Licensing Qualified Physicians

Flexible Approach

The College is committed to licensing competent physicians with an adaptive and flexible approach. We have streamlined our approach resulting in a faster turnaround time for licensing decisions. The College has aimed to build a balanced and principled process.

Our licensing philosophy has three pillars:

  • we want to license all competent doctors;
  • we do not want to license incompetent doctors; and
  • we want to license physicians to the full extent of their competencies.

These pillars sit on a foundation of zero mistake tolerance. The public expects that the College will never license one incompetent or imposter physician.

Our licensing approach is led by a Registration Policy Committee, made up of a member of the public, together with physicians from around the province, including the perspective of international medical graduates (IMGs).

Responding to Change

When the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) announced it was eliminating the long-standing Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II, the Registration Policy Committee quickly responded by accepting a pass standing for the MCCQE Part I as an acceptable alternative to the LMCC. This led to several physicians with a Defined licence immediately moving to a Full licence. The committee’s thoughtful and timely response provided for the seamless licensure of new Canadian graduates in 2021.  

Nova Scotia, particularly in communities under-serviced by medicine, relies on IMGs.

International Medical Graduates (IMGs)

Nova Scotia, particularly in communities under-serviced by medicine, relies on IMGs. While their numbers are few, comprising only 3% of our licensed physicians, their impact is enormous. When licensing IMGs, the College has the responsibility of identifying who has the necessary training and competencies to meet the expectations of the public. 

The Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program

The Nova Scotia Practice Ready Assessment Program is an assessment program for IMGs who wish to practice family medicine in Nova Scotia. In 2021, the program led to the licensure of 17 family physicians who are now caring for Nova Scotians in rural communities.

This program provides a new route to licensure, opening a pathway to licensure for physicians in many parts of the world that were not previously eligible for licensure anywhere in Canada.

Pandemic Response

The College moved quickly to license recently retired physicians who wished to help with COVID-19 vaccine clinics. We are grateful to all those who were willing to lend a hand.

We wish to also recognize the contribution of postgraduate trainees who provided moonlighting services on COVID units. The efficient licensing process was undertaken in close collaboration with Dalhousie University.

Physicians Licensed: 2022 Snapshot

This data represents a physician headcount, not a total of full-time equivalent practising physicians

Physicians Licensed


Physician Age Distribution

Physicians Licensed: 4-Year Overview

Licensing Statistics


Physician Age Distribution