How to Obtain Your Independent Practice License in Ontario

Courtney Marie L.
Mar. 24, 2019
9-minute read

If you’re new in Ontario, or you’ve just completed your residency, you have to apply for your independent practice license before you can start to practise.

The independent practice license is a 5-digit number that registers you with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). Having this license is what officially authorizes you to practice unsupervised medicine in Ontario. It’s what allows you to diagnose and treat patients, order investigations, obtain and write prescriptions and essentially practice medicine.

Typically, it’s best to apply at least 3 months before you start working in order to make sure you receive your license in time. For example, for a July 1st start date submit your application on May 6th.

Non-negotiable Requirements

In order to legally practice medicine in Ontario there are certain requirements that every physician must meet:

  • A medical degree from an accredited Canadian or US medical school (or from an acceptable international medical school).
  • Successful completion of Parts 1 and 2 of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) or an acceptable alternative examination.
  • Certification by examination by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).
  • Completion of one year of postgraduate training or active medical practice in Canada, or completion of a full clinical clerkship at an accredited Canadian medical school.
  • Canadian Citizenship or permanent resident status.

While most university programs usually help you with the application process, many doctors (especially those switching between provinces) find it complicated.

Therefore, if you’d like to double check you’ll got all your ducks in a row, make sure you’ve completed ALL the steps below (in the order that they appear) to successfully submit your independent practice license.

How to Apply in 3 Easy Steps

1. Create a Physicians Apply Account  

The first step is to create an account with physiciansapply. All you need to do is register with them and make sure you add your personal contact information. Nothing else is needed at this point.

Expected Fees:

Physicians Apply Account fee $290

*This is a one-time non-refundable fee for setting up your physiciansapply account. You can pay this fee when you first create your account or when you submit an application for your medical registration (see step 3).

If you haven’t heard of ‘Physicians Apply’ before, it’s the only online portal used across Canada to apply for an independent practice license. It gives you a secure, web-based process for applying. Although the application process differs between each province, it’s where you will eventually need to upload all of your credentials, certificated and documents. Physicians apply will then verify those credentials and medical degree and send that information to the CPSO.

2. Request Access

Once you have an account created, you’ll need to email the CPSO and request access to the application. Included in your ‘request’ email you will be to attach the

review of qualifications’
form along with an updated CV.

You can request access by emailing

Expect to wait around 3 business days before hearing back from someone. During this time they will review your request and determine if you’re eligible to apply.

If you are eligible, you’ll receive an email from the College granting you access to the online application (the application will show up in your physiciansapply account). The email will include more details about timelines, fees and supporting documents.

Important Reminder: In order to receive an invitation you need to have a physiciansapply account and you need to have at least 1 document uploaded (so that the CPSO can view your account information and add the application).

3. Apply

Once you receive your acceptance email, go ahead and complete the online application in physiciansapply.

In order to complete the application be prepared to upload the following documents:

  • Complete the online orientation (instructions will be given in the email)
  • Medical Education Proof
  • 3 Notarized ID documents (passport, driver’s licence, medical degree)
  • An updated CV
  • Three reference letters (one has to be from your site director)
  • Copy of your medical degree

Expected Fees:

1. Application fee for Medical Registration (AMR) $205

This charge is per application submission. This fee covers the administration of your application, the maintenance and improvements to the AMR with the cooperation of all Canadian Medical Regulatory Authorities.

2. Application fee for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) $1,035

Upon Your Acceptance

Once you get approval you’ll receive an acceptance email detailing licensure fees and how you can make payments. Approval can take anywhere from 4-7 weeks.

Therefore, the last fee that you’ll need to pay is the expedited fee to the CPSO which is $517.50.

Total Costs of Applying for Your Ontario Independent Practice License

Here’s the breakdown of how much it will roughly cost to apply for your independent practice license in Ontario.

Physicians Apply Account fee: $290

Application for Medical Registration (AMR) fee: $250

The CPSO Application fee: $1,035

The CPSO Expedited fee: $517.50

Grand Total: $2092.50

You’ve Received your Independent Practice License…Now What???

Once you’re licensed with the CPSO, you should apply for medical liability protection. This is a mandatory requirement of Ontario and must be completed prior to granting clinical privileges.

You can get medical insurance by joining the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). They offer various membership options and are the most commonly used medical insurance in Canada. While it is possible to get insurance from a private medical insurance company, this will likely take much longer and cost much more.

How to Get Medical Liability Protection through the CMPA

In order to get medical liability protection through CMPA you need to request membership by completing and submitting a Membership Application.

You can complete the online application here: Begin Application

You can also
print the application and send it by fax (613-725-1300) or send it by email to

FYI: Upon receiving your application you will need to provide:

  • Licensing/Registration number and effective date if available
  • Banking information from a Canadian bank account (cannot be a line of credit or a credit card).
  • Addresses, telephone and fax numbers at work and home in Canada (if applicable)
  • Details of training program or short description of type of work (if applicable)
  • Information on past insurers or organization including periods covered/protected (if applicable)
  • Details of past medical-legal outcomes (if applicable
  • MINC (Medical Identification Number of Canada)

Expected Costs

Costs depend on your specialty and the scope of work you’ll be doing. However, when you’re transitioning from a postgraduate training program to practice, you can pay the CMPA membership fee for the first 6 months of full practice in 2 instillments as described in the Transitioning to Practice payment option.

TIP: Check if your Speciality qualifies for the Medical Liability Protection Reimbursement Program.If so, contact the ministry of health at 1-888-805-9877 or email them at: for more information on how to apply.

Next Step…

Once you’ve got your independent practice license and you’ve got medical liability protection, you’re read to apply for your OHIP billing number. This is the unique number that will be submitted on each claim you send to OHIP. It tells them who the claim is coming from, and where.

Register for an OHIP Number

Looking to maximize your earnings?

New to Ontario Billing?

Check out our Ultimate OHIP Billing Guide that takes you through every step for billing successfully in Ontario.

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.

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Courtney Marie L
Writer and editor with a demonstrated history of working in the Canadian healthcare sector and the publishing industry. Skilled in writing, editing, proofreading, Spanish to English translation, and teaching English as a second language. Strong communications professional with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Science from the University of Manitoba.
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