International medical graduates

International medical graduates (IMGs) can apply for licensure in the provisional class, clinical observer class, assessment class or associate physician class.

These licensure classes are for physicians or surgeons who obtained their medical degree outside of Canada that is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. A Canadian sponsor note is required.

Associate physician licence

The associate physician class is a restricted licensure that permits a physician, with medical training acceptable to the College and who is not eligible for any other class of registration, to practise under supervision in accredited structured team-based care.

Associate physicians practise under the direction and supervision of attending physicians in acute care and community primary care settings. The employment opportunity is through an accredited associate physician program that is reviewed by the College.

Eligible practitioners must be put forward to the College by Health Match BC for potential employment by a health authority in an accredited associate physician program to initiate the application for registration process.

Health authorities looking to employ the associate physicians are required to obtain program accreditation from the College.

How to apply

The College recommends prospective applicants to complete the pre-screening assessment through Health Match BC.

In your email to Health Match BC

  • Outline your interest in employment opportunities
  • Include a recent CV

Health Match BC will work with eligible candidates to:

  • apply for open positions as they are made available
  • assist successful applicants with submission of a registration package to the College.

Health Match BC will forward the application documentation to the College for preliminary assessment.

The application documentation must include a job description of an accredited associate physician program.

Applicant files are reviewed by the executive director of the registration department to determine initial eligibility for registration and licensure in the associate physician – specialty or associate physician – community primary care classes.

Applicants will receive a letter six to eight weeks after the College receives the application documentation from Health Match BC.

The applicant must fulfill pre-registration requirements outlined in the letter, including providing either a sponsorship letter or a contract of supervision that confirms employment and program accreditation.

The file manager will email an application package to the applicant.

The applicant submits to the College a completed application along with required documentation.

This step can take a minimum of six to eight weeks. The file manager will review the completed application to ensure that no additional follow-up is required.

If no additional follow-up is required, the file manager will submit the candidate file for a final review and approval.

A licence is issued once the file is approved.

Registration and licensure in the associate physician class is contingent on the following:

  • submission of a complete application for registration package
  • submission of written documentation confirming that the employment position offered to the associate physician applicant is in a health authority associate physician program that has been accredited by the College
  • sponsorship letter from the health authority that confirms employment for the applicant in the accredited associate physician program
  • compliance with the requirements for registration and licensure under the Health Professions Act and related Bylaws
  • the health authority obtains/maintains program accreditation

Licence scope and conditions

Associate physicians are not licensed for independent practice and must not act in the capacity as the most responsible physician.

Associate physicians are only allowed to practise medicine in the provision of services in connection with fulfilling the terms set out in their sponsorship letter from a health authority.

Registration in the associate physician – acute care class permits a registrant to practise in acute care settings within the scope of their education, qualifications, and experience.

Associate physicians must:

  • have a medical degree from a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools which includes a Canadian sponsor note
  • have completed a minimum of two years’ accredited training as a medical or surgical specialist prior to applying for registration
    • The training must meet the qualification required to perform clinical work for which the health authority is hiring the associate physician.
    • The training must be from an accredited program from any country, verified to the satisfaction of the College.
  • must meet the College’s English language proficiency requirements
  • have Canadian citizenship, be a permanent resident or be legally able to live and work in British Columbia

Looking to practise in community primary care?

Associate physicians must be current for practice at the time of registration with the College.

Clinical currency is defined as working at least 24 weeks in the preceding three years to the satisfaction of the College. There is no avenue to regain clinical currency in British Columbia prior to applying for an associate physician employment opportunity with a health authority.

Ongoing registration and licensure in the associate physician class is maintained by

  • satisfactory completion of the annual licence renewal form
  • online payment of the annual licence renewal fee as detailed in Schedule A of the College Bylaws
  • payment of any other outstanding fine, fee, penalty fee, debt, levy or costs owed to the College
  • ongoing professional liability coverage or protection
  • provision of certificates of professional conduct, where applicable
  • ongoing compliance with the associate physician program accreditation standards

Registrants must complete the annual licensure process by March 1 to avoid a $500 penalty.

Failure to complete the annual licensure process will also result in the suspension of a registrant’s licence on April 1. The licence will be reinstated when the annual licence renewal form is completed to the satisfaction of the College, and online payment of all outstanding fees and penalties are made.

Associate physician registration and licensure is cancelled if

  • the registrant ceases to engage in the practice of medicine in accordance with the terms outlined through the program accreditation,
  • the health authority or program withdraws sponsorship,
  • the registrant’s supervision is withdrawn because of competency concerns,
  • the registrant’s supervision is withdrawn for reasons other than competency concerns and an alternative supervisor is not identified within seven days, 
  • the Registration Committee determines that the registrant has failed to meet their registration and licensure requirements, in which case the registrant will not be permitted to reapply for associate physician registration, or
  • the program in which the associate physician works in loses its accreditation or there is a substantive change to the program of associate physicians’ job description.
Health authorities are required to obtain program accreditation from the College.