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Voluntary Relinquishment of Licence

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All physicians who wish to relinquish their licence must submit a request in writing to the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (the College). Pursuant to Section 20 of the Medical Act1, relinquishing a licence requires consent from the Registrar after a review of the physician’s status.

The College understands that a physician may wish to voluntarily relinquish their licence for various reasons including, but not limited to, retirement, a prolonged absence from practice, or they are no longer practising in the province.

Once the licence has been relinquished, the physician will no longer be able to practise medicine in Nova Scotia2. In all circumstances where the Registrar agrees to the relinquishment of a physician’s licence, an annotation will be made to the Medical Register noting the relinquishment of the licence and the date. This information will remain publicly available on the College’s Physician Search webpage3 for a period of time.


This policy describes the physician’s responsibilities to relinquish a licence and the College’s process for annotating the Medical Register.


This policy applies to all physicians who wish to voluntarily relinquish their medical licence in Nova Scotia. Pursuant to this policy, physicians whose licensure has a known end date are not required to submit a written request to relinquish their licence.


  1. Written Request

Pursuant to this policy, a physician seeking to relinquish their licence must submit a request in writing using the College’s Practice Closure or Discontinuance of Licence Form4.  The request must be submitted directly from the physician requesting to relinquish their licence.

For physicians without the capacity to submit a request in writing, the College will accept the request from the physician’s substitute decision maker.

Physicians who are also closing their practice in Nova Scotia should also refer to the College’s Professional Standards Regarding Temporarily or Permanently Closing a Medical Practice5.

  1. Failure to Provide Written Notice to Relinquish a Licence

Physicians who do not request to relinquish their licence and do not complete the annual renewal process prior to their licence expiration (December 31st of each year), will have an annotation to this effect placed on the Physician Search section of the College website until such time as the licence is reinstated or the physician formally applies to relinquish their licence in accordance with section 20(1) of the Medical Act and the Registrar consents to the relinquishment of their licence.

  1. Review of Request to End a Licence

Upon receipt of the written request, the Registrar will consider the status of the physician’s file in determining whether to consent to the relinquishment of their licence.  The Registrar will consider factors including:

  • Open complaints
  • Outstanding fees
  • Open compliance requirements (such as litigation or complaints in other jurisdictions)
  • Corporation permits
  • Active conditions/restrictions
  • Registration Committee referrals
  • Status of sponsorship or supervision (whether acting as a Sponsor or Supervisor, or under Sponsorship and/or Supervision)

The Registrar may provide conditions to the physician that must be met before the Registrar will consent to the relinquishment of the physician’s licence.

  1. The College Maintains the Authority to Investigate Complaints

In cases where a person ceases to be registered or licensed under subsection 20(1) of the Medical Act, they continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of the College in respect of any disciplinary matter or allegation of incapacity that occurred while they were a member of the College.


  1. Nova Scotia Medical Act
  2. Nova Scotia Medical Act – Definition for Practice of Medicine
  3. College Physician Search webpage
  4. Practice Closure or Discontinuance of Licence Form
  5. Professional Standards Regarding Temporarily or Permanently Closing a Medical Practice