Northern Health Programs

Northern Physician Retention Initiative (NPRI)


The deadline for submitting an Application for the Northern Physician Retention Initiative is March 31, 2018.  Any Application received or post-dated after March 31 will be denied.

The Northern Physician Retention Initiative (NPRI) was established as an initiative under the 2000 Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Framework Agreement to enable eligible physicians in northern Ontario to receive the equivalent of a $7,000 retention incentive paid at the end of each fiscal year in which they continue to practice full-time in northern Ontario. 

The NPRI is targeted to general/family practitioners and specialists who continue to practice full-time in northern Ontario. Northern Ontario is defined as the Districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Muskoka, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming.

Objective of the Program

The purpose of the NPRI is to support recruitment and retention of physicians in northern Ontario and to encourage physicians to maintain active hospital privileges.

Who is Eligible

Eligibility for the NPRI is determined annually for fiscal years ending March 31, based upon the submission of a complete application package.

To be eligible for NPRI, the physician must:

  1. At the time of application, have completed a minimum of four years of continuous full-time practice in northern Ontario and must continue to provide full-time practice in northern Ontario until the end of the current fiscal year;
  2. Maintain a full-time fee-for-service practice, work full-time in a Community Health Centre (CHC) or approved alternate payment plan arrangement, or work full-time as a hospitalist;
  3. Hold a valid certificate of registration to practice medicine in Ontario from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario;
  4. Hold a certificate from The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in a speciality (if applicable);
  5. Hold an OHIP billing number and have billing privileges; and
  6. Hold current active hospital staff privileges
    OR
    Have been in practice in Ontario for more than 25 years, during which time he or she held active hospital privileges; maintain another recognized medical staff category in the hospital; continue to maintain a full-time community practice; and fulfill all of the other requirements of the NPRI.

Exceptions for Eligibility

Physicians who practice in communities where there is no hospital, but who meet all of the NPRI criteria except number 6 are eligible to receive the NPRI incentive.

Physicians who are receiving funding through the Northern Health Programs' Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative, are not eligible to receive the NPRI retention incentive.

Timing for Payment

The Northern Physician Retention Incentive will be paid at the end of each Fiscal Year through the OHIP claims payment system.

How to Apply for the NPRI Initiative Funding


The deadline for submitting an Application is March 31, 2018. Any Application received or post-dated after March 31 will be denied.

To apply for the Northern Physician Retention Initiative, the physician must submit the following documents and information:

  1. A completed, signed and dated Application for the NPRI grant.
  2. Proof of active hospital privileges at a hospital located in the community, or if there is no hospital in the community, in an adjacent area (as required by the community).

Approval Process

  1. The physician submits to Northern Health Programs (NHP) a completed Application and a letter from a hospital official confirming proof of active hospital privileges at a hospital located in the eligible community where the applicant is a member of a primary care model if a family physician, and practise full-time, or if there is no hospital in the eligible community, in an adjacent area as required by the community.
  2. The Application is reviewed for eligibility.
  3. If NHP approves the Application, an approval letter is sent to the physician.
  4. If the physician does not meet program criteria, a letter is sent to the physician advising him/her of the reason for the denial.
  5. NHP will pay the NPRI funding in a lump sum payment through the OHIP claims payment system by the end of the first quarter of the following fiscal year.

General Information

The NPRI funding year is aligned with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s fiscal year, i.e. April 1 to March 31.

NPRI funding is subject to the physician meeting eligibility criteria, and subject to the consent of all parties concerned.

It takes approximately eight to twelve weeks to process an application, once a physician has provided all the required information. Physicians who are interested in the program are encouraged to provide as much lead-time as possible to ensure appropriate review/processing time.

For more information, you may contact the program by telephone at (705) 564-7280, or 1-866-727-9959, via fax at (705) 564-7493, via email at NPRI@Ontario.ca">NPRI@Ontario.ca or write to:

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Primary Health Care Branch
Northern Health Programs
159 Cedar Street, Suite 402
Sudbury ON P3E 6A5


Appendix A – Northern Physician Retention Initiative (NPRI) Questions and Answers

What are the eligibility criteria for NPRI?  Have the criteria changed since last fiscal year?

Criteria have not changed since last fiscal year and are outlined below.

To be eligible for NPRI, the physician must :

  1. At the time of application, have completed a minimum of four years of continuous full-time practice in northern Ontario and must continue to provide full-time practice in northern Ontario until the end of the current fiscal year;
  2. Maintain a full-time fee-for-service practice, work full-time in a Community Health Centre (CHC) or approved alternate payment plan arrangement, or work full-time as a hospitalist;
  3. Hold a valid certificate of registration to practice medicine in Ontario from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario;
  4. Hold a certificate from The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in a speciality (if applicable);
  5. Hold an OHIP billing number and have billing privileges; and
  6. Hold current active hospital staff privileges,
    OR 
    Have been in practice in Ontario for more than 25 years, during which time he or she held active hospital privileges; maintain another recognized medical staff category in the hospital; continue to maintain a full-time community practice; and fulfill all of the other requirements of the NPRI.

Where can I get an Application form for the Northern Physician Retention Initiative?

The NPRI Application form is available online. The online Application allows you to enter your information electronically. However, you must remember to print and sign your form once all the relevant information has been entered. Applications are not considered complete without the physician's signature and date on the Declaration and Consent page of the Application.

Where should I send my completed Application for the current fiscal year?

Physicians can forward their completed NPRI Applications to :

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Primary Health Care Branch
Northern Health Programs
402 – 159 Cedar Street
Sudbury ON P3E 6A5

Completed Applications can also be faxed to (705) 564-7493 or sent via email to NPRI@Ontario.ca. It is the physician’s responsibility to ensure successful transmission of the Application.

Physicians who send their Application by fax are encouraged to keep the original for their records once the Application has been successfully transmitted.  It is not necessary to submit the original Application if it has already been faxed to Program staff.

What is the submission deadline for the NPRI Application form?

The submission deadline for all NPRI Applications is March 31 of each year. Applications received or post-marked after March 31 will be denied.

Will my Application be accepted and processed if it is mailed after March 31?

No.  The deadline for submitting your NPRI Application is March 31 and any Applications which are faxed, emailed or post-marked after March 31 will not be accepted.

Do I have to let you know if I move or re-locate my practice?

Yes. As soon as the physician is aware of a change in address or practice location, it is the responsibility of the physician to advise NHP immediately.

How does the Program define northern Ontario?

For the current funding year, we continue to define northern Ontario as the Districts of Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Muskoka, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timiskaming.

Are the Muskoka District physicians still permitted to apply?  Is this District still eligible for NPRI?

Yes. Although the District of Muskoka was removed from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's definition of Northern Ontario effective January 1, 2005, physicians who practised in this district and who meet all of the NPRI eligibility criteria are still entitled to receive the NPRI funding for the current fiscal year.

What is an "approved APP"?

Physicians who have signed most ministry-approved alternate payment plans (APPs) in the north, including Community Health Centres (CHC), and who meet all the other program eligibility criteria, will be eligible for the $7,000 incentive payment.

Will my Incentive Grant or Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative (NRRRI) from the Northern Health Programs affect my eligibility for NPRI?

Yes. Physicians cannot receive the NRRRI and NPRI funding for the same fiscal year.

What do you mean by fiscal year and what happens if I leave/move during the fiscal year?

The fiscal year for NPRI is aligned with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, i.e. April 1 to March 31. 

Physicians who leave northern Ontario prior to the end of the NPRI fiscal year they are applying for will not receive the NPRI incentive for that year. The Program does not prorate the funding for the time physicians practice in northern Ontario.

If approved for NPRI, what am I entitled to receive?

Physicians who meet all of the eligibility criteria and who are approved for NPRI will receive an incentive payment of $7,000.

When and how will I receive my NPRI payment for the current fiscal year?

Eligibility for NPRI will be communicated to physicians upon review of their NPRI Application for the current fiscal year. Payments will be processed and paid through the OHIP claims payment system by the end of the first quarter of the following fiscal year.

Is the NPRI funding taxable?

Yes. Physicians should direct any questions regarding tax implications to their accountant.

Will I be eligible to receive NPRI funding if I take a maternity/parental leave within the current fiscal year?

Yes, provided the maternity/parental leave does not exceed the allowable 17 weeks under the OMA Agreement and does not carry over from one fiscal year to the next.  Physicians will need to indicate on the Application form the start and end dates of any maternity/parental leaves taken within the current fiscal year.

For More Information

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Primary Health Care Team
Northern Health Programs
402 - 159 Cedar Street
Sudbury ON P3E 6A5
(705) 564-7280
Toll free 1-866-727-9959
Fax (705) 564-7493