Sunday, February 25, 2007

NDP calls for recognition of foreign credentials

Instead of rehashing yet another story about foreign professionals not being recognized in Canada, let's go over the NDP proposal in regards to pharmacists.

1) Creating an agency for the recognition of foreign credentials.

The Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada is an organization all pharmacists must go through before they are able to get a license, whether they are Canadian or foreign trained. This includes writing the PEBC exam.

2) The establishment of uniform recognition practices across the country.

Pharmacy and the approval of pharmacy licenses has always been under provincial jurisdication, which is the same for physicians, nurses, dentists, veterinarians, and pretty much any other health care profession I can think of. There is a lot more uniformity between provinces now then there was a decade ago when I got my pharmacy license. Back then, it was difficult for even a Canadian pharmacist to move between provinces. I can't see the provincial colleges giving up their current level of authority.

3) Websites to publicize accreditation processes.

The PEBC site has pretty much everything a foreign grad needs to know. It's in both official languages as well. PEBC website

4) More mentorship and training programs for newcomers.

More formal training programs are needed for foreign pharmacists, but I think that as a profession we are doing a lot better than most when it comes to mentorship programs. It's not uncommon to see a foreign pharmacist working in a dispensary assisting a pharmacist, gaining experience that undoubtably helps their chances of passing the PEBC exam. Perhaps some type of tax incentive from the government for hiring these positions could be instituted.

Overall, I think pharmacy is doing better than average compared to other health care professions when it comes to foreign professionals. However, there is room for improvement. I hope Mr. Layton and the public also have to keep in mind that there are some foreign pharmacists that will not meet Canadian standards. We ask a lot of our health care system and it's not unreasonable to expect that all practitioners meet those standards.

From CTV News:
NDP Leader Jack Layton has called on the federal government to do more to recognize the foreign credentials of immigrants to Canada.

"The tragic fact is that we lure people to come here, we give them points for their experience, and their professional credentials," Layton, speaking in front of Toronto's Union Station, said Sunday. ...more

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