The federal government announced an $86-million investment in health professional accreditation on Monday to address the labour shortage across the country.
“Without intervention, thousands more vacancies will appear and thousands more Canadians will not have access to quality health care,” said Randy Boissonnault, federal employment minister.
“The Foreign Credential Recognition Program is the solution, giving internationally educated health-care professionals accessible pathways to utilize their experience, strengthening the health-care system and boosting the economy.”
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The money will go to organizations across Canada to speed up the process of training and recognizing health-care workers with international credentials.
Boissonnault says that investment will help 6,600 people get jobs in the sector and make a dent in the 90,000 job vacancies across Canada. And $8.3 million of that funding will go toward the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry.
“Many of them don’t need the two to three years. And that’s the hope, is that we can provide this additional training just to fulfill the gaps that they’re missing in about eight months — that’s what we’re targeting,” said Dr. Jim Lai, president of the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry.
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Three universities — Laval, Dalhousie and the University of Alberta — will pilot the program, and afterward, the association hopes to expand it to all dental schools in Canada — including the University of Manitoba.
But Darlene Jackso, president of the Manitoba Nurses Union, adds that workers in all health-care disciplines will need more than just training.
“I think it’s really important that we ensure they’re successful when they get here. So that also means supports in our health-care facilities, ensuring we have mentors, which is really important,” she said.
Monday’s announcement builds on the commitment made by the government of Canada with provinces and territories during the October 2023 health ministers’ meeting to take concrete actions to address challenges facing Canada’s health workforce, including reducing the time it takes for internationally educated health professionals to join the workforce.
— With files from Global’s Katherine Dornian
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