Original Published on Jun 22, 2022 at 22:32

By Shazia Nazir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter

Newcomers in Halton, Ontario have lauded the government’s announcement of close to $1.5 million to promote sector collaboration and information sharing of foreign qualification and credential recognition requirements for internationally educated health care professionals. 

The project is in a bid to enhance the settlement of newcomers in Canada which are deemed essential to the recovery of its economy in the post-pandemic era and for its long-term prosperity, primarily in the health care sector. 

The grant was announced by Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. 

Previous initiatives to facilitate newcomers include Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s (CHEO’s) National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4). 

“CHEO has a proven track record of ensuring health and social service sector professionals have the knowledge and tools they need to provide equitable care and services to newcomers”, said Marie-France. 

“We are pleased to continue working with the National Newcomer Navigation Network to support health care professionals educated abroad in securing jobs in Canada’s health care sector. These services will help more newcomers succeed, while also helping to build a better future for all Canadians”.

In April 2019, CHEO launched the National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4) to focus on breaking down barriers faced by newcomers, including linguistic and cultural hurdles  when accessing health and social services.

The government believes this expanded project will help internationally educated health care professionals fill key positions in the health care labour market and it will also enable N4 to serve as a platform where newcomers and internationally educated health care professionals can find information on foreign qualification and credential recognition in all provinces and territories outside Quebec. 

The project will also aim to identify barriers faced by internationally educated health care professionals in having their foreign credentials recognized in Canada and provide practical policy recommendations to address gaps in the sector.

Alex Munter, CEO and President of CHEO said that the full inclusion of newcomers in the health-care workforce will help them address staffing shortages, while also incorporating richly diverse voices of lived experience and better supporting other newcomers. 

Dileep Shukla, a Halton-based medical practitioner who has recently moved to Canada said that he was excited to hear of this new project. 

“I don’t have Canadian qualifications but hold vast experience in providing healthcare. The process for recognition of my degrees is ongoing but this new initiative, hopefully, will expedite and streamline the process for future newcomers.” 

Jim Chang, an ophthalmologist in Milton, arrived in Canada weeks ago. He hasn’t applied for recognition of his qualifications still and thinks this new program may facilitate him in the process. 

“As this program rolls out in coming weeks, I am hoping this would help me and many others who have chosen Canada to be their new home.” 

This item reprinted with permission from Milton Responder, Milton, Ontario