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Poilievre calls for standardized testing for doctors, nurses


Conservative leader Pierre Poulevre is calling for a nationally standardized testing process to speed up the licensing process for doctors and nurses who are either immigrants or trained abroad.

Polievre said at a press conference on Sunday that this would help address the shortage of doctors currently affecting our health care system.

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

He proposes a “blue seal” testing standard that would also allow qualified health professionals to work in any state or territory that would volunteer to be part of the program.

His proposed program would allow healthcare professionals to take a standardized test and receive an answer within 60 days, which he said would speed up the licensing process.

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

“It will work like this. there will be one standardized testing system. “Within 60 days after an immigrant or foreign-trained Canadian applies to work in their profession, they will be able to take the test and get a yes or no based on their eligibility, not based on where they come from.” said Poillievre.

“This will mean we judge our medical graduates on their merit and ability, not on bureaucracy or their background. It would also mean a national license so an Alberta doctor could practice in Nova Scotia if he fell in love with a woman there and got married and moved across the country.”

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

Polievre told the story of a young Canadian woman who went to medical school in Ireland and then went to California to do a residency because she couldn’t get accepted to a residency in Canada, saying it “didn’t make sense.”

The “blue seal standard” is an idea taken from regulated trades, he said, where trades such as carpenters, industrial electricians, crane operators and other workers in regulated trades can take one testing standard to qualify to work anywhere. in Canada

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

Canada’s shortage of doctors and nurses is only growing, leaving provinces scrambling to find answers.

British Columbia in January released a new payment plan for physicians in hopes of addressing the physician shortage.

CTV News learned last week that there were more than a dozen nurses is going to be reduced at an Ontario hospital at the end of the month due to funding cuts. This comes as Ontario’s Conservative government has underspent on health care in recent years, Ontario’s fiscal watchdog reported last year that the state left $5.5 billion in 2021 funds unspent, including spending nearly $1.3 billion less than planned on health care.

Polievre’s plan for Blue Seal standard tests comes ahead of the federal government’s next budget, which will be tabled in parliament on March 28.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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