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Internationally-educated healthcare professionals most likely to work alongside Canadian counterparts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan

By cvf, 08/24/2023

The Atlantic Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia and the Prairie province of Saskatchewan were the most likely in Canada to have internationally-educated healthcare professionals (IEHP) working in their fields of study after immigrating to Canada, a Statistics Canada report reveals.

“The highest proportion of IEHPs employed in health occupations (in 2021 ) was found in Newfoundland and Labrador at 74 per cent, followed by Nova Scotia at 68 per cent and Saskatchewan at 67 per cent,” notes the report by Statistics Canada’s Kristyn Frank, Jungwee Park, Patrick Cyr, Susan Weston and Feng Hou.

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“Over half of IEHPs in the remaining provinces and just under half of IEHPs residing in the three territories, at 46 per cent, were employed in health occupations.”

Ontario attracts biggest chunk of IEHPs working in Canada

In their report released this week for the statistical and demographic services agency of the federal government, the authors of Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals In Canada: Sociodemographic Characteristics And Occupational Distribution used data from the 2021 census.

That report reveals that Ontario, Canada’s most populous province and a magnet for the biggest number of new permanent residents to the country on a regular basis, had also attracted the lion’s share of internationally-educated healthcare professionals by 2021.

“There were an estimated 259,695 IEHPs aged 18 to 64 residing in Canada in 2021, accounting for 13 per cent of all Canadians in the same age group with postsecondary education in a health field, excluding temporary residents,” not the authors of the report.

“Nearly half of IEHPs resided in Ontario, 116,310, followed by British Columbia with 45,235, Alberta with 42,035, and Quebec with 30,595. The Atlantic region and the three territories had the lowest numbers of IEHPs, ranging from 475 in Prince Edward Island and 605 in the three territories to 3,195 in Nova Scotia.”

These IEHPs working in Canada’s healthcare system were most likely to be nurses.

“About one-third of IEHPs in Canada studied nursing,” notes the report. “Those who trained to be physicians, at 15 per cent, came next, followed by those who studied in the fields of pharmacy at eight per cent and dentistry at eight per cent.”

The importance of immigrants to provincial healthcare systems and their particular fields of study varies greatly by province in Canada. 

In Prince Edward Island, more than half of IEHPs, 53 per cent, in 2021 had studied nursing while Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest proportion of IEHPs who were trained to be physicians at 30 per cent and Ontario had the highest proportions of IEHPs who studied dentistry at 10 per cent or pharmacy at nine per cent.

Internationally-trained healthcare workers in Canada tend to be women

The vast majority of these healthcare professionals, seven in 10, are women and are less than 50 years old. 

“About half of IEHPs immigrated to Canada between the ages of 25 to 34,” notes the report. “Nearly one third of all IEHPs had recently arrived in Canada (between 2016 and 2021).”

Registered nurses who hold a university degree in nursing, registered psychiatric nurses who hold a bachelor’s or post-grad degree in psychiatric nursing, and licensed practical nurses, or registered practical nurses in Ontario, with post-secondary diplomas in nursing, are all welcome in Canada.

The first step for a nurse eyeing Canada as a destination for immigration is to have his or her academic credentials evaluated to see if they are up to Canadians standards.

The Canadian government recognizes five organizations for the assessment of foreign educational credentials:

  • World Education Services (WES);
  • International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS);
  • Comparative Education Service (CES);
  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), and;
  • International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).

Once the educational and background checks have been completed, the next step is for the prospective immigrant to have those nursing credentials recognized in Canada by the National Nursing Assessment Service (NNAS), a step that costs US$650.

The second step in the process for the foreign national looking to immigrate to Canada as a nurse is to create a profile on the NNAS application page.

That requires: 

  • the submission of two pieces of identity that must be notarized, copes of original documents that have been signed, dated and stamped;
  • a completed nursing education form that can be downloaded from the website filled out, and signed before being sent to the school where the nurse was educated for that school’s officials to complete and then send directly to NNAS along with academic records or transcripts, course curriculum and course descriptions and syllabi;
  • submission of the nursing registration form which is to be sent to the nursing licensing authority where the nurse is currently registered in his or her home country;
  • the nursing practice/employment form which must be signed and sent to all employers the nurse has had over the past five years for them to complete and send to NNAS, and;
  • the prospective applicant for immigration’s IELTS language testing results, which must be sent directly to NNAS from an approved language-testing organization or company.

Nurses’ applications must be submitted to provincial association for green light

After that has been done and the documents have been received by NNAS, the nurse can submit his or her application and pick the nursing group and provincial association to which they wish to apply.

These include:

  • British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals and Midwives;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Alberta;
  • Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association;
  • Saskatchewan Association of Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Registered Psychiatric Nurses Association of Saskatchewan;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba;
  • College of Nurses of Ontario;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec;
  • Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers auxiliaires du Québec;
  • Nurses Association of New Brunswick;
  • Association of New Brunswick Licensed Practical Nurses;
  • Nova Scotia College of Nursing;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Prince Edward Island;
  • College of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Northwest Territories, Registrar, Professional Licensing, Health and Social Services;
  • Registered Nurses Association of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut;
  • Government of Nunavut, Department of Health;
  • Yukon Registered Nurses Association, and;
  • Government of Yukon, Yukon Department of Community Services.

Earlier this year, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a Temporary Public Policy to Facilitate the Issuance of Permanent Resident Visas for Physicians Providing Publicly-Funded Medical Services in Canada.

That made it easier for internationally-trained physicians to live and work in Canada as it exempted them from several job offer and work experience criteria under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW). 

There are many programs through which physicians can immigrate to Canada and the country has certainly thrown open wide the doors to immigration.

In addition to the CEC and FSW, physicians can immigrate to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) if they meet particular regional labour market needs and intend to settle in that province or territory. Provinces can recruit candidates from the Express Entry pool or they can nominate individuals under their non-Express Entry paper-based streams.

Across the country, there are PNP streams specifically aimed at helping physicians immigrate to Canada, including:

But before a physician can practice in Canada, he or she needs to have his or her qualifications recognized.

The national organization that sets standards for physicians, including immigrating physicians, is the Ottawa-based Medical Council of Canada (MCC). It does not confer or issue licences to physicians. That responsibility belongs to the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities.

Instead, the MCC’s role is to grant a qualification in medicine known as the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) to medical graduates who:

  • have passed the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I and Part 2, or an acceptable clinical assessment deemed comparable to the MCCQE Part II, and;
  • have satisfactorily completed at least 12 months of acceptable postgraduate training or an acceptable equivalent.

Many foreign-trained physicians begin practicing in Canada with provisional licenses

With an LMCC document in hand, physicians intending to practice in Canada then have to enroll in the Canadian Medical Register to meet the Canadian Standard, a set of academic qualifications that makes an applicant eligible for full licensing in every Canadian province and territory.

Family physicians applying for the first time to become licensed to practise medicine in a Canadian jurisdiction may achieve full licensure only if they meet the following:

  • have a medical degree from a medical school that, at the time the candidate completed the program, was listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools;
  • are a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada;
  • have satisfactorily completed a discipline-appropriate postgraduate training program in allopathic medicine and an evaluation by a recognized authority, and;
  • have achieved certification from the College of Family Physicians of Canada or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or the Collège des médecins du Québec.

That is for full licensure to practice anywhere in Canada. Many foreign-trained doctors start their practices with a provisional license.

In Canada, a foreign-trained physician’s credentials may meet the licensure requirements of one province but not another.

The MCC offers a credential verification service through a website, PhysiciansApply.ca. This is a comprehensive website where medical students and graduates can create an account.

PhysiciansApply.ca provides a wide range of features and services to help medical students and graduates through the process of becoming practicing physicians in Canada.

Some of those features and services include:

  • applying for exams including the MCCQE1 and MCCQE2;
  • medical registration;
  • sharing credentials with medical regulatory authorities and other organizations, and;
  • providing an orientation to the communication and cultural challenges facing physicians new to Canada.

As an International Medical Graduate, the first step for a physician intending to practice in Canada is to see if their medical college will be readily acceptable to the licensing body, the medical college, in each province.

It is the physician’s responsibility to check whether his or her medical school is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools, something that can be done by visiting WDOMS.org.

Once a physician finds his or her college in that online directory, the next step is to check the “Sponsor Note” tab and see if it states “Canada Note”. This means medical degrees obtained from this medical school are acceptable to the provincial and territorial medical regulatory authorities in Canada and therefore acceptable to all medical organizations in Canada.

Are you ready to live and work in Canada? Fill out our free evaluation form to find out if you are eligible.

Become the right candidate with the job you always wanted with our online IELTS and EECP packages at skilledworker.com.


The post Internationally-educated healthcare professionals most likely to work alongside Canadian counterparts in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan appeared first on Canada Immigration and Visa Information. Canadian Immigration Services and Free Online Evaluation..



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