INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED HEALTH PROFESSIONALS RE-INTEGRATION PROGRAM
In 2005, the Government of Canada launched the Internationally Trained Workers Initiative (ITWI) delivering on its commitment to improve the integration of immigrants (Internationally Educated Health Professionals) and internationally trained Canadians into the workforce. The ITWI is made up of several integrated components and strategies, including the Internationally Educated Health Professionals Initiative (IEHPI).
The IEHPI was implemented in 2005/06 to increase the supply of health professionals into the Canadian workforce by expanding the assessment and integration of internationally educated health professionals in seven priority professions: medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medical laboratory technology, and medical radiation technology.
The overall goal of the IEHPI is to increase the supply of health professionals in the Canadian health care system. The IEHPI aims to facilitate the integration of internationally educated health professionals into the Canadian health workforce by increasing access to assessment and training programs. Through the IEHPI, the Government works with provinces and territories, the health regulatory authorities, post-secondary institutions, and professional associations to help more internationally educated health professionals to put their skills to work in Canada's health system.
With an investment of $18 million per year, the IEHPI, through both direct support of Canada-wide activities and contributions to provinces and territories, is building on the progress that governments and stakeholders have made to develop programs and supports, and to promote a consistent approach to integrate internationally educated health professionals into the Canadian work force.
Accomplishments within the First Five Years of the Strategy
Since its launch, IEHPI has promoted a consistent approach in expanding opportunities for internationally educated health professionals to practice in Canada. IEHPI provides contributions that are used for information dissemination, pathways to qualification assessment and recognition, skill-building, and coordination that aims to increase the number of internationally educated health professionals qualified to practice in Canada. Key accomplishments include:
- development of a range of programs that address the needs of francophone IEHPs in minority language communities, including curriculum development and exam preparation courses;
- work towards building harmonized approaches for assessment of IEHPs, with significant progress in nursing and medicine;
- implementation of bridging programs for internationally educated nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, medical radiation technologists, medical laboratory technologists, and licensed practical nurses;
- development of promotional and recruitment material such as DVDs, pamphlets, resource guides and web portals;
- design of integration activities such as preceptor training, exam preparation, and mentorship programming; and
- development of regional collaborations such as the Western and Northern Health Human Resources Planning Forum and the IEHP Atlantic Connection
Alpha Consultants are one of the hub for all internationally trained health professionals (IEHPs) in Ontario, Canada seeking information and advice about your licensing process & alternative career options.
If you are an IEHP who has recently moved to Ontario or a Canadian in medical school overseas, the Alpha Consultants has a range of services to support you:
- One-to-one counselling
- Information sessions
- Orientation to licensure examinations
- In-person courses
Become an Alpha Consultants Client
Are you an internationally educated health professional - but not registered/licensed to work in Ontario?
Learn how you can move forward with your career in Ontario, Canada. Sign up with the Alpha Consultants today.
We will ask you some questions about your previous education and experience which will help us understand how best to assist you.
As mentioned in an article on internationally-educated health professionals (IEHPs) it reflects the increased policy relevance of the recruitment, recognition and integration of IEHPs. This synthesis reports on the findings from a knowledge synthesis of 401 academic and grey literature sources published between 2000 and 2012 on IEHPs in Canada. The types of papers in the review include empirical studies and reports from NGOs, including professional certification bodies, and educational institutions.
Medicine and nursing dominate the literature on IEHPs, as does a focus on the province of Ontario. Key themes highlighted in the literature extraction process focus on pre-immigration and early arrival activities and programs, credential recognition and professional recertification, bridging and residency training programs, alternative paths to integration and workplace integration which has increased since the start of the program. Though there are differences across professions, with the issue of workplace integration being the most popular category for nursing, and residencies and bridging programs in the case of medicine.
Alpha Consultants help IEHPs integrate into Canadian system every step of the way. Register here.
Pre-Immigration Activities and Programs
Experiences differ largely between those who have been recruited or undertaken professional recognition activities prior to immigrating and those who have not. Many IEHPs may arrive in Canada without having undertaken explicit investigation of the credential verification and recognition process. If this is the case, this puts them at a significant disadvantage. Many reports recommended that the credential assessment and registration process be undertaken pre-arrival and many professions have invested time and resources into information portals to encourage this.
There is increasing recognition of the ethical issues of active recruitment of IEHPs, particularly from resource poor countries with developing health systems. Nevertheless, there continues to be instances of intermittent recruitment efforts, particularly of nurses and to a lesser extent, physicians and pharmacists.
Early Arrival Activities and Programs
Early system navigation programs are important to assist integration and are assisted through immigrant settlement and similar organizations such as the one undertaken by Alpha Consultants for Internationally Educated Health Professionals.
Credential Recognition and Professional Recertification
Three general themes exist:
- IEHP's perceptions that the credential recognition and professional recertification process is lengthy, complex and lacks clarity;
- Stakeholder recognition of this experience; and
- policies and programs that have been put in place to respond to these concerns.
Bridging and Residency Programs
Despite wide variation in the content and structure of bridging programs, they are often identified as promising practices for facilitating the integration of IEHPs. IEHPs who complete such programs report a better knowledge of the culture of health care in Canada and improved communication skills. There is an ongoing need for integrated bridging programs both within the professional infrastructure as well as interprofessionally. In the case of medical residencies, there is a greater level of integration, at least within the medical profession.
Alternative Paths to Integration
Information on research on alternative paths to integration or shifts to alternative professions is lacking hence Alpha Consultants can guide you with creating a path that will put you back right where you belong. In addition, we will find the best possible options available to you, academically and financially.
Workplace integration has focused on the profile of IEHPs. We will help you build your work profile by providing you with the courses and other resources required for your success.
Practice Requirements by Profession
To practise as a regulated health professional in Ontario, you must be a member of your profession’s regulatory college and hold a certificate of registration from the college.
Regulated health professionals are required by law to deliver competent, ethical and professional services, and are accountable to the public through their respective colleges.
For IEHPs looking to pursue a different career from their previous licensed health profession, the path to an alternative career can be challenging. But it can also lead to new and rewarding opportunities. This section is intended to help IEHPs explore and assess potential career options and help them plan their way forward.
Links and Resources
- Foreign Credentials Referral Office at Citizen and Immigration Canada
- Foreign Credential Recognition Program at Human Resource and Skills Development Canada
- Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials
- Working in Canada
- Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy Regulatory Organizations (ACOTRO)
- Occupational Therapy Examination and Practice Preparation (OTepp)
- Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators - Credentialing process