Canada Needs More Foreign Healthcare Workers to Fight COVID-19

Published on: April 9th, 2020

As the fight continues to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, those on the front lines are increasingly at risk. Canadian doctors and nurses are desperately trying to keep themselves safe amidst an escalating global health crisis and lack of protective gear. Now more than ever, Canada needs to support its healthcare system by allowing qualified foreign nationals to enter the country.

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With shortages of protective gear and an increasingly stressful situation in hospitals around the country, it seems inevitable that Canada is going to experience a decline in available healthcare professionals. As it stands, healthcare workers represent 10 percent of known COVID-19 cases in Ontario, and these numbers are expected to rise quickly. 

According to numbers from HealthForceOntario, there are 13,000 foreign-educated doctors and 6,000 foreign-educated nurses within the province who aren’t working in their fields.

Recognizing the dire need to support medical staff, Ontario is now allowing some internationally-trained doctors to apply for a supervised 30-day medical licence to help fight COVID-19. This short-term licence allows doctors who have been trained outside of Canada as well as domestic medical school graduates to practise under supervision at public hospitals, psychiatric facilities and Crown agencies. 

Applicants for the supervised 30-day licence must have:

  • Graduated from medical school in Canada, the U.S. or a school that was, at the time of graduation, listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools.
  • Practised medicine, graduated medical school or passed Medical Council of Canada exams within the last two years.
  • Secured a spot working in a hospital, psychiatric facility or for a Crown agency.
  • Found a physician prepared to act as their supervisor.

The Canadian healthcare system already relies heavily on immigrants. Before the crisis, the Canadian Nurses Association had already predicted that Canada would experience a shortage of 60,000 nurses by 2022. Now that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, those numbers are sure to go up.

Immigration has long been part of Canada’s strategy to fill the roles of essential healthcare workers. We are hoping that as things continue to escalate, the Canadian government will allow more foreign healthcare workers to step into these essential roles and save lives. 

If you are interested in learning more about your Canadian immigration options at this time, simply complete our free online assessment and a member of our team will contact you shortly!

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