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Improving access to Internationally Educated Health Professionals - Policy Proposal

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Ontario 360 project, housed at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, released a policy proposal by Sten Ardal, and Sabrina Hyde on June 29, 2022. ITPO supports these recommendations and will summarise them below. The link to full article can be found at the end.

This policy proposal addresses the dire need for health care professionals in Ontario and ways to effectively integrate Internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) into the workforce.

Background :

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada projects that by 2040 Canada will need an 80% increase in healthcare staff across all sectors. and Canada-wide pressures will be felt acutely in Ontario since it has one of the lowest ratios of doctors to the population in Canada. Prompt and sustained action is required for the province to be able to meet critical healthcare capacity. One way that Ontario can increase its supply of healthcare workers is to effectively utilize the skills of internationally trained healthcare professionals.

In Ontario, as many as 20,000 Internationally trained nurses have expressed interest in the licensure and over 10,000 IMGs not working in the healthcare field. Many of these physicians have postgraduate training and practice experience but are not able to move forward in their professions because their only option is an Ontario residency training position where they must compete for limited positions with Canadians who have studied abroad.


1. Establish Practice Ready assessment route (PRA) for physicians

PRA are a path to licensure for ITPs who have already completed their residency and practiced independently abroad. The MCC NAC has worked through a collaborative process to develop tools and resources to support a pan-Canadian PRA standard for family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry, and geriatrics. This program exists in seven provinces but not in Ontario.

2. Increase investment in Point in Time Assessment programs for IEHPs

Point in Time Assessments use performance exams designed to assess key competencies that have been demonstrated to be effective in several professions, such as OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Assessment). Ontario should consider investing in subsidizing Point in Time Assessments for IEHPs, as a companion to bridging programs and a substitute for Canadian or practice experience.

Summarized by: Dr. Prachi Patel (PAR committee volunteer)

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