Canada strives to address Skilled newcomers’ overqualification in dealing with labor shortages, especially for healthcare professionals.

On December 5th, 2022 it was announced by the Immigration Minister of Canada, Sean Fraser that a call would be made to help Internationally Educated Healthcare Professionals (IEHPs) find suitable work in Canada’s healthcare sector.

At the same time in the recently held press conference Immigration minister Sean Fraser also announced (on behalf of the honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion), a call for project proposals to improve streamline and enable IEHPs to attain skills, experience, and local credentials; in order to ensure their talents are properly utilized in the healthcare sector.

The (FCRP) Foreign Credential Recognition Program which is a federal program that provides organizations and governments with funding to support foreign credential recognition within Canada will be used to handle the proposals. Minister Fraser also announced that chosen projects will receive an investment of $90 million through the program.

According to the announcement a project can be eligible it can either:

  • Reduce obstacles to foreign credential recognition for IEHPs, by enhancing recognition processes, streamlining recognition stages, and expanding access to field practice; or

  • Provide IEHPs with appropriate Canadian work experience for their preferred fields of employment, while also providing support services for participants, such as childcare and transportation costs, mentoring, and coaching; or

  • Facilitating labor mobility between Canadian jurisdictions for health care professionals and IEHPs in order to minimize structural and administrative barriers for health care professionals who seek to work in another jurisdiction.

Furthermore, eligible projects also need to either:

  • Develop testing and implementation of credential recognition systems with an emphasis on reducing regulatory processes and/or harmonization of occupational standards in order to increase international credential recognition and/or interprovincial labor mobility; or

  • Provide wage subsidies, job placements, and mentorship to IEHPs to assist them in integrating into the Canadian labor market.

Funding proposals will have until Jan 30th, 2023 to be accepted and those projects which are successfully accepted will receive funding between a minimum of $500,000 to a maximum of $10 million.

The reason behind Canada doing this 

Although many factors can be considered in regard to this matter however the most major is undoubtedly the historic labor shortages that Canada is facing in multiple industries such as seasonal agriculture, retail and tourism, and (most pressingly) healthcare.

It was noted by Minister Fraser in his address that around 47% of skilled immigrants that recently entered Canada with an overseas health education were either jobless or underemployed in non-health professions that only required high-school degrees. As a result in order to solve this issue Canada has already taken measures to remove barriers to (PR) permanent residence for healthcare specialists.

Within Canada, immigrants with foreign qualifications were twice as likely to achieve jobs for which they were overqualified, compared to workers with Canadian degrees.

Moreover, changes can be expected to be made to the credential system of Canada to ensure labor shortages are dealt with in the most efficient way and all internationally-trained skilled talents receive proper and suitable employment in their respective professions, especially those in healthcare.

Although the current scope of the project is aimed toward healthcare professionals it is expected that in the future the federal government will continue exploring accreditation innovations for other sectors, in response to employers reporting a skills gap among their employees over time.

Canada takes measures in solving historic labor shortages primarily in the healthcare

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