Harper Government boosts investment to help internationally educated health professionals work in their field

More access to healthcare services for Canadians including in remote communities

News Release
For Immediate Release

March 20, 2015 – Vancouver, BC – Health Canada

Today, the Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced $1.8 million in federal funding to support bringing internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) into the health workforce of Canada’s western and northern regions. Today’s announcement follows an almost $8.4 million commitment announced by Minister Ambrose in Toronto last week to help IEHPs across Canada work in their field.

Across Canada access to health professionals continues to be a challenge, especially in some northern, more remote communities where over half of the population is without a regular family doctor. At the same time, there are around 10,000 newcomers to Canada each year that are health related professionals. Many of these individuals face obstacles in finding jobs that best match their skills and experience.

The investment announced today will help internationally educated health professionals to integrate into the health workforce across western and northern Canada. The funding will help improve how internationally educated nurses’ qualifications and skills are assessed, and support their orientation to the Canadian healthcare system. This initiative will also develop methods to assess soft skills and ensure that internationally educated health professionals’ skills are matched to the right training or job.

Federal funding for internationally educated health professionals compliments the Government of Canada’s wider support for improving foreign credential recognition. This reaffirms a commitment to strengthening the healthcare system by working with provinces, territories and healthcare professionals to improve access to quality care for Canadians and their families.

Quick Facts
International medical graduates make up about 53% of new physicians in rural or remote areas. About 25% of Canada’s physicians received their medical degree outside of Canada.
The Government of Canada is providing $1.8 million under Health Canada’s Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative to the Government of British Columbia for a project to help internationally educated health professionals work in the health sectors of Canada’s western and northern regions. The project will be implemented by the Western and Northern Health Human Resources Planning Forum (WNF) – a collaboration of the four western provinces and the three northern territories.
Since 2005/06, the Government of Canada has invested approximately $18 million a year in the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative (IEHPI) to assist the integration of international health professionals into the Canadian workforce.

“Our Government recognizes the importance of having internationally educated health professionals in the health workforce. With thousands of new Canadians arriving to Canada every year, we want to ensure that we effectively integrate doctors and nurses into the Canadian health workforce. Today’s investment makes better use of the talent that is already in Canada and showcases the steps we’re taking to provide Canadians with increased access to health professionals and quality health care services wherever they live.”
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

“Our Government has been actively working with the provinces and territories to develop approaches to integrate internationally educated health professionals into the health workforce. The Western and Northern Forum project supports the region’s health human resources strategy and is in response to the need for increased integration of internationally educated health professionals.”
Alice Wong
Minister of State for Seniors

Associated Links

Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

Health Canada
Media Relations

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