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Responsibilities and Authorities of the Peer Review Committee

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Background and Purpose

The Medical Act of Nova Scotia requires that Council approve a practice assessment program with an overall objective of “promoting a culture of continuous quality improvement within the profession; and enhancing the competence of individual members by linking their practice assessment to their professional development.”


The Peer Review Committee (PRC) is responsible for the operation and oversight of peer review. The PRC is governed by the Assessment Committee (AC), which in turn reports on its activity to Council.

General responsibilities of the PRC include directing member participation and reviewing and making decisions on physician files that are forwarded by the program for committee review, as further outlined in its Terms of Reference.

General Statements

Under the jurisdiction of this policy, the PRC can require a member to:

  • Cooperate with the peer review program and any assessor it appoints.
  • Confer with the assessor (Peer Reviewer) or the Committee if requested to do so by either.
  • Participate in a peer or practice assessment using, but not limited to, any of the assessment methods that are outlined in the “Duty of Members to Cooperate” policy.
  • Comply with the direction of the Peer Review Committee using such methods and supports as the Committee may recommend.
  • Undergo a repeat peer assessment, once the member has been given an opportunity to address the Committee’s original concerns and direction.

The PRC can also:

  • Refer the member for assessment by another program or process within the College. 
  • Refer the member to the Registrar when:
    • The member has not complied with the requirements of the peer review program
    • There is a patient safety concern that cannot be reasonably mitigated given the resources and authority of the Committee.
    • Notwithstanding the above, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a member who is the subject of a practice assessment is engaged in professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming or is incompetent or incapacitated. 

In any of the above circumstances, the peer review process will be terminated, the member advised by the Chair of the PRC and the matter referred to the Registrar.

In the case of such a referral, the Chair may only disclose such limited information as is necessary to allow the commencement of an investigation.

Approved by: Peer Review Committee; Assessment Committee; Council

Approval Dates: June 19, 2020; September 11, 2020; October 9, 2020

Review Date: June 2022