Provincial locum program (2023)

Provincial locum program (2023)

The Physician Agreement funds a provincial locum program, administered by the Department of Health and Wellness through MSI, with specific program guidelines and payment rates for general practitioners and specialists. Specific eligibility criteria and some restrictions apply.

The 2023 contract offers enhancements to the existing locum program to support timely access to locum resources. New investments include a significant increase in rates, better coverage for travel expenses and support for licensing fees. Perhaps most importantly, the locum program will now be available to family physicians working in Zone 4 – Central.

The daily income guarantee for family physicians will increase from $800/day to $1,200/day. Rural specialists will see improved locum payments, with a guaranteed daily minimum income of $1,600/day, up from $1,200/day.

The contract also includes a commitment to review the following in the coming months:

  1. Application of locum program for practices implementing advanced access and parental and other leaves.
  2. General review and updating of the program guidelines to align with the above changes, including access to comprehensive medicine incentives.
  3. The Physician Agreement Management Group will also explore the benefits and risks of establishing a pool of locum family physicians in the future.

This enhanced program can be accessed only with NSHA support and provides additional funding for hard-to-recruit areas and specialties.

Program details

Under this program, physicians are contracted to provide locum services for:

  • a set period of time
  • a minimum payment guarantee
  • a per diem payment
  • some travel expenses
  • office overhead (if applicable)

Locum applications

Physicians can apply for a locum for:

  • a scheduled vacation leave
  • CME
  • maternity leave
  • medical leave
  • unplanned leave due to illness

Eligibility criteria and guidelines

Specific eligibility criteria, guidelines, application forms and claim forms can be found on the MSI Locum Registration webpage.

Travel within Nova Scotia

In the 2023 contract, when a N.S. physician is asked by a health authority to travel to another hospital in the province more than one hour away, the physician will have their expenses reimbursed. See rates in table below.

Funding rates for Provincial Locum Program 

(Effective July 24, 2023)

  GP Specialist Psychiatrists
Income guarantee



District Psychiatry Program hourly rate
Travel requested by a health authority
Per diem $100/day $100/day $100/day
Accommodations 100% to a maximum of $300/night 100% to a maximum of $300/night 100% to a maximum of $300/night
Airfare 100% at regular economy rate to a maximum of $1,500 100% at regular economy rate to a maximum of $1,500 100% at regular economy rate to a maximum of $1,500
Mileage in N.S. Provincial government rate
Travel time $100/hour to maximum of 10 hours return (5 hours each way)/week

In addition to the rates above, the following also apply:

  • Licensing: College licensing fees will be paid for out-of-province locum physicians. For Atlantic physicians, the cost of the Atlantic registry will be paid; for other out-of-province physicians, the cost of a locum license will be paid.
  • Overhead: Paid at $250 per day.
  • Call stipend: Paid on top of other payments when locum physician is covering call.
  • Minimum income guarantee: If the locum physician shadow bills above the minimum daily rate, the excess is paid to the locum physician at 100%. (No payment for services delivered after-hours, unless billings exceed the daily guarantee.

The locum program eligibility has been extended to family physicians in Zone 4 – Central.

Emergency medicine, hospitalists, primary maternity care, and other hourly or sessionally paid physicians are entitled to all aspects of the locum program except the daily income guarantee, as they will be paid based on the hourly or sessional rate applicable to the work.


MSI locum coordinator
Medavie Blue Cross
Fax: 902-496-3060 or toll-free 1-855-350-3060

Next steps