Register for Your Independent Practice License

October 25, 2021 | Courtney Marie L.


If you've just completed your residency, you have to apply for your independent practice license before you can start to practise. Here is how.

Transitioning out of residency and into independent practice is no easy task. Before you start your independent practice, you need to make sure you are fully licensed to legally practice unsupervised medicine. Here's how you can apply for your Independent Practice License in Canada.

This is an edited article from Dr. Bill's “Guide to Having a Successful First Year of Practice"

Generally, it's best to apply at least 3 months before you start working in order to make sure you receive your license in time. For example, for a July 1st start date, submit your application on May 6th.

How to Apply for Your Independent Practice License

Applying for your provincial medical license is done through the College of Physicians and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of your province (such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC).

Having this license is what lets you diagnose and treat patients, order investigations, obtain and write prescriptions and essentially practice medicine. In order to get accepted you must have the following:

  • A medical degree from an accredited Canadian or US medical school (or from an acceptable international medical school).
  • Successful completion of Parts 1 and 2 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) or an acceptable alternative examination.
  • Certification by examination by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).
  • Completion of one year of postgraduate training or active medical practice in Canada, or completion of a full clinical clerkship at an accredited Canadian medical school.
  • Canadian Citizenship or permanent resident status. Dr. Bill Step-by-Step Guide to Having a Successful First Year of Practice 22Fees to Expect Exact fees vary by province but in general expect to pay around $2,900. Typically you need to pay for a review of qualifications, registration and your actual practice permit.

The Application Process

Most university programs will help you with this step, but many doctors (especially those switching between provinces) find it complicated. Therefore, if you'd like to double check you've got everything in line, make sure you've completed ALL the steps below (in the order that they appear).

Step 1: Create a 'PhysiciansApply' Account & Start the Application

Applications for independent practice registration must be submitted through physiciansapply. If you don't already have an account, create one with your university email. Once inside, click on “Application for Medical Registration" in Canada. Then select your province.

Follow the application prompts for your province but make sure you have the following information to apply with:

  • Practice Intentions – Select an intended scope of practice

    • Practice Intent: Select components of intended professional activity, select long-term; indicate intended start date; write a little blurb about your practice intentions.

    • Intended practice location: Complete this section to the best of your ability, keep it general if nothing is organized yet.

  • Personal Information

  • Contact Information

  • Medical Education

  • Canadian Credentials

Once your application is filled out it will be sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (of your province) the next business day.

Step 2: Upload Supporting Documents + Apply

Your information will then be reviewed by the staff (generally within 3 business days) in order to determine if you're eligible to apply. If you are eligible, you'll receive an email from the College granting you access to the online application (the application will show up in your physiciansapply account). The email will include more details about timelines, fees and supporting documents.
Typical documents include:

  • Complete an online orientation (instructions will be given in the email)

  • Medical Education

  • 3 Notarized ID documents (passport, driver's license, medical degree)

  • Resume

  • Three reference letters (one has to be from your site director)

  • Copy of medical degree

Step 3: Acceptance

The College will evaluate your application and notify you by email of your acceptance. Approval takes anywhere from 4-7 weeks. Once you're approved you'll be expected to pay your practice permit fee.

Additional Resources:

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This article originally appeared on the RBC Healthcare - Advice & Learning