Rural Practice Programs


rural webpage.jpg


Ministry of Health  

Doctors of BC

  • Are you aware of the benefits of being a rural physician?
  • Have you heard there are incentives and educational opportunities, but don’t know how to access them?
  • Do you have a research idea that you are not sure how to put into motion?
  • Do you know if you are eligible for coverage support from locums?


If you are practicing in a rural community then you may be eligible for the incentives below.

The information on this page is subject to change. For help navigating eligibility of these programs, please contact Rural Programs' Liaison The  full Ministry of Health policy and eligibility requirements for each program can be found by clicking on the program name.

Education Contact Details


contact icons.jpg

About the JSC

The Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) was established under the Rural Subsidiary Agreement (RSA) in 2001. It is comprised of representatives from Doctors of BC, the Ministry of Health, and the health authorities. The JSC advises the BC government and Doctors of BC on matters pertaining to rural medical practice.

The goal of the JSC is to enhance the availability and stability of physician services in rural and remote areas of British Columbia by addressing some of the unique and difficult circumstances faced by physicians.

The Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) supports and develops provincial initiatives by engaging and coordinating with rural healthcare providers to facilitate the development of local and/or regional solutions, frameworks, and networks.

Rural Recruitment Incentives 

Recruitment Incentive Fund (RIF)

  • Incentive amounts ($5,000 - $20,000) are based on Community Designation.
  • For physicians recruited to fill a vacancy that is part of the physician supply plan.

Recruitment Contingency Fund (RCF)

  • Subject to funding availability and pre-approval.
  • Funds for advertising and site visits.
  • Physicians eligible for the RIF may receive the relocation stipend.
  • RCF relocation stipend amount ($9,000-15,000) based on where the physician relocates from (within BC, another province, or outside of Canada).
  • Cap on per-physician funding


contact icons.jpg

Please contact the Medical Staff Recruitment office at

Rural Retention Benefits

Rural Retention Program (RRP)

Flat Fee

  • Quarterly retention payments paid to physicians residing and practicing for at least 9 months of the year in eligible communities.
  • Physicians must bill equal to or greater than $75,000 in the previous calendar year. (Billing threshold changed to $65K/year during 2020 calendar year due to COVID19).
  • ROS/PRA-BC exempt from 9-month eligibility requirements.

Fee Premium

  • Retention payments paid to physicians practicing in eligible communities.
  • Automatically paid as long as the Service Clarification Code of the community where the service is provided is on the Medical Services Plan (MSP) claim.
  • A physician in an eligible RSA community who is funded by an alternative payment arrangement will receive a retention payment, equivalent to the Fee-For-Service (FFS) premium.

Isolation Allowance Fund (IAF)

  • Additional funding for physicians providing necessary medical services in eligible communities with fewer than 4 physicians, no hospital, and no existing MOCAP/DOD funding.
  • Physicians must reside at least 9 months of the year in the eligible community.


contact icons.jpg

Please contact Rural Programs’ Liaison,

Rural Education 


RCME Individual Funds (RCME)

  • Up to $7800 per year for Rural Continuing Medical Education, depending on community isolation and duration of practice.
  • Quarterly payments are available to physicians residing and practicing for at least 9 months of the year in eligible communities.
  • Funding is received by direct deposit and can be used for events with registration fees, such as conferences.




RCME Community Program (RCME)

  • Visit Island Health's Rural Community CME Funding Page
  • Funding to support in-community Rural Continuing Medical Education opportunities decided upon by the community of physicians to share with their inter-professional colleagues.
  • Funding amounts allocated on the basis of community designation and amount of GPs and specialists within the community. This is determined by the Annual Physician Count.

contact icons.jpg

Please contact RCME Liaison,, Bianca Desilva


Rural Physicians can find information on other available education opportunities here. These include Island Health events as well as external partner events.


Isolation Travel Assistance 

Northern & Isolation Travel Assistance Outreach Program (NITAOP)

  • Funding for approved physicians who visit eligible communities to provide medical services.
  • Island Health identifies rural and isolated communities requiring the service where the service is not available.
  • No specific physician policy requirements.
  • NITAOP Claim form -  Application Form
  • Upload NITAOP Claim form to the MoH - Submit NITAOP Application form

contact icons.jpg

Please contact Rural Programs’ Liaison,

Rural Emergency Enhancement 

Rural Emergency Enhancement Fund (REEF)

  • Funding for eligible rural emergency departments to support fee-for-service (FFS) physicians and alternative payment program (APP) where ‘Full scope community contracted General Practice physicians provide services that include coverage of the ER’. 
  • Open to any Island Health designated ER in eligible communities.
  • Cap on per-physician funding.


contact icons.jpg

Please contact REEF Coordinator, 

Rural Locums Opportunities

Are you a general practitioner or specialist who is interested in working as a locum in rural BC?

Are you a physician in a rural community and would like to enquire about locum support?

Locums for Rural BC administers the Rural GP Locum Program (RGPLP), the Rural GP Anesthesia Locum Program (RGPALP), and the Rural Specialist Locum Program (RSLP) on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC.


contact icons.jpg

Please contact Locums for Rural BC

Opportunity to Supervise Rural Physicians 

Supervisors of Provisionally Licensed Physicians (SPLP)

Funding for eligible supervising physicians who spend a significant amount of time assessing the knowledge, competencies, and clinical skills of rural physicians who have provisional licenses.


contact icons.jpg

Please contact Melissa Allen at

Assistance for Offering MAiD in Rural Communities 

Medical Assistance in Dying Travel and Training Assistance Program  (MAiDTTAP)

Provides funding (physician travel expenses, travel time honorariums, and physician mentorship training payments) for conducting an eligibility assessment or providing MAiD to eligible communities when no local medical practitioner (physician or nurse practitioner) is available.


contact icons.jpg

Please contact Rural Programs’ Liaison,

RCCbc Initiatives 
RTVS Pathways for Healthcare Providers.

For the full listing of RCCbc initiatives, please visit the Rural Coordination Centre of BC.

Rural Research Opportunities 

Do you have a research or quality improvement project or an idea but don't know where to start or need some assistance getting it off the ground? We can help you navigate the process, including:

  • Refining ideas at the conception of a project.
  • Planning your research or QI project.
  • Support with finding funding opportunities, building your budget, and submitting grants.
  • Building your team: we can help connect you as needed with community organizations, academic researchers, students/research assistants, and resources to support meaningful engagement of patients and/or family members in the project.
  • Navigating the research ethics process and preparing ethics submissions.
  • Conducting analysis.
  • Knowledge translation – moving evidence into practice.
  • Just about anything else you need!

We are based out of the Comox Valley Hospital and serve all rural physicians in the Island Health region.

contact icons.jpg

Please contact Robyn Ellsworth as Administrative Assistant - Rural Research | 
and Alison James as Research Associate – Rural Research |
or Visit the Island Health Research Page.


Taking a Leave?

The Society of Rural Physicians of Canada


This webpage is under construction as part of a new initiative for Rural Physician Support. We welcome your feedback and thank you for visiting this page. Please contact with questions and suggestions.