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Poilievre calls for standardized tests for doctors and nurses


Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is calling for the creation of a national standardized testing process to speed up the licensing process for doctors and nurses who are either immigrants or have been trained abroad.

Poilievre told a news conference on Sunday that it would help address the doctor shortage currently plaguing our health care system.

“In Canada today, we have a shortage of about 40,000 doctors,” he said, speaking outside the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. “In other words, if we had all the doctors who are here in Canada today, but trained abroad, working in our health care system, we could cut our doctor shortage in half.

It proposes a “blue seal” testing standard, which would also allow qualified healthcare professionals to work in any province or territory that volunteers to be part of the program.

Under his proposed program, medical professionals could take a standardized test and receive a response within 60 days, which he said would speed up the authorization process.

Currently, the process for trying to obtain a license to practice medicine in Canada depends on the province or territory in which you live. Some provinces have introduced new methods during the pandemic to streamline the licensing of physicians trained outside of Canada, but many applicants are still struggling to obtain the necessary permits.

“It will work like this: there will be a standardized testing system. Within 60 days of an immigrant or foreign-trained Canadian applying to work in their profession, they can take the exam and get a yes or no based on their skills, not of his origin,” Poilievre said.

“This means we judge our medical graduates on their merits and abilities, not on a bureaucratic system or on where they come from. It will also mean a national license, so an Alberta doctor will be able to practice in Nova Scotia if he falls in love with a woman there, gets married, and moves across the country.

Six million Canadians do not have a family doctor, and many of them have been looking or on waiting lists for months or even years.

Poilievre told the story of a young Canadian who went to medical school in Ireland and then went to California to do her residency because she couldn’t be accepted for a residency in Canada, saying that it “doesn’t make sense”.

The “blue seal standard” is an idea taken from regulated trades, he said, where tradespeople such as carpenters, industrial electricians, crane operators and other workers in regulated trades can follow a single standard of test to receive the necessary qualifications to work anywhere. in Canada

“It’s common sense,” Poilievre said. “If you can do the job, you should get the job. If you are a doctor, you should not drive a taxi.

The shortage of doctors and nurses in Canada is only growing, leaving the provinces scrambling to find answers.

In January, British Columbia released a new payment plan for doctors in hopes of addressing the doctor shortage.

Last week, CTV News learned that more than a dozen nurses would be laid off later this month at an Ontario hospital due to budget cuts. This comes despite Ontario’s Conservative government underspending on health care spending in recent years – Ontario’s fiscal watchdog reported last year that the province left $5.5 billion dollars in allocated funds for 2021 not spent, including spending nearly $1.3 billion less than planned on health care.

Poilievre’s plan for “blue seal standard” testing comes ahead of the federal government’s next budget plan, which will be presented to Parliament on March 28.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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