Doctors from all over the world who choose to come to Canada and work in our communities play a vital role in keeping us healthy and ensuring local access to family physicians at a time when our aging population needs it the most. As provinces and territories seek to attract and retain more foreign-trained doctors to help address shortages, the Government of Canada is making it easier for these doctors to call Canada home permanently.
After a meeting with family physicians and Healthy Pictou County at the Aberdeen Hospital, the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced changes to make it easier for foreign-born physicians to remain in Canada, so they can continue to practice in Canada and bolster our health care system.
Some physicians have faced barriers in accessing permanent residence through, Canada’s flagship programs for skilled workers managed under the Express Entry system, as the “fee-for-service” model used in Canada for health care professionals is outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship. As a result, some physicians are currently considered self-employed, leaving them unable to meet the eligibility criteria of the economic pathways for permanent residency.
To address this challenge, Minister Fraser announced that IRCC is exempting physicians, who work in a fee-for-service model with public health authorities, from current requirements. This change recognizes the unique employment model used in Canada’s health care system, and will provide physicians with access to Canada’s economic permanent residence programs. This will mean that a greater number of those physicians already here and filling crucial vacancies in our health care sector can remain here permanently.
To help address labour shortages, IRCC is improving its immigration system to allow foreign nationals who are already in Canada to stay here and work. Immigration is key to helping employers fill hundreds of thousands of vacant positions across the country. When our immigration system works well, our economy benefits. We’ll continue to work alongside provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders to help solve key labour shortages in the health care sector.