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The Canadian government is helping 6,600 internationally educated health professionals work in Canada.

On January 15, 2024, Canada’s Minister of Employment, Randy Boissonnault, announced up to $86 million in funding to improve credential recognition.

The funds will go to 15 organizations across the country to increase capacity for foreign credential recognition of about 6,600 internationally educated health professionals. Funding will go directly to key occupations like nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, laboratory technicians and respiratory therapy.

“The Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry is thrilled to receive this support from the federal government to fund the development and testing of a new program to speed the qualification and licensing of dentists trained elsewhere in the world so they can practice in Canada,” Jim Lai, President of Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry, said in a media release.

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Canada is grappling with labour shortages and the demand for qualified health workers is only growing. Canada’s health care sector saw a total of 90,000 unfilled positions in health occupations in the second quarter of 2023.

The move to speed up credential recognition is an effort to fill these labour shortages, and address issues like long wait times and difficulty finding a family physician.

In addition, this investment will support immigrants to work in their field in Canada, and receive proper recognition for their international credentials. Internationally trained midwives, for example will be able to take their exams virtually even before arriving in Canada.

Newcomers often arrive to Canada highly educated. Half of newcomers have a bachelor’s degree or greater, but even with educational achievements, skilled newcomers in all sectors face higher unemployment rates than people born in Canada. They are also less likely to work in regulated occupations for which they have studied.

With immigration expected to reach record-high levels of 500,000 by 2025, it is crucially important to increase supports to skilled newcomers so that they can fully use their skills and integrate into the Canadian labour force.

“Honouring the professional credentials of newcomers is a compassionate and effective component of expanding Canada’s workforce,” said Minister Boissonault in the release. “The Foreign Credentials Recognition speeds up the accreditation for 6,600 people, and is not only the right thing to do, but one of the best ways we can fill labour gaps, strengthen our healthcare system and grow our economy.”

What will funding for internationally educated health professionals do?

The 15 funded projects across Canada will:

  • Simplifying steps in credential recognition and offer increased access to practice in the field
  • Provide internationally trained health professionals with relevant Canadian work experience in their intended fields, while incorporating supports such as childcare, transportation, mentoring, and coaching.
  • Support labour mobility between jurisdictions in Canada for health professionals to reduce barriers for health professionals who wish to work in another area in Canada.

These initiatives build on the commitments made during the October 2023 Health Ministers’ Meeting to address challenges facing Canada’s health workforce.  Among these commitments was to reduce the time it takes for internationally trained healthcare professionals to join the health workforce.

This funding complements other investments from the Government of Canada to support newcomers so they can participate in Canadian society to their full potential. For example, through the Settlement Program managed by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, the Government of Canada funds services that help newcomers settle and adapt to life in Canada, including employment-related services and support with foreign credential recognition.

Funding for improvements to Canada’s health workforce

Canada’s Budget 2022 promised an additional $115 million over five years starting in 2022-2023 and $30 million ongoing for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program in addition to its base funding of $27.3 million per year.

Budget 2023 outlined Canada’s plan to invest more than $200 billion over ten years to improve health care for Canadians. This funding includes $46.2 billion in funding for provinces and territories to support the health workforce.

“This federal funding supports our government’s work with provinces, territories, and stakeholders to have more health care workers enter Canada’s workforce and to streamline that process,” said Canada’s minister of health, Mark Holland. “Together, this will improve our health care system so Canadians can get the care they need and deserve.”

If you’re interested in moving to Canada but not sure which program you may be eligible for, check your eligibility for more than 20 Canadian immigration programs by taking 鶹ӳý’s free Canada Immigration Quiz.

About the author

Shelby Thevenot

Shelby Thevenot

They/Them
Canadian Immigration Writer
Shelby is a journalist, freelance writer, and expert news analyst with more than five years of experience in writing about Canadian immigration.
Read more about Shelby Thevenot
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