Aside from your family, culture, and lifestyle, you also bring your skills and knowledge when you move to Canada.
In terms of career, you might wonder, will I find and get hired on the same job that I used to have before coming into Canada?
If you graduated with a healthcare degree before coming to Canada, you are considered an internationally educated health professional (IEHP).
Whether you studied Doctor of Medicine, Nursing, Medical technology, or Physical therapy, you must know how to integrate your knowledge into the Canadian system. This could mean you need to take a bridging program or a diploma program in line with your degree.
Internationally educated health professionals are immigrants that make a large part of the Canadian health system. For example, when I looked into the 2015-17 data from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 24.3% of total doctors in Canada were foreign-trained.
Where do the Internationally Educated Health Professionals (IEHPs) come from?
Let me share a little bit of history about immigrants who went to Canada and became part of the healthcare workforce.
Before the 1990s, the main source of immigrants in Canada is the United Kingdom. The education of the people coming from this country is generally accepted in Canada. For example, if you graduated as an occupational therapist in the UK, you can start your practice in Canada immediately.
Immigrants to Canada are now coming from all over the world. Recently, Asian countries are the origins of a huge portion of newcomers to Canada who wants to work in the healthcare sector.
I, myself, is also a Canadian immigrant who came from an Asian country and that’s The Philippines – well, you already have a clue because of my site address!
Now, what are the reasons for these well-educated professionals leaving their country for Canada? For me, I moved to Canada because I wanted to live with my husband, who has been residing in Canada with his family for more than a decade now.
Through research, I discovered other reasons that influenced the decision of internationally educated health professionals to leave their home country:
- the salary is low
- career opportunities are very limited
- poor working conditions
- discriminatory practices
- an oppressive political climate
If one or more of the listed items are your reasons for coming to Canada, then you are not alone! Other people from around the world are also considering the plan you are making because of the very same intentions.
Now, you want to know if you have a place in the healthcare workforce in Canada. That’s understandable. Because you do not want to waste your years of education and work experience.
So, how can I continue my healthcare profession in Canada?
Healthcare professions are regulated occupations in Canada. It means you need to acquire a license for you to practice.
Your journey starts with identifying where you want to work in Canada. Different provinces have different credentialing processes and requirements.
Whatever your profession is, you will surely undergo an assessment of your education and qualifications. For example, if you are an internationally educated physiotherapist, the physiotherapy practice regulators will require you to complete the Educational Credential and Qualifications Assessment. It checks if your education and qualification are similar to that of a Canadian-educated physiotherapist.
In other professions, you may have to pass a series of exams. For example, if you are an international medical graduate, you will have to take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Parts I and II and the National Assessment Collaboration (NAC) Examination.
Another way to enter the healthcare workforce is through bridging programs offered by some Canadian colleges and universities. An example would be a two-semester bridging program for internationally educated nurses. You may need to do a lot of research to identify which program will suit your preference.
The bottom line
Besides bringing diversity and culture, internationally educated health professionals play a growing role in meeting the increasing demands for the regulated professions in the Canadian healthcare sector.
Canada has allowed immigrants to continue working in their healthcare professions for the past 2 decades and still remain to do so. I encourage you to learn the process to carve out a path towards getting that license to practice.