Government of Canada launches call for proposals to help internationally educated professionals work in Canadian healthcare
December 5, 2022 Charlottetown, PEI Employment and Social Development Canada
Canada’s healthcare sector is experiencing critical labour shortages, heightened by the pandemic, and we need qualified workers to fill these vacancies. To help address these shortages, the Government of Canada is investing in projects that will give internationally educated health professionals the support and experience needed to pursue opportunities in the areas where we need their skills most.
Today, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser, on behalf of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, launched a call for proposals under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program. Up to $90 million will be invested in projects that will help remove barriers preventing qualified and skilled newcomers from gaining Canadian work experience in their own profession or field of study.
Eligible projects must focus on at least one of the following areas:
- Reducing barriers to foreign credential recognition for internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) by improving recognition processes, simplifying steps in credential recognition and offering increased access to practice in the field.
- Providing IEHPs with Canadian work experience that is relevant to their intended fields of work, while incorporating wrap-around supports for participants such as childcare and transportation costs, as well as mentoring and coaching.
- Facilitating labour mobility between jurisdictions in Canada for health care professionals and IEHPs to reduce the systemic and administrative barriers for health care professionals who wish to work in another jurisdiction in Canada.
Multiple occupations are facing acute shortages such as physicians, nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists and medical laboratory technologists. According to a 2020 Statistics Canada report, skilled newcomers are under-utilized in the health sector - 47% of skilled newcomers with a health education from abroad are unemployed or underemployed in non-health jobs that require only a high school education.
Under the call for proposals, successful projects must include at least one of the following eligible activities:
- Development, testing and implementation of credential recognition systems, with a focus on streamlining regulatory processes and/or harmonization of occupational requirements to improve the foreign credential recognition process and/or interprovincial labour mobility.
- Provision of employment supports such as wage subsidies, work placements, and mentoring to IEHPs to help them integrate into the Canadian labour market.
Organizations have until January 30, 2023 to apply for funding under this call for proposals.
The Foreign Credential Recognition Program funds projects to support faster and more efficient credential recognition systems, provides loans and support services, as well as employment supports such as training, work placements, wage subsidies, mentoring and coaching.
“Internationally educated health care professionals are essential to addressing current labour shortages across our healthcare system. To help reduce barriers to credential recognition, our government is investing in projects through the Foreign Credential Recognition Program that will support skilled professionals in gaining Canadian work experience within their fields of study. Through these investments, we’re strengthening our healthcare system to ensure that all Canadians receive a high quality of care.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
“I am proud to announce Canada’s new and improved investments to support internationally-educated health care professionals to work in the healthcare sector. The efforts to support newcomers overcoming the barriers to foreign credential recognition provide opportunities to gain on the job experience, and facilitate labour mobility announced today are essential ways of ensuring our healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and we look forward to welcoming newcomers who will contribute to this system.”
– Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Sean Fraser
“To ensure that patients across Canada get the care they need, when and where they need it, we are working to address the health workforce crisis and strengthen our health care system. The successful projects under the Foreign Credential Recognition Program will help remove existing barriers and enable many qualified and skilled newcomers to gain Canadian work experience in areas of healthcare where we need them most.”
– Minister of Health, Jean-Yves Duclos
“There is widespread agreement that foreign trained professionals are a key element in improving access to Health Care. Government is looking to Canadians for the best ideas to allow these professionals to work in their chosen field, and fill a very pressing need in communities across Canada. We are, after all, a country of innovators.”
– Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Sean Casey
Half of newcomers to Canada have a bachelor’s degree or greater. Even with their educational achievements, skilled newcomers in all sectors face a higher unemployment rate than people born in Canada and are less likely to work in the regulated occupations for which they have studied.
With immigration expected to reach record-high levels (431,645 in 2022), it is more important than ever to increase supports to skilled newcomers so that they can fully use their skills, experience and talents.
The Foreign Credential Recognition Program invests approximately $27.1 million annually in contribution agreements with provinces and territories, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders to help support the labour market integration of skilled newcomers. Since 2015, the Program has invested more than $129 million in 92 projects to support skilled newcomers.
Budget 2022 announced an additional $115M over five years starting in 2022-2023 and $30M ongoing for the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, with a focus on supporting the labour market integration of skilled newcomers into the health sector.
Successful projects will receive a minimum of $500,000, up to a maximum of $10M.
Eligible recipients will include provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, regulatory bodies, professional associations, industry associations, unions, post-secondary institutions, hospitals and healthcare institutions, and not-for-profit organizations.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion
Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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