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Changing Scope of Practice and/or Re-entering Practice

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Physicians may wish to change their scope of practice for a number of reasons, for example, if they want to focus on a different or specific area of medicine. A successful change of scope does not necessarily mean that a physician will no longer continue with the care they currently provide, rather it refers to practice expertise beyond that traditionally considered to be within the scope of their specialty and permits them, under certain circumstances, to provide external consultations in this area of practice. 

Physicians absent from practice for a period of two or more years are required to participate in a re-entry process, whether it involves returning to a previous scope of practice or in a different area. Registration Committee review may be required for physicians who have returned to practice on a reduced schedule in the preceding two years.

Physicians must not practise in a new scope of practice or re-enter practice unless the College has approved their change in scope of practice and/or re-entry request. 

Scope of practice: Scope of practice is a term that describes a physician’s practice at a particular point in time. A physician’s scope of practice is determined by a number of factors including their education, training, and certification; the patients they care for; the procedures they perform; treatment provided; and the practice environment.

Change in scope of practice: A change in scope of practice occurs when there has been a significant change to any of the factors set out above. A change in scope of practice also occurs when physicians wish to return to an area of practice which they have not practised in for two or more consecutive years.

Evolution of practice: An evolution of practice is characterized by the gradual development or progression of a physician’s practice within a certain area in keeping with the direction of the specialty. An evolution in practice may include narrowing or limiting a practice, performance of innovative techniques or procedures, or prescribing new medications within their specialty.

Re-entry to practice: Physicians re-enter clinical practice when they have not been engaged in clinical practice (assessing and treating patients) for a period of two consecutive years or more. 


NOTE: If you’re not currently a registrant with the College or a physician holding a Restricted certificate – please send a message via the Portal message centre.