Evidence of meeting #7 for Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was program.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jonathan Beddoes  Dean, Faculty of Engineering, University of Manitoba
  • Peter Idahosa  President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association
  • Pam Nordstrom  Director, School of Nursing, Mount Royal University
  • Joan Atlin  Director of Programs, Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council
  • Thomas Tam  Chief Executive Officer, SUCCESS

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you, Mr. Idahosa.

We will now move to Mr. Cuzner, for five minutes.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Thanks very much, and I thank the witnesses for being here.

Ms. Nordstrom, I really appreciate the funnel optic in the diagram you use.

Maybe I'll get comments just a little bit later from the other two witnesses. If you guys have a similar experience in terms of when people are leaving the process, I'll get you to comment on that.

Ms. Nordstrom, you said that it would be nice to get some support so that you could further track those who exit the program. That's a fairly severe drop. More than half contact the MRU for information, and then half of them decide to be assessed. That's pretty significant. I think you're recognizing that you just don't have the capacity to monitor that. Are you trying to monitor it now? It's probably anecdotal information you're getting now. How are you doing it now, and what kinds of responses are you getting?

4:20 p.m.

Director, School of Nursing, Mount Royal University

Dr. Pam Nordstrom

Thank you for the question. I'll approach that in two different ways.

The challenge right now is that we don't have a unique identifier to know if you've been recruited by an employer and if you've contacted the regulator. Those pieces of information aren't necessarily shared. The regulator would send them to us, but that piece isn't shared. We know who comes to see us, but we don't know how many don't come to see us. We have a hunch from the regulator. They're keeping some track. An employer doesn't necessarily hire them and tag them, so to speak, as internationally educated, because as employees, they're all employees of their institutions. It's not that there isn't interest. It is that we haven't developed mechanisms or been willing to share because of privacy of information about different people. Each of us interprets our obligations for protecting privacy, and it's just not being shared.

One of our current research activities is some retrospective work on what we have. We are contacting each of those IENs who have been to us for assessment or for the bridging program. We are asking them to speak to what their integration into the workplace has been like. Have they pursued it? Our numbers are based on what we know. I think it would be much richer data if we could pool together the data from the recruiters, the regulators, us, and employers so that we could understand it a little bit better.

What do I know about the applicants who might not come to us? Part of it is that they are recruited internationally. To come to Canada they need immigration papers, and if they're unable to produce those, we lose them early on. They need to understand that nursing work in Canada is a little bit different from nursing work in other countries, so we provide the website to give them an idea of RN practice in Canada and perhaps other options they might pursue as well.

4:20 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

To the gentlemen, are your experiences the same, in that you see the number of applicants sort of dwindle as they go through the process? Do you guys track that?

4:20 p.m.

Prof. Jonathan Beddoes

We don't track how many engineers are coming in and how many are successfully completing the process. The associations of professional engineers in each of the provinces will be tracking that, I am sure. I think it is very worthwhile to ask where we are losing the people along the way.

I think the other thing to ask is almost a corollary of that. When is it that people join the process? We have an awful lot of students in our program who have been in Canada for four or five years, but it's only after four or five years of working at some relatively menial jobs that they've actually built up the financial wherewithal to stop working for eight months to come back to university, even for eight months, on a full-time basis. For most people, not getting a paycheque for eight months is a pretty daunting sort of thing to try to plan for. So it takes a while for many of them to actually show up and undertake the program.

4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association

Dr. Peter Idahosa

Our situation is a little bit different, because the numbers that are not being licensed are increasing. What we have come to realize is that the number of foreign-trained doctors going through the residency program, the training program, has decreased. At the end of the day, in 2009 in Alberta we had 68 positions and as of last year it dropped to 40. An average of 2,500 people are competing for 40 positions. It cannot be calculated in a mathematical kind of way. The equation doesn't add up. It is actually becoming a very bad situation at the moment because of the numbers that are not being licensed.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Ed Komarnicki

Thank you. Your time is up.

We've got a few moments left for the final round.

Mr. Daniel, go ahead.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

Thank you.

To each of the professions here, I'm going to ask what may seem like a dumb question, but please help me understand this. Is there any country that somebody can come to Canada from, say England or Australia, where there are no language barriers and the process and the culture, and go straight into their profession?

4:25 p.m.

Prof. Jonathan Beddoes

Yes. In engineering there is. Canada is a signatory to what is referred to as the Washington Accord, along with a number of other countries, the United States, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and so on. Engineers who are trained in accredited universities in those countries can come to Canada and practise professional engineering in Canada by applying to the provincial association and being accepted. Likewise, Canadians can go to all of those countries and practise professional engineering with very minor obstacles involved.

The Washington Accord is a very strictly regulated aspect of the profession. It's monitored very closely to make sure that engineers who are in that system meet a minimum standard. It works very well.

Unfortunately, if you look at the countries from which we draw most of our immigrants, most of them are not Washington Accord countries.

4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association

Dr. Peter Idahosa

Adding further to what Jonathan has said, it is the same thing in medicine. There are particular countries you can come from, but it's not very easy.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

From the U.K. or--

4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association

Dr. Peter Idahosa

From the U.K.... My problem was, I graduated from Nigeria and I trained in South Africa, so it knocked me off. If you're from the U.K. and you graduated from medical schools from South Africa or Australia, it's easier. You won't have as many problems to get your certificate recognized.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

So it's easier, but you still have to go through a process--

4:25 p.m.

President, Alberta International Medical Graduates Association

Dr. Peter Idahosa

You still have to, yes.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Daniel Don Valley East, ON

--to get re-registered here, etc.?