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Physician Onboarding

We are excited to welcome you to Nova Scotia! As you are aware, there are several steps that you need to begin in order to set up your practice. This page contains guiding information that will assist you through the process. If you are not sure about whether certain steps apply to you, please check in with your Physician Recruitment Consultant or your local physician leader. They can provide advice and guidance regarding your specific situation.

General Timeline: Setting Up Practice

Medical licence graphic
privileging and credentialing graphic
Incentives graphic
Apply for Liability Protection graphic
Register for MSI Billing graphic
Register with Doctors NS graphic
Register for electron medical record licence graphic
Family Physicians: Need a Family Practice Registry graphic

Step 1. Medical Licence

Target: 6 months before start date

In Nova Scotia, medical licenses are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia (CPSNS). At this point, you have created an account with and completed your Review of Qualifications with the CPSNS.

Please continue with your application with the CPSNS, being mindful of the checklist on your individual portal and any expiry dates.

For physicians applying for a Defined License, your checklist will include a Sponsor Letter + Terms of Sponsorship and a Supervisor Letter + Terms of Supervision. Nova Scotia Health will help identify the Sponsor and Supervisor. Please contact your Physician Recruitment Consultant for more information.

  • More information regarding medical licensing can be found here

Step 2. Immigration

Target: 4 to 6 months before start date

In Canada, immigration is a shared jurisdiction between the province and the federal government via Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Provinces are able to nominate individuals for permanent residence (PR) through provincial nominee programs, but all decisions regarding admissibility to Canada, including work permits and permanent residence are entirely under the responsibility of IRCC.

The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) offers two dedicated pathways for Permanent Residency specific to Physicians who have accepted an offer to practice with the Nova Scotia Health or IWK.

Your first step for Immigration is to apply to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program under one of the two streams available:

For more information on the differences with the application criteria and process, and to determine which stream is the best option for you and your family, please visit the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration website:

Once your application is approved, you will receive a Certificate of Nomination and a Letter of Support from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. You will use your Certificate of Nomination to apply for Permanent Residency and your letter of support to apply for a temporary work permit through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Once you receive these documents from the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, please email your Physician Recruitment Consultant with your Certificate of Nomination, Letter of Support, and a copy of your passport. Before you apply for your Temporary Work Permit, the Physician Recruitment Consultant must register your offer of employment with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Your Physician Recruitment Consultant will provide you with an Offer of Employment Number (often referred to as the “A Number”), which you will use to apply for a Temporary Work Permit.

Temporary Study/Work Permits:

Physicians who have applied to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program and have received a Letter of Support and Offer of Employment Number, may begin applying for Temporary Work and Study Permits.

Please note: There are fees associated with the Temporary Work and Study Permits for you and your family.

Permanent Residency

Physicians who have applied to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program and received a Certificate of Nomination may begin applying for Permanent Residency.

Please note: Your Certificate of Nomination expires after 6 months of being issued and you must apply for Permanent Residency before the nomination expires.

Learn more about the Provincial Nominee Program and your options for applying for Permanent Residency:

Step 3. Privileging & Credentialing

Target: 2 to 4 months before start date

Privileging and credentialing outlines a physician’s level of access to Nova Scotia Health facilities and resources and verifies their insurance, education, and license details. This process is done every three years to ensure continuing education, quality of care, and patient safety.

Every physician, regardless of specialty and location, must be privileged before working in Nova Scotia. Please see your Physician Recruitment Consultant for more information about obtaining a Privileging and Credentialing Application. 

Step 4. Apply for Incentives

 Target: 2 to 4 months before start date

Nova Scotia offers a comprehensive site visit program and relocation allowance for physicians. Please review the guidelines and applications below: 





Site Visit Program:

Physicians can apply to the Nova Scotia Health to participate in this program to visit potential practice sites within Nova Scotia and further explore practice opportunities.

Form and corresponding receipts to

Relocation Allowance:

Physicians may apply to the Nova Scotia Health to participate in this program to have their costs associated with relocating reimbursed up to $10,000.

Please submit your Relocation Allowance Application Form, Relocation Allowance Claim Form and corresponding receipts to

Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness Incentives

The Department of Health and Wellness in Nova Scotia offers incentive programs to help you choose a practice that suits your career goals, and help you transition you into your new life in Nova Scotia. Family physicians and specialists who qualify can earn up to $125,000 in incentives over a five-year period. For more information about these programs and determine eligibility, please visit our More Than Medicine website. For inquiries regarding the Department of Health and Wellness financial incentives, please click here

Step 5. Apply for Liability Protection

 Target: 2 to 4 months before start date

The Canadian Medical Protection Association (CMPA) provides members – residents, clinical fellows, and practicing physicians – with liability protection, advice, and resources to help manage medical-legal risk in clinical practice.

All physicians practicing in Nova Scotia must hold liability insurance and must provide your CMPA information to:

  • the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia as part of your license application
  • the Nova Scotia Health as part of your Privileging and Credentialing application
  • Register for CMPA

Step 6. Register for Billing Number with MSI

 Target: 1 to 2 months before start date

Medical Service Insurance (MSI) programs are designed to provide eligible Nova Scotian residents with coverage for medically required hospital, medical, dental and optometric services. Medavie Blue Cross administers the Medical Services Insurance (MSI) program for the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.

Each physician must register with MSI in order to submit claims for payment. Please follow the steps outlined on the MSI website for new registrations:

Information needed to complete your application:

  • Cover Letter: Details of your plans to practice. If there is any information missing at the time of your application (i.e. licence number or submitter information), please indicate the reason in your cover letter.
  • Licence Number: It is best if this is included as part of your application, but may be submitted prior to receiving your licence number. MSI will confirm your licence number with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia prior to issuing you a billing number.
  • Submitter Information: The Submitter is the individual who will be submitting the electronic claims from within the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Please contact your clinic administrator to verify who the Submitter is and their Submitter ID.
  • Banking Information and Void Cheque

Quick Links:

Physicians’ Manual:

In Nova Scotia, the rules surrounding physician billing are negotiated by Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) and the provincial government. The Physician’s Manual is the schedule of medical benefits and lists all the Health Service Codes (HSC), their descriptions and values. Every medical service provided in hospital or in the community has a fee code, which are submitted to MSI for payment. The Preamble is the authority for the proper interpretation of the fee schedule.

Physicians’ Bulletins:

The Physicians’ Bulletin are emailed to physicians and provide current information on MSI related matters including new or modified fees, policies and procedures relating to claims for services provided.

Step 7. Register with Doctors Nova Scotia

Target: 1 to 2 months before start date

Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) is the oldest medical association in Canada. Its membership represents more than 3,500 physicians, including practising and retired physicians, medical students and residents. Doctors Nova Scotia is a division of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

Every physician practicing in Nova Scotia, must be registered with Doctors Nova Scotia. Learn more about membership:

Step 8. Register for Electronic Medical Record Licence

Target: 1 to 2 months before start date

You will be required to obtain EMR software licenses. Please contact your clinic or department in order to complete licensing applications and schedule training on the EMR solution prior to starting practice.

For detailed information about EMRs and incentives visit:

Step 9. Family Physicians: Need a Family Practice Registry

Target: 4 to 6 weeks before start date

Nova Scotia Health has developed a registry of patients who are in need of a family physician called the Need a Family Practice Registry. Nova Scotia Health encourages all new family physicians (and family physicians who can take on new patients) to access this registry.

If you wish to access patients from this registry, please contact your Physician Recruitment Consultant.

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