Monday, August 07, 2006

Qualifying foreign professionals.

This opinion piece discusses the problem of qualifying foreign doctors in Canada. I'm of two minds about it. On the one hand, even a doctor from Holland (as the author of the article is) should have to prove that his training qualifies him to practice medicine in Canada. After all, Holland doesn't have the same medical and health laws as Canada, so the training will differ. On the other hand, Canada needs more doctors (as does everywhere), and it's ludicrous to see credentialed individuals working in warehouses rather than in their professional capacities. And this would apply to engineers, accountants, lawyers, etc. as well as physicians. There has to be a balance that can be struck between the two principles.

My suggestion would be this. Find, say, the top twenty countries from which professionals of a given kind (e.g., physicians) are emigrating. I'm sure Immigration has the data. Review the training of these professionals in those twenty countries, and set up "fast-tracked" re-credentialing (perhaps a reduced time in residency, or fewer written tests) for those that seem to be close to Canadian standards. Those from countries that are sufficiently far away from Canadian standards could be required to undergo full training. This seems like a sensible procedure that strikes the balance between requiring accordance to Canadian standards and giving professionals opportunities they should get (also helping Canada's labour shortages).

It would, of course, be quite expensive and would require likely another branch of the federal bureaucracy to administer (and repeat) the process. But, it strikes me that it's at least as expensive to have qualified professionals that Canada needs working at data entry in warehouses rather than hospitals and medical clinics. If we want Canada to benefit, we need to spend money.

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