ontario news watch

N.L. doctors push back against change that would give government a say in licensing

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association says a government proposal to give the health minister a say in licensing would compromise a basic tenet of the profession.

In a letter dated Sunday, the association says the change would undermine the principle of medical self-regulation by bringing the minister inside the regulatory process.

It says the move would make Newfoundland and Labrador unique in the country, as no other province allows its health minister such power.

In response to a physician shortage in the province, the government last week proposed legislative changes empowering the minister to determine what qualifications were needed and which jurisdictions and schools would be accepted for an out-of-province doctor to be granted a provisional licence.

The minister would make the determinations in consultation with a committee of two doctors, one government official and two members of the province’s college of physicians, the body that will ultimately grant the licence.

According to the college’s website, doctors with provisional licences must have oversight from an approved supervisor, and work toward full licensure under an approved plan and timeline.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2022.

The Canadian Press