Ontario Continues to Open More Doors for Internationally Trained Doctors

    McGuinty Government Takes Next Steps to Help More Families Get Access to

    TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ -


    Ontarians looking for a family doctor will benefit from the government's
initiatives to create more opportunities for internationally trained doctors
to enter medical practice in the province.
    Swift action to provide more opportunities for internationally trained
doctors in the province, delivering more physicians to Ontarians and improving
access to health care are the focus of Etobicoke-Lakeshore MPP Laurel Broten's
Report on International Medical Doctors. Released today, it complements the
significant progress Ontario has made for International Medical Graduate (IMG)
doctors since 2004, when the number of residency training positions more than
doubled, from 90 to 200 annually. Currently, 630 IMG doctors are in residency
training in Ontario.
    In her report, Broten, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health
and Long-Term Care, includes five key recommendations on how to further
increase the number of IMG doctors in Ontario to help improve access to health
care for Ontario families:

    1.  Fast track, simplify and streamline the registration process for
        doctors already practicing elsewhere in Canada, the U.S. or any other
        country with a comparable healthcare system to our own;
    2.  Help internationally trained doctors enter into medical practice in
        Ontario with the creation of a transitional license which will allow
        them to practice under supervision while they complete required
        education or gain specific practical experience;
    3.  Undertake assessments more efficiently to allow internationally
        trained doctors to get on with their education and integrate into
        Ontario's medical system;
    4.  Provide individualized bridging support which would include cultural
        and language education, mentorship and hands on training;
    5.  Develop individualized assistance for those seeking to transfer their
        international medical skills and knowledge into another area of the
        health profession or a related career.

    These recommendations will help form the basis of new legislation to
further reduce barriers for IMGs.
    Today's announcement was made at a celebration honouring newly minted IMG
doctors who are heading off to independent practices throughout Ontario.


    "Access to medical care remains one of the - if not the most - pressing
health related public concern," said Laurel Broten. "While public safety and
high patient standards must always remain paramount, it is certainly in the
public interest to provide greater access to care as well as to ensure that
human potential is not lost as a result of the underutilization of
international medical skills."

    "Our government is ready to take on the next steps and we intend to
introduce a bill before the current session ends that will promote
opportunities for internationally educated doctors and we will move quickly to
remove remaining barriers," said George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "We're going to be building on our
success by further dismantling barriers so that more qualified internationally
educated doctors can provide Ontarians with the care they need."


    -   More than 5,000 internationally trained doctors are practicing in
        Ontario, representing almost a quarter of the physician workforce
    -   More than 500 IMGs are currently taking advantage of training and
        assessment opportunities
    -   For the fourth straight year, more certificates were issued to IMGs
        than to Ontario graduates by The College of Physicians and Surgeons
        of Ontario (CPSO)
    -   CPSO also reports the number of full practice certificates issued to
        IMGs this year was the highest in 20 years, marking the seventh
        straight year of an increasing number of certificates for
        internationally trained doctors


    Find out how internationally-trained doctors can qualify for professional
practice (http://www.healthforceontario.ca/Jobs/AccessCentre.aspx) in Ontario.

                                                      Disponible en français

                         HELP IMPROVE ACCESS TO CARE

    The McGuinty government is creating increased opportunities for
internationally trained doctors to enter practice in Ontario. In 2004, the
Ontario government more than doubled the number of training and assessment
positions for international medical doctors from 90 to 200 spots annually. In
fact, in 2007/08, a record-breaking 235 positions were offered to
International Medical Graduate (IMG) doctors.
    The expansion has allowed 833 internationally trained doctors to initiate
residency training in the past four years, 433 more physicians for Ontarians
than would have been the case - a 96% increase.
    Notwithstanding these investments in more residency positions serious,
barriers remain. Laurel Broten, Parliamentary Assistant to George Smitherman,
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, has prepared a
report, Report on International Medical Doctors, calling for swift action to
deliver more doctors to Ontarians and opportunities for IMGs.
    Broten categorizes internationally trained doctors and graduates into
three fairly distinct groups and points out that each category requires a
distinct game plan for success:

    1.  International medical doctors that are currently practicing outside
        Ontario and that should be practice-ready for Ontario. (Action Plan
        No. 1 and 2)

    2.  International medical doctors or graduates who have significant
        skills, education and/or experience but need a more extensive
        assessment and/or who lack some specific and necessary requirements
        which can be gained through remediation, additional education and the
        experience gained through supervised practice. (Action Plan No. 2, 3
        and 4)

    3.  International medical doctors/graduates with some skill, education
        and/or experience but who need much more education and training for
        any hope of success to meet Ontario's standards and be eligible to
        practice medicine in Ontario (Action Plan No. 3, 4 and 5)

    Broten's Five Point Action Plan to improve access includes:


    Fast track, simplify and streamline the registration process for doctors
who can go direct-to-practice because they are already practicing in Canada,
the United States or any other country with a medical education and health
system similar to our own. (This would require amendments to the registration
requirements of the regulations under the Medicine Act, 1991.)


    Help internationally trained doctors serve patients in Ontario by
creating a transitional licence that will allow them to practice under
supervision while they complete their education or gain experience to qualify
for independent practice. (This would require amendments to regulations under
the Medicine Act, 1991.)


    For those internationally trained doctors not immediately eligible to
practice medicine under a transitional license, bridging programs - working
with candidates on an individualized and group basis to gain entry into the
medical profession - should be established so IMG doctors can become practice
ready for Ontario.


    The assessment process can be a "bottleneck" in the system and this
recommendation seeks to provide the support needed to help internationally
trained doctors integrate into our medical system, including cultural and
language education, mentorship and hands on training, more practice assessors
as well as better training and compensation for their supervisors.


    There will always be individuals with international medical training who,
as a result of the timing and/or quality of the training received or as a
result of the current family and/or financial situation, will have extreme
difficulty in meeting Ontario's high medical standards. This initiative would
provide assistance to those individuals to help them use their skills and
knowledge most effectively so that they can enter alternate careers in health
    Any changes to the assessment and certification process will be done in
collaboration and consultation with The College of Physicians and Surgeons of

    Laurel Ostfield, Minister's Office, 416-212-4048
    Mark Nesbitt, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care,

                                                      Disponible en français

For further information:

For further information: Laurel Ostfield, Minister's Office, (416)
212-4048; David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197

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