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English Language Proficiency

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Purpose

Proficiency in English is a requirement for registration. All physicians must have the ability to effectively communicate with patients, other professionals and the College.

The Medical Practitioners Regulations requires an applicant to “have demonstrated proficiency in the English language as required by the Registrar.” This policy sets out the Registrar’s requirements.

Scope

This policy applies to all applicants whose first and native language is not English.

Policy

English Language Proficiency Requirements

All applicants whose first and native language is not English must demonstrate English Language Proficiency. This requirement is fulfilled if you provide proof that:

  1. You currently hold an independent medical licence in any province or territory in Canada; or
  2. You received your undergraduate medical education or your postgraduate training in English from one of the countries listed below; or

Countries with English as 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 Tobago

  1. your postgraduate training did not occur in one of the countries listed above, but it was conducted in English and the primary language for patient care was in English; or
  2. you have achieved one of the following English Language Proficiency test results:
English Language Proficiency TestResults*

International English Language Testing System – Academic (IELTS-Academic)

Minimum score of 7.0 in each of the components in the same sitting

Occupational English Test – Medicine (OET-Medicine)

Minimum grade of B in each of the four components in the same sitting

Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – General (CELPIP-General)

Minimum score of 9 in each of the four components in the same sitting

*All test results must be source-verified and are valid for 24 months from the date on your exam results.

Temporary Waiver to the Requirement for English Language Proficiency

If you are required to undergo a clinical assessment with Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia prior to being accepted into a postgraduate training program, the requirement for English Language Proficiency is waived for the clinical assessment. 

However, once you are accepted into the postgraduate training program, you will be required to meet the English Language Proficiency requirements in this policy before you start your postgraduate training.

Registrar’s Discretion for Postgraduate Trainees Who Do Not Meet the English Language Proficiency Requirements

If you are accepted into a postgraduate training program or elective at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, and you do not meet any of the requirements above, the Registrar may, at their discretion, accept proof of English Language Proficiency in the form of a letter from the Program Director or Fellowship Sponsor for your program at Dalhousie University.  The letter must attest that your English language proficiency allows for safe and effective communication with patients. 

This discretion will apply in the following circumstances:

  1. You have achieved the required results in one of the English Language Proficiency tests listed in the table above but your results are more than 24 months old.
  2. You have achieved one of the following English Language Proficiency test results:
English Language Proficiency TestResults*
International English Language Testing System – Academic (IELTS-Academic)Average score of 7.0 or higher for the test overall
Occupational English Test – Medicine (OET-Medicine)Average grade of B or higher for the test overall
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – General (CELPIP-General)Average score of 9 or higher for the test overall
* All test results must be source-verified and are valid for 24 months from the date on your exam results.
  1. Your elective will be 3 months or less in duration.
  2. You are currently enrolled in a postgraduate training program or fellowship in a Canadian program outside of Nova Scotia.  In this instance, the letter of attestation must be from the Program Director or Fellowship Sponsor in your current program, not the program at Dalhousie University.

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

Approved by: Registration Policy Committee, Executive Committee

Approval Dates: February 10, 2022 & February 22, 2022

Review Date: February 2023