensure for International Medical Graduates via a Practice Ready Assessment – Family Medicine
  10. Orientation Policy (pending)
  11. Pathway to Long-Term Licensure via a Defined Licence
  12. Sponsor-Only Oversight of a Defined Licence Physician
  13. Guidance to Physicians Contemplating a Change in Clinical Scope of Practice
  14. Comprehensive Clinical Assessment of Practice: Criteria and Outcomes for Physicians on a Defined Licence

Applicable Legislation: Sections 5, 39 – 45 of the Medical Practitioner Regulations

Approved by: Registration Policy Committee & Executive Committee

Approval Date: September 22, 2022 & September 29, 2022

Review Date: September 2025