Helping immigrant nurses a ‘win-win’ for Canada: Study

An example where more effective foreign credential recognition and related bridging programs can help:

As baby boomers age, Canada faces a looming health-care crunch that will be exacerbated by a projected shortage of tens of thousands of nurses.

That makes it more important than ever for Canada to help foreign-trained nurses qualify to practice here, according to a Conference Board of Canada study.

Each dollar invested by Ottawa and provincial governments in helping registered nurses acquire Canadian licences generates $9 in future income tax revenue — a nine-fold return, according to the study — not to mention their contributions to the care of the country’s rapidly aging population.

With seniors outnumbering children for the first time ever, according to new Statistics Canada figures, and a projected shortage of 60,000 nurses by 2022, investing in bridging programs makes immense sense, experts say.

“This is a win-win for Canada and the internationally educated nurses (IEN),” said Michael Bloom, the conference board’s vice-president in charge of industry and business strategy. “The concept of investing in career bridging programs is good and sound. It yields returns.”

According to the study, more than half of immigrants with health professional backgrounds have trouble getting their foreign credentials recognized in Canada, compared to just 40 per cent in other regulated professions.

In 2011, only 54 per cent of foreign-born and educated nurses had a job that matched their education in Ontario, with unemployment rates among foreign-trained registered nurses at 6 per cent and 8.3 per cent among registered practical nurses.

Source: Helping immigrant nurses a ‘win-win’ for Canada: Study | Toronto Star

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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