Cross-Canada Virtual Care Licensure Requirements and Best Practices

  • June 28, 2021
  • Louise Sweatman, BScN, RN, MSc, LLB, Director of Health Law Policy and Legal Counsel for the Canadian Medical Association, and Christine Laviolette, BHSc, JD, Senior Associate, BLG,, with special thanks to BLG student Courtney Po for her research assistance

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada saw a significant increase in the provision of virtual care. Although not new, originating as care provided by the telephone, virtual care has evolved to also include video conferencing and secure messaging. With the click of a button, virtual care has allowed Canadians more convenient and faster access to health care providers. However, from a provider’s perspective, access to a patient across Canadian borders does not come with the same ease due to current provincial and territorial licensing requirements.  Although there have been discussions regarding a pan-Canadian license, [1] there is no pan-Canadian approach to licensure for any health provider group allowing practice across the country under one license[2]. This means that physicians and other regulated health professionals must comply with licensing requirements imposed by the regulatory college where they are licensed to practice (“home”) as well as the college of the jurisdiction where a patient receiving virtual care is located (“away”).

In the table below, we have summarized the licensing requirements for physicians practising virtual care across provincial or territorial borders. Below the table you will find tips and best practices for regulated health professionals wishing to practise virtual care across provinces and territories.