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How to Wind Down your Medical Practice in Saskatchewan

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long in advance should I plan my retirement?
    It is never too early to start planning for your retirement. If possible, time it to coincide with when your office lease expires (if applicable). Seek advice regarding financial planning and taxation as soon as you can after you’ve made the decision to retire to ensure that all future actions taken and decisions made are in your best interest and to avoid any surprises. All legal documents should be reviewed regularly over the course of time and especially as circumstances change (e.g., new association or partnership, change of venue, etc.).


  2. What are my obligations to my staff when I retire?
    While the Department of Labor sets out the minimum amount of notice you must provide to your staff, if you can, try to give more notice than you’re legally required to. If a new physician is taking over your practice, you should likely terminate the employment of your staff. Then, if the new physician so chooses, he or she an immediately rehire them. Advise the new physician that employees rehired in this manner will retain their vacation and other employment rights.


  3. What other contractual obligations should I review when I’m planning my retirement?
    There are a number of contractual arrangements you should review in preparation for your retirement, including office and equipment leases, partnership or associate agreements, financial obligations for loans, and shareholder buy/sell agreements.


  4. Who else should be notified of my retirement?
    When you are preparing to retire, be sure to notify colleagues, physicians in your on-call group, nursing homes, hospitals, health regions or authorities, pharmacies, allied health-care providers, the SMA, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan, and the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA).


  5. What are my options for storing patient charts?
    According to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan a physician who stops practising must:
    1. transfer the records to a member with the same address and telephone numbers; or
    2. transfer the records to: 1) another member practising in the same geographic area, 2) the medical records department of a health-care facility, or 3) a secure storage area with a person designated to allow physicians and patients reasonable access to the records, after publication of a newspaper advertisement indicating when the transfer will take place.

  6. Is selling my practice a viable option?
    Selling goodwill in a practice is only a viable option in an over-serviced area where physicians must compete for patients. In most cases, only the tangible assets have value. In setting a purchase price, be sure to explicitly spell out the amount allocated for goodwill and hard assets. All physicians should seek information on the tax implications of selling a practice. Be sure to get professional legal and tax advice before finalizing any sale agreement.


    If you are part of a group practice, you will likely have the option of transferring your patients to the remaining partners. If you are in a solo practice, you could recruit another physician to assume your practice. Physicians should seek out information on all the different avenues available to them for recruiting, including  advertising in the SMA News, posting the opportunity in other medical journals, and contacting the recruiting officers in their health region. If you cannot find a replacement, you can simply close your practice. While there are no repercussions from the College of Physicians and Surgeons, you should – out of courtesy – notify your existing patients that you are winding down your practice. 


  7. What are my obligations if another physician is taking over my practice?
    You should send a letter introducing the new physician to your patients, colleagues, and the local medical community via a letter of introduction. This will ensure a smooth transition between you and the physician taking over your practice.


  8. If I am in group practice, what are the group’s obligations when I retire?
    The group’s obligations will depend on the wording of the agreements you have in place. Seek professional advice in this regard, especially if there are no formal agreements or contracts among members of the group