Skip to main content

Atlantic premiers announce new registry to cut down on red tape for doctors who want to work throughout the region


The Council of Atlantic Premiers announced a new physicians and surgeons registry that is expected to make it easier for doctors to work temporarily in provinces other than where they have a medical licence.

The announcement was made on Monday by Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King during a meeting in Charlottetown between the four Atlantic premiers. 

King said, over the last couple of months, the four provinces have been working on launching the "Registrars of the Atlantic colleges of physicians and surgeons," which is expected to improve physician mobility within the region and to "cut down on the unnecessary red tape and administrative burden for physicians who want to work within the region and any of our health-care systems."

Premiers expect the registry to be in place by May 1.

"Starting May 1, 2023, physicians will now be able to opt into the Atlantic registry and will be able to work in any of the Atlantic provinces seamlessly without any additional licensing requirements," said King during Monday's meeting.

"We also discussed how we can work together as a region on foreign recruitment of health-care professionals and find pathways for expediting a licensing for health-care professionals for both domestic and international health-care professionals who want to come to Atlantic Canada to work within our health-care system."

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey, who is also an orthopedic trauma surgeon, said there's nothing preventing doctors from working outside their home province, but the process of getting permission can be tough.

"For me, to come and work in P.E.I. or New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, it's quite onerous," he told a news conference after the meeting. "It can be a significant deterrent for a practising physician to either take a locum piece of work or to split their practice."

Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said the new system won't have an impact on the ongoing competition between provinces recruiting doctors.

"If the physician wants to move to another province they can," he said. "What we're talking about is making it easier for them to pitch in where necessary in other provinces .... It's a first step in a bigger discussion that has to happen."

King says the premiers also plan to meet with the federal minister of immigration to discuss:

  • streamlining processing by reducing duplication
  • expanding the New Brunswick Critical Worker Pilot to the rest of the region
  • adding temporary and permanent resident streams and pathways for health-care professionals, targeted projects and season industries


Housing was another topic of discussion between the Atlantic premiers, focusing on the challenges and opportunities on increasing the supply of housing in the region.

"But also what we can do collectively to support those who are experiencing homelessness," said King. "As a group, we know that more has to be done to increase our supply of housing in the region and we are committed to working together with our respective local municipalities to speed up new construction and create new opportunities for increasing the housing supply, and increasing the vacancy rate within our respected towns, cities and in our provinces."


The premiers also discussed plans to talk to the federal government about a recent outage of the 911 system across the Maritimes in late January.

"We raised the importance of having a resilient and robust EMS system that Atlantic Canadians can rely on and, as Atlantic premiers, we will be writing the federal government to raise our concerns and to continue to encourage improved service," said King.

During the outage on Jan. 31, Nova Scotia issued an emergency alert, telling people to call their local police, fire and EHS services in the event of an emergency.

The New Brunswick RCMP, as well as police departments in Miramichi, Fredericton and Saint John, were also experiencing technical issues with 911.

The Miramichi Police Force said calls from landlines were not going through, while calls from cell phones were.

The P.E.I. RCMP 911 system was also affected by the outage.

In the end, a senior manager of communications at Bell Aliant said the root cause of the outage was a software update in preparation of 10-digit dialing for New Brunswick, which triggered unexpected call processing failures to 911.


The meeting among the four premiers comes two weeks after Canada's prime minister presented his government's proposal for increasing health-care funding to provinces and territories, which the country's premiers have accepted.

The federal government has proposed a 10-year, $196-billion health spending plan, which adds $46.2 billion in new money to health care across Canada.

Provinces can also get $1.7 billion over five years to increase wages for personal support workers in long-term and home care.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the federal government will be flexible in helping provinces meet their own circumstances. But provinces will have to show how the money will be spent and demonstrate progress in priority areas, he added.

With files from The Canadian Press. Top Stories


WEATHER TRACKER Rainfall, heat, smoke advisories in place across Canada

Large parts of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada are under weather warnings forecasting significant rainfall due to the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, while people in western Canada are experiencing sweltering heat. Some areas are also under air quality advisories as a result of wildfire smoke.

Stay Connected