News release

Physician Incentive Programs Expand

Health and Wellness
health workforce
Action for Health
OHPR Community Fund
Photo of a doctor and patient

Primary care and specialist physicians are now eligible for incentives to practise in Halifax Regional Municipality. (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

The government is expanding its physician incentive programs to encourage more doctors to choose to practise in Nova Scotia.

Financial incentives for doctors are now available in all areas of the province, including Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) in the central health zone.

“Recruitment and retention of physicians and other health professionals are a key part of our Action for Health plan,” said Health and Wellness Minister Michelle Thompson. “We need doctors in every part of the province, including the Halifax area, and this expansion offers more choice and added incentive to practise in Nova Scotia.”

Family physicians and specialists who want to establish full-time practices in the Central Zone can earn up to $75,000 in incentives – $25,000 when they sign the agreement and $10,000 per year for the next five years. These payments will be made at the end of each year after contract deliverables are met.

Qualifying physicians who want to establish a practice outside the Central Zone remain eligible for up to $125,000 in incentives over five years, recognizing the recruitment challenges in these areas. The Eastern Shore-Musquodoboit and West Hants networks in Central Zone remain eligible locations for this incentive.

Other efforts to recruit, retain and train more physicians include:

  • passing the Patient Access to Care Act, making it faster and easier for healthcare providers to come to Nova Scotia
  • working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia to streamline licensing for doctors from recognized jurisdictions
  • attending more than 90 conferences and recruitment events in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom
  • participating in the Atlantic Physician Registry, which allows doctors in Atlantic Canada to work more freely across the region
  • providing $2 million in grants to support community-led initiatives to help recruit, welcome and retain healthcare professionals through the Office of Healthcare Professionals Recruitment Community Fund
  • establishing a new medical school campus at Cape Breton University, adding more medical school seats, increasing the number of residency spaces and supporting a new physician assistant master’s program at Dalhousie University.


“We are pleased with this investment and our government’s continued focus on hearing and responding to recruitment opportunities. It’s imperative to continue to be nimble as we face new recruitment challenges and continually adjust our strategies. We are working against a highly competitive landscape and our ability to be responsive will continue to give Nova Scotia an edge.”
Dr. Nicole Boutilier, Executive Vice-President of Medicine and Clinical Operations, Nova Scotia Health

Quick Facts:

  • the Primary Care Physician Incentive and Specialist Physician Incentive programs were established in 2022 and – with the expansion into HRM – have an annual combined budget of $5.94 million; $1.5 million more was added in Budget 2024-25
  • to date, 68 physicians are under incentive agreements to work in Nova Scotia for five years
  • Nova Scotia has had a net gain of 195 physicians since September 2021
  • the Province and Doctors Nova Scotia reached new four-year agreements in 2023, covering compensation, benefits and funding for clinical and academic positions
  • as of December 31, more than 250,000 hours of red tape have been eliminated for physicians

Additional Resources:

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

News release – Province, Doctors Nova Scotia Reach New Four-Year Agreements:

Mandate letter for the Minister of Health and Wellness:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way.