News release

Physician Recruitment Remains Strong in Nova Scotia

The number of doctors in Nova Scotia continues to grow and more new doctors are caring for Nova Scotians. There were 168 doctors who started practising in Nova Scotia from April 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023. Nova Scotia Health hired 155 doctors and the IWK Health hired 13 doctors during the last year. The net gain is 86 physicians.

“The recruitment of doctors and other healthcare professionals is truly a team effort,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “Working together we continue to showcase Nova Scotia as a great place to live, work and raise a family. We know that there is still much to do but our hard work is starting to see results.”

Of the doctors recruited last year, 78 are family doctors and 90 work in other specialties. They are working in communities across Nova Scotia.

From 2018-2022 Nova Scotia Health recruited 164, 127, 129 and 130 physicians respectively, for a total of 550.

The Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment works closely with Nova Scotia Health, the IWK and other partners to attract and keep doctors, nurses and other health providers.

Recruitment initiatives over the past year included:

  • working with the regulators to make it easier for licensed healthcare professionals to work in Nova Scotia from recognized jurisdictions
  • international recruitment mission to Ireland and the Caribbean to meet with more than 400 medical students with Nova Scotia ties or an interest in coming to Nova Scotia
  • provided funding to 28 community groups for retention and recruitment efforts
  • increased the number of physician residency seats for international medical graduates and added a stream for those with a Nova Scotia connection
  • attended more than 90 conferences and recruitment events in Canada, United States and the United Kingdom
  • hosted 13 webinars for high need specialties, medical learners and jurisdictions with new license pathways

Becoming a magnet for health providers is the first solution in Action for Health, the Province’s plan to improve healthcare.


Our teams have been working together to bring more doctors to Nova Scotia, and I’m proud of their hard work and determination. We continue forward with our virtual seminars and a very heavy travel and event schedule. We were also excited this year to welcome new MD recruitment leads and much-needed immigration expertise at the office, which we think will help us continue the forward momentum. Dr. Nicole Boutilier, Vice-President of Medicine, Nova Scotia Health, and co-lead, Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

We are fortunate in Nova Scotia to have so many committed professionals and volunteers dedicated to ensuring that the people of this province get the healthcare they need. The teams at the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment, Nova Scotia Health and the IWK have been working hard to recruit doctors to our communities and have been making real progress year over year. Craig Beaton, Associate Deputy Minister, Department of Health and Wellness, and co-lead, Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

Quick Facts:

  • there were 82 physician departures last year
  • recruitment efforts are continuing to fill 169 physician vacancies (as of April 1), which include 73 specialty and 96 family medicine doctors
  • this is the first year Nova Scotia has reported physician hiring numbers for the IWK.
  • more than 100 representatives from community groups across Nova Scotia attended a two-day healthcare retention and recruitment conference this week hosted by the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment

Additional Resources:

Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve healthcare in Nova Scotia:

Mandate letter of the Minister of Health and Wellness: