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December 14, 2022

Canada targets healthcare accreditation despite historically high labor shortages (2023)

The overqualification of skilled entrants must be addressed in light of the urgent demand for more healthcare professionals.

In order to support Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals (IEHPs) working in Canada’s healthcare industry, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser issued a request for ideas on December 5, 2022.

The call for project proposals was made at today’s press conference by Minister Fraser on behalf of the honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion. The goal of the project is to make the process of IEHPs acquiring the knowledge, expertise, and local credentials necessary for proper use of their talents.

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The Foreign Credential Acceptance Initiative (FCRP), a federal program that gives money to governments and organizations to facilitate the recognition of foreign credentials in Canada, will handle proposals. Minister Fraser announced a $90 million commitment under the initiative for selected projects.

A project is qualified, according to the announcement, if it can:

IEHPs can overcome barriers to the recognition of their international credentials by improving the recognition procedure, expediting the recognition phases, and increasing access to field practice; or
Give IEHPs the necessary Canadian work experience for their desired sectors of employment while also offering participants support services like childcare and travel expenses, mentorship, and coaching; or
IEHPs and health care professionals should be allowed to move across Canadian jurisdictions more easily in order to reduce the structural and administrative obstacles that stand in the way of their desire to work in another country.

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Additionally, qualifying projects must:

To promote worldwide credential recognition and/or interprovincial labor mobility, develop testing and implementation of credential recognition systems with a focus on decreasing regulatory processes and/or harmonizing occupational requirements;
Offer IEHPs coaching, job placements, and pay subsidies to help them integrate into the Canadian labor market.
The deadline for submissions is January 30, 2023. Successful projects can receive financing ranging from $500,000 to $10 million.

What is Canada doing and why?

A number of sectors in Canada are experiencing unprecedented labor shortages, including seasonal agriculture, retail, tourism, and (most urgently) healthcare.

Minister Fraser made a point of pointing out in his speech that 47% of competent immigrants from other countries with a background in health were either unemployed or working at low wages in non-health fields that just needed a high school diploma. In response, Canada has already taken steps to make it easier for healthcare workers to get permanent residency (PR). Earlier this year, the country declared that doctors with a temporary work permit in Canada would be eligible for economic immigration, despite being self-employed in theory.

Comparing employees with Canadian degrees to those with foreign degrees, immigrants working in Canada were twice as likely to hold a position for which they were overqualified.

Given this pervasive over-qualification, modifications to Canada’s credentialing system will be essential for adequately resolving labor shortages and for maximizing the use of competent talent with foreign training who is already present in the nation.

While this project’s initial focus is on healthcare professionals, it is probable that the federal government will continue to look into accrediting innovations for other industries as more companies identify a skills gap among their workforces.

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