About DNS

The Doctor's Nova Scotia office

About DNS

Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) is the oldest medical association in Canada. Its membership represents more than 3,500 physicians, including practising and retired physicians, medical students and residents. Doctors Nova Scotia is a division of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).


Our purpose

Helping physicians to thrive and have a positive impact on their patients’ lives, at an individual and system level.

How DNS achieves its purpose

Doctors Nova Scotia (DNS) is the collective voice of physicians in Nova Scotia. On behalf of the province’s doctors, the association is committed to working with all partners in health-care delivery to ensure Nova Scotia is positioned to recruit and retain talented and skilled doctors, introduce new and innovative ways to deliver health care, and to continuously look for ways to improve patient care and access.

To serve our members, DNS:

  • Negotiates physician remuneration with the provincial government
  • Acts as the medical profession’s united voice on health-care issues that affect physicians and their patients to the public, health-care stakeholders and the government
  • Influences and supports the development of health-care policies
  • Offers programs and services to support physicians throughout their career
  • Offers a comprehensive package of member benefits and services

Strategic direction

Doctors Nova Scotia is governed by its Board of Directors, a group of physicians that provides the association with its overall strategic direction.

Doctors Nova Scotia’s 2021–27 Strategic Plan calls on the association to:

  • Connect and engage physicians
  • Advocate on behalf of physicians
  • Serve physicians by providing effective member benefits and services

To represent our members, DNS:

  • Negotiates physician remuneration with the provincial government
  • Acts as the medical profession’s united voice on health-care issues that affect physicians and their patients to the public, health-care stakeholders and the government
  • Influences and supports the development of health-care policies
  • Offers programs and services to support physicians throughout their career
  • Offers a comprehensive package of member benefits and services

Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in health care

Doctors Nova Scotia sits on and operates in Mi’kma’ki and Unama’ki, the traditional and unceded territories of the Mi’kmaq. At DNS, we honour and respect the Indigenous people of this land. We also know that we have much more to learn and to do to embrace the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, especially those related to health care.

Doctors Nova Scotia also acknowledges that African Nova Scotian history goes back more than 400 years. African Nova Scotians have also experienced systemic racism, oppression and colonialization, the consequences of which continue to reverberate today.

Racism against Black and Indigenous people and people of colour is a serious problem in health care, for both patients and providers.  Racism is a public health issue, and people who experience racism report receiving poorer health care and ultimate have poorer health outcomes.

Racism in health care is also experienced by health-care providers, including physicians, who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour. One major concern is that health-care institutions are largely governed by white people, even though health-care systems and practices rely on the labour of health-care providers, support staff and researchers who are Black, Indigenous or people of colour.

Doctors Nova Scotia is committed to addressing health inequities in the province’s health-care system by working with the Indigenous and African Nova Scotian leaders, the medical community, physicians and system partners to disrupt systemic racism, decolonize the health‐care system and improve the health‐care experiences of Black, Indigenous and people of colour in Nova Scotia. We are all Treaty people. This work will continue to evolve, but has already begun with the following:

  • Equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are now a cornerstone of the association’s 2021–27 Strategic Plan. A comprehensive EDI framework has been created to support this work.
  • Doctors Nova Scotia has included equity, diversity and inclusion training for physicians at the association’s last two annual conferences (2020, 2021), as well as facilitating training sessions for Board and staff members.
  • Doctors Nova Scotia members have formed the Section of Physicians for Indigenous Health, a forum where physicians can share knowledge, experience and training in the unique health challenges faced by Indigenous populations, cultural safety issues and the social determinants of health.

Looking for a family doctor?

A common misunderstanding is that Doctors Nova Scotia can help patients find a family doctor. It is not the mandate of Doctors Nova Scotia to connect patients with family doctors. This is the role of the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) and Nova Scotia Health

Individuals and families without a family doctor are encouraged to register with the Need a Family Practice registry or contact the DHW for assistance in finding a family doctor who is accepting new patients.

No disciplinary powers

Doctors Nova Scotia doesn’t have disciplinary powers over doctors. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia is the professional body responsible for licensing doctors and regulating the province’s medical profession.

Employee recommended workplace

Doctors Nova Scotia is the winner of the Employee Recommended Workplace Award in the ‘Small Employers – Not for Profit’ category. This is a national award sponsored by Morneau Shepell and the Globe and Mail that is based entirely on employee feedback. It was announced in October 2020.

CCDI employer partner

Doctors Nova Scotia is an employer partner with the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, which provides a number of benefits that will support the association on its diversity and inclusion journey.

Connect with us

Contact us through our Staff Directory.