QUEEN'S PARK —Scarborough Southwest MPP Doly Begum, the NDP's critic for Citizenship, Foreign Credentials and Immigration, re-introduced her plan to address barriers faced by internationally trained workers — especially nurses, doctors and other health care workers needed and wanted in Ontario. As this bill goes into second reading debate this evening, Begum implores the government to finally take action on this issue.
She was joined by co-sponsoring NDP MPPs Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), Terence Kernaghan (London North Centre) and Tom Rakocevic (Humber River – Black Creek) in a press conference at Queen’s Park to present the bill and share the stories from people across Ontario who have told Begum what this bill means to them.
“Families across Ontario need more doctors and nurses. They are going without care because of a shortage of health care professionals when we have fully trained doctors and nurses who are caught up in a broken international credential system in Ontario,” said Begum.
“Consecutive Liberal and Conservative governments had decades to fix this, or even take steps towards addressing these barriers. But they let everyone down. New Democrats know that as we work towards a health care recovery, we need to help the qualified health care professionals that are sitting and waiting to get to work in Ontario’s hospitals and clinics.”
In Ontario today, for people with the right university degrees, relevant work experience, training and professional credentials, being certified in Ontario can take many years. Begum's private member's bill, Fairness for Ontario's Internationally Trained Workers Act will fix the international credentials system in Ontario, so people can get to work in their field quicker.
"After more than two years of this pandemic, doctors and nurses are facing burn out. They need relief and patients need care. By fixing the international credentials system we can fill the health worker shortage and provide people with the care they need now,” said Begum. “The Ford government has our bill in their hands now. We have a solution – they simply need to say yes. Nobody is looking for a short cut, they are looking for a pathway.”
The NDP’s detailed plan will be developed in consultation with internationally trained professionals, regulatory bodies, professional associations, settlement organizations and employment organizations.
Begum’s bill goes to second reading and debate on Thursday at 6 p.m. It can be watched here live: https://www.ola.org/en/legislative-business/video
The NDP’s bill includes the following:
• Compels the Ministry of Labour to establish an advisory Committee for Employment access, fairness, and experience recognition for internationally educated non-regulated professionals.
• Compels the Ministry of Health to establish an advisory Committee to advise on changes to the credential recognition and work experience processes available for internationally trained regulated healthcare professionals.
• Within 90 days of passing, the relevant ministries must appoint members to each advisory group. The relevant ministries must also make the appointments public.
• Within one year of passing, the advisory groups must publish their progress report.
Ottawa Centre MPP Joel Harden
“Ottawa has a severe shortage of nurses, yet we have internationally trained nurses ready to work. The Ford government needs to start treating all nurses fairly and pass this bill so Ottawa hospitals can begin filling the shortage and families can get the care they need.”
Humber River-Black Creek MPP Tom Rakocevic
“There are too many families across the province that are unable to get the medical care they need because there aren’t enough family doctors. Study after study has shown that the not having a family doctor can lead to more severe negative health outcomes. There are many professionals here in Ontario who will be able to fill that void if the Ford government passes our bill and writes it into law.”
London North Centre MPP Terence Kernaghan
"Internationally Trained Professionals followed the Canadian dream and want to give back to their communities. Unfortunately their dream quickly turned into a nightmare with the barriers they face. I am proud to cosponsor this bill to ensure that these professionals have a voice at the table, to ensure fairness and recognition for their skills and ability. Ontario will benefit from the knowledge, expertise, and caring these individuals offer our communities."