< Back to Health Workforce

About midwives

Midwives are regulated health professionals who offer comprehensive care to women and their babies during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period.

Midwives practise in homes, the community, hospitals, clinics, birth centres and health units. Midwives offer a choice of place of birth and, in most provinces, have hospital privileges.

Data availability

CIHI’s Health Workforce Database (HWDB) collects aggregate-level, standardized data on the regulatory environment, supply, and demographic and education characteristics of midwives in Canada.

Reports and analyses

Regulatory environment

As of 2017, midwives are regulated in all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island. Midwives are regulated in all territories except Yukon.

Practice criteria

To practise as a midwife in Canada, an individual must obtain a licence from one of the midwifery regulatory authorities in Canada. The requirements to obtain a licence are similar across the country but can vary slightly from one jurisdiction to another.

Common requirements

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in midwifery from an accredited program
  • Pass the Canadian Midwifery Registration Examination (applicable in most provinces)
  • Register with a provincial/territorial regulatory body as required 

Scope of practice

The scope of practice for midwives is articulated in provincial/territorial regulatory legislation, which outlines the range of responsibilities that define the boundaries of professional practice.

Midwives provide care to women and their infants from early pregnancy through to at least 6 weeks postpartum. This care includesi

  • Promoting wellness in women, babies and families and having a respect for pregnancy and childbirth as normal physiological processes
  • Encouraging informed decision-making by providing women with complete, relevant and objective information in a non-authoritarian manner
  • Being fully responsible for providing primary health services within their scope of practice (normal birth without complications)
  • Detecting and identifying conditions requiring care that are outside of their scope of practice, and making referrals and collaborating with other health care professionals while continuing to provide supportive care
  • Providing continuity of care to clients throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and up to at least 6 weeks postpartum
  • Being competent and willing to provide care in a variety of settings, including homes, birth centres and hospitals

i. Canadian Midwife Regulatory Council. Canadian Competencies for Midwives. 2008