McGuinty Government Helping International Medical Graduates get licensed to practise medicine
Ontario, over the last decade, has more than doubled the number of international medical graduates obtaining a license to practice medicine.
According to a report released yesterday by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), the number of practice certificates issued to international medical graduates (IMGs) in the past decade has increased 119 per cent. The number of certificates issued has risen from 5,013 in the 1990’s to 10,982 certificates in the 2000’s. The CPSO attributes this increase, in part, to more Ontario government-funded residency positions reserved for IMGs.
As part of the five-year Open Ontario plan to create new opportunities for jobs and growth, the province will continue to ensure that internationally-trained professionals, including IMGs, obtain the accreditation they need to contribute their valuable skills and talents to Ontario.
“This is very good news for internationally trained doctors seeking to practise in Ontario, and it is good news for the province. As a medical doctor myself, I am pleased to learn that more qualified colleagues who invested years in study and hard work outside of Canada are now able to practise in Ontario. I look forward to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and other regulatory bodies continuing their work with the Ontario Fairness Commissioner to bring forward even greater results in the years to come.”
— Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
“The hard work and determination of Ontario’s international medical graduates will be a lasting benefit to the entire health-care system.”
- Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long Term Care
Last year 1,563 practice certificates were issued, representing the highest number of practice certificates issued since 1985. International medical graduates accounted for 39 per cent of those licences.
IMGs received their medical degrees from 105 different countries.
Types of occupations: Regulated and non-regulated
In Canada, there are two types of occupations: regulated (including trades) and non-regulated.
Jobs in regulated occupations
Many professions set their own standards of practice. These are called regulated occupations.
In Canada, about 20 percent of jobs are in occupations regulated by the provincial or territorial governments. Through legislation and regulations, the provinces and territories delegate to professions the authority to self-regulate in order to protect public health and safety, and to ensure that professionals meet the required standards of practice and competence.
If you want to work in a regulated occupation and use a regulated title, you must have a licence or a certificate or be registered with the regulatory body for your occupation in the province or territory where you plan to work.
Some fields where regulated occupations are commonly found include:
• health care
• financial services
• law and legal services
Regulated occupations are also called professions, skilled trades or apprenticeable trades.
Requirements for entry into a regulated occupation can vary between provinces and territories. They usually include:
• an evaluation of your language and communication skills
• a specified period of supervised work experience
Each regulated occupation sets its own requirements for licensure or certification, usually through the provincial or territorial regulatory body or professional association.
Jobs in non-regulated occupations
A job in a non-regulated occupation is one for which you don’t need a licence, certificate or registration to work. Most jobs in Canada are in non-regulated occupations.
Requirements for employment can vary greatly between employers, but you must be prepared to demonstrate that you have the education or experience to do the job.
You may be expected to demonstrate a certain level of skill and competence, to have a specific amount of education, and even to have personal characteristics suitable for the job. For example, working in the field of marketing is not regulated, but it is likely that employers will expect you to have a degree or a certificate in business with some specialization or experience in marketing.
It is up to the employer to decide whether the qualifications you have earned outside Canada are equivalent to Canadian credentials (qualifications) required for the job.
Some employers will require, as a condition for employment, that applicants be registered or certified by the relevant professional association. Credential assessment and recognition helps Canadian employers understand your qualifications.
Regulatory bodies/ Apprenticeship authorities
A regulatory body or an apprenticeship authority is an organization that sets the standards of practice for a profession or trade. They have the authority to:
• set entry and training requirements
• set standards of practice
• assess qualifications
• register qualified applicants
• discipline members
How do I get my credentials or qualifications recognized?
It is important to understand how your profession will evaluate your academic training, your work experience, and your skills and competencies. Most often, this evaluation will include:
• matching your training and skills to the profession’s standards by comparing your original academic transcripts and other related documents, such as university course descriptions, to the training provided by Canadian colleges and universities.
• writing examinations or having an interview or both. You will be evaluated as an individual, and you should not directly compare your experience to that of someone else. You must understand the requirements as they apply to your own situation in the province or territory where you intend to work.
Note: The recognition process is different in each province or territory and for each profession and trade. If you need to have your credentials assessed for educational purposes, contact the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials. It assists individuals, employers, professionals and organizations with foreign credential recognition and the assessment of diplomas and qualifications in Canada.
Working in the trades
If you work in the trades, provincial or territorial regulations and academic and work experience requirements also apply. Examples of trades include plumbers, carpenters and hair stylists. Find a full list of trades and related work information on the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program website.
Public safety and security as well as the physical safety of the worker are concerns for people working in the trades. For example, learning the operation or manipulation of heavy machinery, chemicals or complicated equipment takes time and students training in these jobs work under close supervision until they can prove that they can work by themselves and offer a complete range of skills to employers and the public.
You will be required to demonstrate that your training, skills and experience meet the standard set for people trained in Canada. Each province or territory is responsible for setting the requirements for working in the trades. Provincial or territorial requirements may differ.
What should I do if I can’t get a licence or certification in my profession or trade?
Getting a licence and finding work in your profession or trade will take time whether you received your training in Canada or elsewhere.
If you do not meet the requirements for your profession in Canada or you are in the process of meeting the licensure or certification requirements, you may decide to work in a related field to apply your training, skills and experience. This is an effective way to learn about the Canadian workplace and a good way to make contacts.
For example, if you are in the process of getting a licence to be a physiotherapist, perhaps you can consider looking for work as a physiotherapy assistant. If you are hoping to work as a plumber, you may consider looking for work with property management companies.
The words credentials, competencies and qualifications are sometimes used interchangeably. However, these words do have very specific meanings associated with different elements involved in the assessment of internationally trained individuals for the purposes of working in Canada.
Credentials refers to degrees or certificates that are earned after the completion of the required academic training, such as a Bachelor of Science degree or a Certificate in Human Resources. Credentials are usually evaluated by comparing the content of the courses taken and the requirements to complete the degree or certificate with the requirements for the same or similar degrees or certificates in Canada.
Competencies refers to skills and abilities that can be demonstrated. In some cases, these skills may have been learned as part of your academic training, while in other cases, they may be the result of work experience. There is a wide variety of skills and competencies as well as ways to evaluate them.
Qualifications often includes both credentials and competencies as well as work experience. Work experience is normally evaluated by comparing the kind of work you have been doing, the amount of time, the level at which you’ve been doing it, and the kind of results you have achieved. In evaluating your qualifications for the purpose of licensure, some professions, such as engineering, have requirements for the kind of projects you have worked on to demonstrate that you have experience at a required level of responsibility.
What documents do I need?
There are many documents related to your education and your experience that help regulatory bodies, assessment agencies or employers understand your international qualifications.
The types of documents that are required vary, and could include:
• Degrees, diplomas or certificates from universities, colleges, secondary schools or trade schools
• Program descriptions related to your studies
• Transcripts of grades
• Apprenticeship certificates
• Letters from employers
• Performance reviews
• Work descriptions for jobs you have done
• Letters of reference
Where possible, it is best to have documents sent directly from schools or other organizations to Canada. This may also be a requirement of the regulator. Check with the regulatory body, employer, credential assessment agency or educational institution to find out what their requirements are. This is something you can do before you leave for Canada.
Some organizations only accept documents that are sent directly from educational institutions.
Getting documents translated
You may need to have these documents translated into English, French or both.
• Check the website or contact the regulatory body or apprenticeship authorityto determine the translation requirements.
• Note that you may also be required to use an approved translation service. You will have to pay for translation if it is needed.
Make sure that your documents are translated by a qualified translation service. To find a qualified translation service, contact the provincially approved credential assessment agency in your province or territory.
If you cannot get the documents you need to confirm your education, skills and experience, contact the regulatory body or apprenticeship authorityand ask them how you should proceed.