News release

Nova Scotia Moving Closer to Regulating Midwifery

The Department of Health will start drafting legislation over the summer for regulating midwifery in Nova Scotia. It will also form an implementation committee to establish a midwifery regulatory body.

Health Minister Jim Smith today announced the two newest developments in regulating midwifery in response to a recently completed report, Recommendations for the Regulation and Implementation of Midwifery in Nova Scotia. The report was prepared by the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Midwifery Regulation.

The report, complied after extensive research and discussions during the past year, proposes a framework for moving forward with developing regulations for midwives as primary health care providers.

The working group's recommendations include:

  • recognizing midwifery as an autonomous self-regulated primary health care profession included as an insured service
  • enacting midwifery legislation to regulate the practice in Nova Scotia
  • ensuring the education requirement is a direct-entry baccalaureate in midwifery
  • government financially supporting the education of midwives in a manner similar to the education of other health care professionals
  • establishing a college of midwives of Nova Scotia to regulate the profession and administer the legislation; appointing an implementation council to establish the college
  • government funding the initial assessment
"Staff will start moving forward with two of the working group's recommendations while they continue to review the report over the summer," said Dr. Smith. "The working group put forward many solid recommendations for the department's consideration. We now must give them a thorough review to determine the best route to take."

The minister established the working group in January 1998 to follow up another report, titled The Potential for Midwifery in Nova Scotia, prepared in 1997 by the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia on behalf of the Department of Health.

"I would like to acknowledge the effort and dedication demonstrated by the working group," said Brenda Montgomery, chair of the Interdisciplinary Working Group on Midwifery Regulation. "With its expertise, wisdom and experience, the membership has produced a document that paves the way for improved maternity care in Nova Scotia, and also represents the next step in securing an important element of choice for women and their families."

The working group was asked to recommend feasible legislative options for regulating the practice of midwifery within an integrated primary health care system. The group comprised representatives from the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives, Midwifery Coalition of Nova Scotia, Registered Nurses Association of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Medical Society, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia, IWK Grace Health Centre and other key stakeholders.

NOTE: The following is intended for use by broadcast media.

Health officials in Nova Scotia are starting the process of drafting legislation to regulate midwifery.

The department is also forming a committee that will create a midwifery regulatory body in the province.

Health Minister Jim Smith says the moves are in response to recommendations from a working group on midwifery.

Legislation and a regulatory body for midwives are among two of the recommendations that came out of a report of the working group.

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Contact:

Sue McKeage
Department of Health 902-424-3581 E-mail: