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Growing Demand for Immigrant Doctors in Canada’s Healthcare Sector


February 12th, 2024 at 01:20 am

Growing Demand for Immigrant Doctors in Canada’s Healthcare Sector

There is an increasing demand for immigrant doctors in Canada’s healthcare system. Over the last decade, Canada’s population has increased dramatically, reaching more than five million people. Throughout this time period, Canada has only established 167 medical residencies. Furthermore, this has created difficulties for Canadians who require frequent access to a family doctor.

Increasing need for immigrant doctors in Canada’s healthcare 

In the later half of January, research showed that over 6.5 million Canadians require constant access to a family physician. Canada’s population growth and other factors have contributed to a shortage of family doctors. As a result, numerous Canadians faced serious hardships.

As a result, the Canadian government is working to welcome more immigrant healthcare professionals who have completed the requisite schooling. This is occurring on both the federal and provincial levels.

Existing difficulties exist for international medical graduates.

According to Canadian government figures for December 2022, one out of every four healthcare workers is an immigrant.

Furthermore, immigrants account for the following percentage of all healthcare workers in this country:

  • Registered Nurses: 23 percent;
  • Nurse Aides and associated professions: 35 percent;
  • Pharmacists: 37 percent;
  • Physicians: 36 percent;
  • Dentists: 39 percent;
  • Dental technologies and related professions: 54 percent

Even after this, International Medical Graduates encounter numerous hurdles when seeking medical residency in this country. Limitations on the number of IMGs who can get a slot frequently cause these problems. Furthermore, these IMGs frequently experience problems while practicing medicine in Canada. This is owing to the residency system in place here as well as the medical schools’ encouragement of their graduates.

The president of the Canadian Medical Association confirms that the aforementioned is a continuing concern in the Canadian healthcare system. There are insufficient Canadian doctors to meet the country’s health-care needs.

As a result, Canada’s demand for healthcare workers with overseas training is not being satisfied, as IMGs face unique challenges.

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Canada invests in foreign credential recognition to overcome the issues with IMGs.

Canada not only looks forward to accepting more qualified healthcare professionals, but it also intends to invest in international credential recognition. The ESDC report from January offered a plan to provide $86 million in funding to 15 Canadian organizations. According to ESDC, the grant will help to improve the foreign credential recognition capabilities of around 6,600 healthcare professionals with international education. Furthermore, it will assist highly trained and skilled immigrants in obtaining appropriate recognition for their foreign qualifications.

The reasons behind Canada’s scarcity of family doctors

Canada is experiencing enormous population expansion. This also suggests the fastest population growth in the third quarter of 2023, compared to any other quarter since 1957. However, there are multiple reasons behind Canada’s shortage of family physicians. They are as follows:

There is a declining interest in family medicine among Canada’s medical graduates.

According to recent research published in January, the country’s medical graduates’ interest in family medicine is gradually declining. According to the Canadian Resident Matching Service report, the percentage of graduates who chose family medicine throughout their residency training has decreased by more than 7% during the previous nine years. In 2014, around 37.8 percent of graduates chose family medicine, compared to 30.3 percent by 2023.

Furthermore, according to data from the Canadian Medical Association, around 1,000 family doctors leave the profession each year, outnumbering newcomers to the healthcare industry.

According to the head of the Canada Health Workforce Network, an increasing proportion of family doctors are obtaining certifications to practice sports medicine, emergency care, and anaesthesia. As a result, they stray away from the clinic’s workspace.

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All the aforementioned facts suggest that most Canadians are less interested in this discipline. As a result, the country faces a significant issue in providing continuous access to family doctors.

The low increase in medical residencies

According to prior statistics, Canada admits only 167 more immigrant doctors for required postgraduate training than it did a decade earlier. According to federal data, the scenario outlined above is complicated. This is because forecasts suggest the need to close 49,000 more family doctors by 2031.

However, a few federal governments are working hard to resolve this difficult problem. The government will do so by increasing medical school admission capacity soon.

The provinces and territories bear equal responsibility for strengthening the healthcare system. As a result, they must be able to provide appropriate physician training and licences.

A growing demand for immigrant doctors in Canada’s healthcare sector has resulted in further measures to tackle this scenario.

The federal government of Canada is not only making investments in the recognition of foreign credentials, but it is also actively seeking to increase the number of physicians who have had training in other countries. With regard to the category-based draws for Express Entry, the federal government expects to proceed in the same manner.

After the beginning of these category-based selection draws in May 2023, there will be an increase in the number of foreign national workers who have recent experience working in the major sectors. One of the top five priority jobs in Canada is in the healthcare industry.

At long last, medical schools in three different provinces in Canada are actively working to expand their capacity for medical education. Additionally, they are aiming to develop new colleges that provide medical education.

Examining three provinces.

  • Ontario: Over the next five years, Ontario plans to offer 449 additional post-graduate medical training spaces. Out of these spots, 154 will go live digitally later in 2024. These online spots will be offered at several medical colleges in Ontario.
  • Prince Edward Island: The University of PEI will open a new medical school in October 2025.
  • British Columbia: Simon Fraser University in British Columbia announced plans to open a new medical school at the Surrey Campus in 2026.
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