Even prior to the pandemic Canada faced a shortage of physicians and nurses. In fact, Canada has one of the lowest physician-to-population ratios in the developed world. At the same time, the demands on our healthcare system are growing by an increasingly aging as well as multicultural population.
Ironically, Canada is also home to thousands of experienced International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and other foreign-trained professionals, many of whom are refugees, who were forced to leave their home countries and professions but are unable to use their many skills and assets here in Canada.
Refugees can face numerous challenges navigating the medical licensing process here in Canada. Many physicians with international credentials are having trouble getting re-certified here in Canada. After qualifying exams, language assessments, and registration with the Medical Council of Canada’s website, Canadian provinces generally require a two-year residency in one of the coveted residency spots, competing with young Canadians who have recently graduated.
In 2022 the CMF partnered with The Pegasus Institute to develop a mentorship program to help provide IMGs and other foreign-trained professionals, with a focus on refugees, different strategies, with knowledge around pathways and solutions to seeking integration into the Canadian healthcare system as well as alternate health career paths in health and development.
While governments and other bodies can work on addressing larger and longer-term systematic changes, such as increasing enrollment, streamlining licensing, increased funding for hospitals, with the funding commitment from the CMF, the Pegasus Institute is working on developing specific exploratory, learning, networking and mentorship activities and opportunities for, and with, IMGs, guided by experts who are in leadership roles and/or have navigated the system.
In 2023 a website and digital platform will also be created, which will contain video, photo, and written content and resources for IMGs looking for guidance on their pathway.
This program will be expanded to be a resource for all healthcare professionals, not just physicians, and will be accessible to all persons with no distinction of any kind regarding gender or religion.
To partner with CMF in supporting this important program, please consider a donation today.